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Can you get SSDI at a young age, and what are the considerations?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal program that can provide financial assistance to individuals unable to work due to a disability. While older individuals nearing retirement age may be more likely to apply, age is not a restriction for SSDI benefits.

Younger individuals can indeed qualify, but several considerations come into play.

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for SSDI, regardless of age, individuals must meet specific criteria set by the Social Security Administration. One primary requirement is having a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of disability. This condition must be severe enough to prevent the individual from engaging in substantial gainful activity for at least one year or result in death.

Work credits

Another consideration is work credits. SSDI eligibility partly depends on an individual’s work history and contributions to the Social Security system through payroll taxes. Generally, younger individuals may not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI unless they enter the workforce early or have a significant work history despite their age.

Age as a factor in disability determination

While age itself does not directly impact SSDI eligibility, it can influence the disability determination process. The SSA evaluates how an individual’s age affects their ability to adapt to different types of work. Younger applicants may face additional scrutiny to determine if their age presents any opportunities for vocational rehabilitation or retraining. This could potentially enable them to work despite their disability.

Medical documentation and severity of disability

Regardless of age, providing thorough medical documentation is necessary when applying for SSDI. The SSA requires detailed evidence of the disabling condition, including medical records, test results and physician statements. For younger applicants, demonstrating the severity and long-term impact of the disability is particularly important, as the SSA assesses whether the condition meets the criteria for long-term disability.


Applying for SSDI can be a complex and lengthy process, regardless of age. Younger individuals may face unique challenges, such as proving the severity and permanence of their disability. Understanding these considerations can enhance the likelihood of securing SSDI benefits.