If you have a medical condition that has become disabling and you want to apply for Social Security disability benefits, no matter how disabled you are, you won’t be eligible if you haven’t paid recently enough into Social Security. How do you know if you have enough work credits to qualify you for disability benefits?
Where to Find the Answer
The answer can be easily found on your Social Security Statement. This is a record of your earnings throughout your lifetime. It provides everything you need to know about whether or not you are eligible for disability benefits based on your work history.
Look for the answer on page 2 of your statement under “Your Estimated Benefits.” In the category “Disability” it will state whether or not you have earned enough work credits to qualify for disability benefits. You can also find out how much you could get in benefits, which is calculated from your earnings and contributions over the years. The average monthly benefit is about $1,100. See the example below showing someone who has earned enough credits to qualify and would be due about $1,442 a month…
Keep Your Statements
The Social Security Administration mails out statements to workers and former workers every year. It is not a piece of mail to ignore or throw away, and yet so many people don’t realize how important it is to keep their Social Security statements on file. In fact, we turn away at least 20 percent of the people who call in for eligibility information because they didn’t know about this technical requirement.
Before you consider applying for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, check your Social Security statement. We can’t help you win disability benefits if you haven’t worked long enough or recently enough to be insured for Social Security. There’s just no way to get around it.
Get Help with Freedom Disability
If you do qualify for disability benefits based on your work history, then your next step is to get the help of a Freedom Disability Advocate to help you prove that your medical condition meets SSA’s definition of disability. Please read our article “Can You Medically Support Your Disability Claim?” to better understand what medical information SSA will expect from you.