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People generally think of Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, as a program for older people. People not quite ready to hit retirement age, but who still, through old age, disease, accident, or disability, become unable to work. Younger people can end up with a disability too though. Can young people get SSDI? Let Tabak help you explore the edge cases so you can understand if SSDI benefits are available to you.

How Young Can You Be and Still Receive SSDI Benefits?

If you qualify for SSDI based on your disability, then you still need to qualify for this program based on your work history. In fact, your SSDI amount is the same amount that it would be if you were at full retirement age and were just accepting retirement benefits.

Read More: What Other Benefits Come With SSDI?

What Work History Do You Need to Qualify For SSDI?

Determining your work history is a little complicated, but we will try to simplify it as much as possible. In most cases, you need 40 credits and 20 of those credits must be earned within the last 10 years. You can earn up to 4 credits per year. 

Earning these credits is entirely based on your wages and the amount to earn a credit goes up each year. In 2023, every $1,640 in wages earns you one credit. So, once you’ve earned $6,560 in 2023 ($1,640 X 4), then you have earned your maximum 4 credits for this year.

Can Young People Get SSDI Without the Required 40 Credits?

man in a wheel chair at a table looking over documents

These minimums are hard if not impossible to hit if you are on the younger end of the spectrum. The Social Security Administration actually has special rules for younger applicants. Let’s break it down by age group.

  • Disabled at 24 or Younger—You need 6 earned credits in the 3 years before your disability started
  • Disabled between the ages of 24 and 31—Take your age, subtract 21, and divide the result by 2. That’s how many years of work credits you need. A 30-year-old, would subtract 21, get to 9, divide by 2, and get 4.5 years of work credits or 18 credits.
  • Disabled at 31 or older—You generally need at least 20 credits in the 10 years preceding your disability.

Those are the requirements for the recent work test, but there is also the duration of work test. This test will not matter for most younger applicants as if you pass the recent work test, you will always pass the duration test by default.

Once you hit 44 though, you will have to have a longer overall work history. This starts at 5.5 years of work credits total and goes up 5 years for every 2 years of age. At 50, for example, you will need 7 years of credits. These do not have to be consecutive. The cap on the requirement is 40 credits as we mentioned previously.

Top 5 Reasons for Denied SSDI Claims

What if SSDI isn’t an Option?

Don’t have a long enough work history to qualify for SSDI. Perhaps you don’t have a work history at all. In these cases, you can still qualify for SSI. Supplemental Security Income or SSI is sort of a catchall program. It has the same health eligibility requirements as SSDI but does not require a work history of any kind.

It is however a needs-based program and will limit your assets significantly. Younger people who end up on SSDI without much of a work history may also want to look into SSI if SSDI is not providing enough to live. You can collect both at the same time.

Need Legal Help Getting the Benefits That You Deserve?

If you have been denied SSDI benefits, SSI benefits, or both, you should reach out to Tabak for a free case review. We will give you a free case review, and if we take your case we will not take payment unless you win and even then we will only take our payment as a percentage of your back pay. Don’t accept your denial letter as the final decision. Reach out to Tabak for the Payback today!

Nothing posted on this website is intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Blog postings and site content are available for general education purposes only.

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