No one expects to develop a disability unless a known genetic condition runs in their family. Some people don’t realize that they will develop a degenerative condition until they start showing symptoms. Other people have limitations on their work and independence because of an accident, like a car crash.
When you can no longer work or take care of yourself independently, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can help pay your bills. Do you need to have a job to qualify for SSDI benefits?
Payroll contributions, not employment status, determine your eligibility
You don’t need to have a job at the time that you become disabled to qualify for SSDI benefit. However, you do need to have an employment history that involves paying certain taxes.
Your Social Security tax withholding helps contribute to your individual standing with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Once you have made sufficient contributions, the SSA sends you a letter notifying you that you can eventually apply for disability or retirement benefits. If you don’t recall whether you have received a letter or not, you can verify directly with the SSA whether you qualify for SSDI or not.
If you have worked, but not in recent years, you may still get benefits from the work you did before. If you do not have a history of payroll contributions, SSDI likely will not be an option for you. There are certain exceptions to this rule, such as when you are the surviving spouse of someone who had made sufficient contributions. Learning more about the benefits available to you can help you decide whether you can apply for SSDI.