Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

If you do not have a significant earnings history, can you be eligible for disability payments?

Mr. Moore, My 58 year old son is currently being prepped for colon removal (ulcerative colitis) and the recovery process followed by a 2nd surgery will take several months.

Because of his condition he has been able to do only occasional odd jobs as a carpet cleaner for the last 5 years. Consequently he does not have a significant earning history (I would guess less than $5,000/year). He has been living alone in a one room apartment in Denton, Texas, and his monthly expenses have been minimal; however he will not even be able to pay for these expenses until he has recovered from this surgery which will be performed at a charity hospital in Denton.

I've read much of the relevant information on your site, and have been unable to determine whether he will be eligible for disability payments. If possible, I would appreciate your thoughts on whether or not he should apply for disability, and if so, what is the best way to proceed? Thank You.

I would say there is a good possibility that your son could potentially qualify for disability under Social Security disability and/or SSI disability. Social Security disability is based upon insured status that is established by wages or self employment earnings reported to the IRS.

If your son has paid taxes on his earnings over the past five years, then he may be eligible for Social Security disability. Even if he did not pay taxes during the past five years, he may qualify for disability benefits through SSI, a need based disability program.

Considering your son's medical condition, his age, and is work activity as a carpet cleaner over the past few years his chances of being approved for disability benefits are fairly good.

Your son should contact his local Social Security office to set up an appointment in person or by phone to apply for disability benefits. A claims representative, or CR, will complete the entire claim for him. They will evaluate what program he is eligible for and they will send it to a disability agency for a decision. No need to delay.

Note: SSA gives you the option of starting the claim online. Doing so online will not give you the chance to speak with a CR (which allows you the chance to ask questions directly, which can be valuable).

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

If you do not have a significant earnings history, can you be eligible for disability payments?
SSI disability when you share household expenses
Receiving SSDI payments and working below the Social Security SGA limit
If You Get Workers Comp, Will You Get Disability From Social Security?
What Income Will Affect Your Disability Benefits? (Workers Compensation, Wages etc)
When a person that has been receiving SSD monthly payments dies, how is the last payment made?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Criteria to Qualify
Who qualifies for disability? - Qualifying is based on evidence of functional limitations
Medical Disability Requirements for SSD and SSI
The non-medical Disability Requirements for SSD and SSI
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply for?
What are the Social Security Disability, SSI Requirements For How Disabled You Have to Be?
What types of information is Social Security Disability looking for?
Proving Functional Limitations and why this is Important on a Disability Case
Applying for Disability - Rules and Requirements when you Apply