The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two primary programs that support people with disabling medical conditions. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a benefit potentially available to anyone who meets the medical and financial requirements of the program, including children who have never worked a job in their lives.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), on the other hand, requires contributions by the claimant. In order to receive SSDI benefits, you have to have a disabling medical condition that will persist for a year or longer and to have made enough contributions to Social Security while working.
How long do you have to work in order to claim SSDI benefits after an injury or a serious medical diagnosis?
Typically, workers need to have remained employed for a decade
You do not qualify for SSDI based on how long you have work but rather how much you have contributed through payroll deductions to Social Security. Every year, you can accumulate up to 4 credits. You generally need to have 40 credits to make a claim unless you are quite young when you get hurt or develop a disabling medical condition.
You can accrue one credit for every $1,470 that you earn (at the current rates), and you generally need to have accumulated at least 20 credits in the last 10 years to make a benefit claim. (Workers who get hurt while younger or after having accrued fewer credits may still be able to qualify for benefits, however, since they may not have been able to work for 10 years before becoming disabled).
Learning about the basics of SSDI can make it easier for you to apply for and secure the benefits that you need.