Can You Get Disability If You’ve Never Worked?

Disability can strike anyone. But not everyone is eligible for disability benefits. For example, can you get disability if you’ve never worked? Unsurprisingly, the answer is no. But to learn why that is so, you need to read the article below.

Disability benefits offered by the Social Security Administration are insurance programs provided by the federal government. 

The disability benefits are for claimants who cannot work and earn because they have severe medical disabilities. The benefits offer income support to people who cannot earn due to disabilities. 

There are two different disability benefits, Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

To avail of the SSDI benefits, you must have worked for a substantial amount of time and earned enough work credits. To get the benefits from the system, you must pay for the program first if you ever need it.

Can You Get Disability If You've Never Worked

Can I Receive SSD If I Never Had A Job?

You can not receive social security disability(SSD) if you never held a job. 

One of the main criteria to become eligible for the social security disability is to have had a job for enough time and recently

You can avail the benefits of social security disability by earning enough work credits, usually one every quarter of the year. Social security disability works like an insurance program, and thus the full name SSDI where the I stands for insurance. 

Like any other insurance program, you need to keep paying the insurance premium to be eligible for the insurance benefits. In the case of SSDI, the premium is the FICA tax that gets deducted from an individual’s salary. 

To gain from the system, you need to pay in the system first. If you never had a job or have not worked for some years, you won’t be eligible for social security disability. 

When you apply for social security disability, they will first check your last payment of the FICA taxes, also known as DLI or Date Last Insured. If it has been ten years since the DLI, you won’t be eligible for disability benefits.

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Can You Get SSD if You Don’t Have Enough Work Credits?

You can not get social security disability if you don’t have enough work credit. 

The SSA or social security administration defines the criteria for qualifying for the social security benefits as having at least 40 work credits in your lifetime

Social security benefits work like an insurance scheme. A person who works a job that pays enough salary to gain work credits can earn all 40 work credits in 10 years. 

However, if you think that you can get the benefits just because you have gained all the work credits even after you have not worked for some years, then you are wrong. You need to keep paying in the system to get the benefits.

Another thing to note is that gaining more than 40 work credits doesn’t make you eligible for more. No matter the work credit, you will get the same benefits. The minimum work credits required differ with age. 

Can You Get Disability If You've Never Worked

SSDI Is Based on Employment

Social security disability insurance is an insurance program to provide financial aid to people who cannot work and earn. The premium here comes from your paycheck in the form of FICA taxes, and the benefit you will get depends on your past work history and earnings. Since it is an insurance program, you must first pay the premium. 

Why Do I Require Work Credits for SSDI?

SSDI is an insurance scheme to offer financial aid to people who cannot work and earn. Like every other insurance scheme, there is a premium in the form of FICA taxes that comes from your paycheck. To become eligible for SSDI benefits, you need to have sufficient work credits.

Can You Get Disability If You've Never Worked

What are the Work Credit Rules for SSDI Applicants?

To get SSDI benefits, an SSDI applicant needs to have enough work credit. You need to have a job and pay into the system to earn work credits. Every three months or a quarter of the year, you pay FICA taxes and buy social security for yourself. 

The amount of tax you need to pay to earn work credit keeps changing with the economy. For the year 2020, it was $1410. To earn a single work credit, you need to have a job that pays you $1410 every quarter. 

The maximum work credits you can earn in a year is four, and for that, you need to make $5640 per year as a salary.

Can I Apply for SSDI On My Spouse’s Record if They Are Deceased?

You can apply for SSDI on a deceased spouse’s record in certain circumstances. You can avail of the SSDI benefits of your spouse’s record if you are also disabled. 

If you were disabled at the time of your spouse’s death or become disabled within seven years of your spouse’s death, you become eligible for the SSDI benefits. 

You could avail the survivor benefits if you were married for at least nine months before your spouse’s death. You are also eligible if you are a co-parent of their children, either biologically or through adoption.

Can You Get Disability If You've Never Worked

Can I Apply for SSDI on a Parent’s Record?

You can apply for SSDI on a parent’s record. However, there are certain conditions that you need to fulfill. According to SSA, a child refers to the biological child, grandchild, or step-child. A child can receive SSDI benefits from a deceased parent if eligible.

To become eligible for the benefits.

  • The child must be unmarried.
  • The child must be under 18 and 19 if still in high school.
  • Or become disabled before the age of 22.

Can Spouses and Children Who Are Not Disabled Get Benefits?

Non-disabled spouses and children can get disability benefits to fulfill the eligibility criteria.

For non-disabled spouses to avail of SSDI benefits:

  • You must be of retirement age or older.
  • Any age of caring for a child under the age of 16 or disabled under 22.

For non-disabled children to avail of disability benefits:

  • The child must be unmarried.
  • Under the age of 18 or 19 if in high school.

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Eligibility for SSI Claim

You need to fulfill a few criteria to get disability benefits from SSI.

  • The applicant’s age must be 65 or above, or the applicant must be blind or disabled by SSA standards.
  • The applicant must have limited resources and income.
  • The applicant must be a national or citizen of the USA.
  • The applicant must reside in the USA, Northern Mariana Islands, or the District of Columbia. The exceptions are students studying abroad and the child of military personnel assigned outside the USA. 
Can You Get Disability If You've Never Worked

The Process of Filing a Claim for SSI Benefits

You can claim SSI benefits by visiting the SSA online filing portal. You can also call the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213, and in case you are deaf, you can use TTY 1-800-325-0778 to schedule an appointment for filing the claim.

If you cannot do the filing on your own, you can get someone else to file a claim on your behalf. You can also contact the local social security office to schedule a telephonic appointment to file the claim.

How Does DDS Determine Whether I Am Eligible for SSI?

DDS or disability determination services is a federal agency that verifies your claim of getting disability benefits. DDS determines whether or not your claim of disability passes the standard set by SSA by examining and comparing your medical records. 

They assess the amount of work you can do and whether or not you are mentally and physically unable to do any work.

Can You Get Disability If You've Never Worked

What Is an RFC Assessment?

If your disability conditions do not meet a blue book listing, then you can get an RFC assessment done by your doctor.

 An RFC or residual functional capacity assessment performed by a qualified doctor will demonstrate the severity of your medical condition. It will showcase your limitations, what you can do, and what amount of time. An RFC assessment will determine whether or not you are unable to work.

How Does SSI Compare to SSDI?

While both SSI and SSDI offer financial aid to severely disabled people who cannot work and earn, both of these programs vary drastically. One of the main differences between the two programs is the eligibility criteria.

SSDI is for people who have worked a job before and, over the years, earned enough work credits. In contrast, SSI is for people who have never worked or have not worked enough to get sufficient work credits to qualify for the SSDI program.

Since you need to pay in the system first, you get more in SSDI when compared to SSI. You can get benefits up to a year before you apply for SSDI, while in SSI, you will only get benefits from the first full month after you have applied.

Also, the rate of approval of claims is higher in SSDI when compared to SSI.

Can You Get Disability If You've Never Worked

How Can You GET SSI if You’ve Never Worked?

The supplemental security income does not depend on your work history and work credit earned by you. The SSI is based on the need. If you have limited income sources, are aged 65 and above, and your disability meets the SSA standards, you are eligible for SSI regardless of whether you have worked before or not.

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Can You Get SSI and SSDI Together?

Yes, technically you can get them together. The term concurrent is used when you qualify for both benefits simultaneously. However, availing of both the benefits at once may reduce the amount of your SSI payments or make you ineligible for it. 

SSDI is given to people who are severely disabled and unable to work, regardless of their financial condition. Here the qualification for the benefits depends on their employment history and how many work credits they have.

SSI, however, is given to people who are disabled and have limited financial resources. It is not related to the employment history of the person.

In case you are eligible for both the benefits simultaneously, the chances are that since you are getting SSDI, your income threshold will exceed the criteria for SSI. in such cases, you either become ineligible for the SSI benefits or get a lesser amount.

Can You Get Disability If You've Never Worked

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you get a disability if you haven’t worked in 2 years?

If you have enough work credits and can prove that your disability started before the Date of the last insured, you can get disability benefits even if you have not worked in 2 years. 
People are often under a false assumption that if they have worked for some years and paid the FICA tax, they can avail of the money anytime, whether they are presently working. 
To avail of the benefits of the SSDI, you need to keep paying the FICA tax as an insurance premium. If you have not been working for the past few years, your insurance will lapse, and you won’t be eligible for the benefits.

2. Can I get a disability if I have not worked in 10 years?

You can not get disability benefits if you have not worked in 10 years. SSDI works like insurance, where you have to pay premiums to avail of monetary benefits under certain circumstances. 
If you cannot pay the premiums on time, then after a certain period, your insurance will lapse, and no matter how much you have already paid into the system, you won’t get any benefits. If it has been ten years since you last paid your FICA taxes, you can not get disability benefits.

3. Can a stay-at-home mom collect SSD?

Yes, a stay-at-home mom can collect social security disability. You can avail of benefits equivalent to half the value of your spouse’s disability benefits. 
While it is necessary to have a work history of at least ten years which is equivalent to 40 quarters with a minimum earring of $1300 every quarter, you will be surprised to know that even if you have chosen to stay at home and take care of your kids and have never worked before, you can still get disability benefits.

4. What are the signs that you will be approved for disability?

Getting disability benefits is not an easy process. However, a few signs tell you whether you will be approved for disability or not.
The first sign is that you have enough medical evidence to prove that your disability is severe and long-term. People often don’t have sufficient medical evidence to back up their claims. 
Apart from the medical evidence, you would also need to satisfy all the other criteria required for the disability benefit. You must have enough work credit. Also, once you have applied for the disability, you have to show that you won’t be able to return to work for one year or at all. 
You must fulfill all the criteria of the blue book. It is a medical guide listing all the medical conditions. All the listed medical conditions have some specific criteria that you must fulfill to get approval for disability benefits. 
Other than these, it is always better to hire an attorney specializing in Social Security. They have a better knowledge of the system, and hiring them increases your chances of getting the benefits.

Wrap Up

If you are disabled and can not work to earn, getting disability benefits is your best choice. You can still get SSI disability benefits if you have never worked before to fulfill the other criteria.

Thank you for giving your precious time to reading this article. Hope this article helped resolve your query.