Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides financial assistance to individuals who cannot work due to a disability.
While SSDI benefits eligibility is based on various factors, including the severity of the disability and the individual’s work history, age is also an important consideration.
It’s important to understand the basic requirements for SSDI benefits. To be eligible for SSDI, you must have a disability that prevents you from performing a substantial gainful activity (SGA) that is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
How age affects SSDI benefits
There are a few critical ways that age can impact your eligibility and the benefits you may receive:
- Eligibility based on work history can change: One of the requirements for SSDI benefits is having worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain number of years. If you become disabled before age 24, you must have worked for 1.5 years. If you became disabled between ages 24 and 31, you generally need to have worked half the time between age 21 and when you became disabled. For those who became disabled at age 31 or older, the number of years you need to have worked gradually increases, up to a maximum of 10 years for those who became disabled at age 60 or older.
- Easier approval process after certain ages: Typically, the disability approval process becomes less complicated as you get older. Workers over 50 years of age who have always done unskilled labor are more likely to be approved even if they can do sedentary work, while those 55 years of age and older are considered unable to transition to other types of jobs.
In addition to these factors, age can also play a role in evaluating your disability claim. Older individuals may be more likely to be approved for SSDI benefits because they are more likely to have multiple health conditions that make working difficult.