Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits work to provide individuals with financial protection if they become too sick or otherwise unable to work based on a qualified reason. Over your working lifetime, most people make payments into the Social Security system through their employer. Some people may not work as much or may work independently and not make such payments. In these cases, you may be unsure if you qualify for SSDI.

What Are the Work Requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance Acceptance?

Understanding work history in a Social Security case revolves around ‘past relevant work,’ defined as the 15 years before your disability onset. Anything beyond this period is not considered relevant.

The government categorizes individuals by age, defining specific brackets from 18 to 50, 50 to 55, 55 to 60, and 60 upwards. These age categories, combined with your work history, hold significance for individuals over 50. For those over 50, the Social Security Administration first reviews your earnings record. They evaluate your work history and job demands, classifying them using the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

Many wonder if being unable to perform their past or recent job qualifies as a disability. In a Social Security case, jobs are categorized based on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to find the most similar job possible. Each job has specific vocational preparation, reflecting its mental demands and learning time. Although jobs like being a lawyer require extensive education, there are various jobs with different educational requirements.

After categorizing the job, hypothetical questions are asked in court based on medical evidence and your testimony regarding your residual functional capacity, which is the most work you can do despite impairments. This capacity determines if, for instance, a plumber over 50, unable to continue due to a back injury, can transition skills to lighter jobs. However, limited transferable skills often prevail for physically demanding jobs for those over 50.

Discover how your professional past impacts your eligibility and explore the age-based categorizations that could influence your case. To learn more about the impact of your work history on your SSDI benefits case, watch this short video.


What If You Do Not Have Enough Work Credits?

Unfortunately, this is where it can be hard to obtain SSDI benefits. The details of your situation are important, though. Some individuals may qualify for SSI in this situation. This type of coverage is only available to those who cannot work and who meet very limited income guidelines. This is a different type of coverage available to those who may have no work history, but are unable to work at all.

If you are unsure if you meet any requirements, it is best to work with a Social Security Disability attorney to determine your rights. Many factors can disqualify you even if you have the work credits in place. Having a lawyer analyze transferable skills, question vocational experts, and engage with the judge is crucial.

At The Good Law Group, our team can help you determine if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Even if you have been turned down before, our attorneys may be able to help you qualify. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs.