What If You Did Not Work Long Enough To Qualify For Disability?

If you did not work long enough to qualify for disability, there may still be a way for you to receive disability benefits. Many people do not know that work is not a factor of entitlement for all Social Security Disability programs.

Social Security Disability eligibility is determined by insured status, which in turn is gained through work activity. If you have not worked long, you may not be insured for Social Security Disability on your own earnings record.

However, there are a couple of other ways you might be entitled to disability benefits through the Social Security Disability program.

If you are an adult disabled child of a parent who is receiving retirement or disability benefits, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits through their work record. You are eligible to apply for adult child disability benefits if you became disabled prior to the age of twenty-two and are either unmarried, or married to an individual who is receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

If you are married to a non-disabled person or a person who is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, you are not eligible for adult disabled child's benefits on your parents record.

If you do not have a parent who is receiving benefits or you do not qualify for adult disabled child's benefits due to your marital status, you may still be able to receive disability benefits if you become disabled between the ages of fifty and sixty and you are a widow of an insured individual. If your spouse passed away no more than seven years prior to the date you became disabled, you may qualify for disabled widow's benefits.

If you are not insured, or you are not an adult disabled child, or you are not a disabled widow/widower, you do not qualify for any Social Security Disability benefits. However, there is still one other way you might be entitled to disability benefits with Social Security.

Social Security administers the need-based Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program, which offers disability benefits to people who have little or no work, children, or people who just have not been able to work in years. SSI disability applicants must meet income and resource limits in addition to being found medically disabled in order to receive monthly disability benefits. If the disabled person is a child, their parents income and resources are counted toward the resource and income limits until they are age eighteen.

SSI disability beneficiaries have their income and resources regularly reviewed. If their income or resources exceed the limits at any point they will not be eligible for SSI disability benefits even if they remain medically disabled.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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