Filing for SSDI is complex for most people. If you have a single, well-documented disabling disease or medical condition, you may be able to obtain Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits relatively quickly.
For a great many, however, the process not that simple. You may have a combination of medical issues, which individually may not be enough of an impairment to leave you disabled, but combined, they make it impossible for you to continuing working.
Your disability application has to demonstrate to the disability claims examiner that you have a medical condition that has left you unable to work for at least 12 months or is terminal.
But before any of that, you also must meet the programs requirements for time spent working work prior to your request for benefits. Because SSD is an insurance-based benefit, you have to have, in effect, paid your premiums for the requisite number of years.
The number of credits you need to collect in order to be eligible to receive benefits depends on your age. You need to have worked enough total number of years to qualify and those working years typically need to be relatively recent.
In 2015, you receive one calendar quarter of credit for every $1,220 in covered earnings credit, up to a maximum of $4,880, or four credits in one year.
SSA uses a sliding scale to determine the combination of years worked and total credits needed to be eligible for SSD benefits. For instance, at age 50 you would need to have worked 7 years total and you would need to have worked about five out of the last ten years.
At age 62, you need to have a total of 10 years of covered earnings and you would still need to have worked five of the last ten years. And once you are certain you are eligible for benefits, the real work of the application begins.
People with little income and few assets may still be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, a disability program that is not tied to paying Social Securitty tax.