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Whether you know it or not, a portion of your federal tax dollars have been going to provide you with disability insurance in the event that a disability prevents you from working. This federal program is called Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). Everyone who meets certain work requirements and is determined to be disabled is eligible for benefits.
You must have previously paid into the system.
Federal law requires a very strict definition of disability. Social Security pays benefits to people who are forced to stop working due to a medical condition that is expected to last a minimum of 1 year or result in death. There are also strict past earnings requirements that you must meet in order to be qualify for benefits. This means that during your past employment you must have contributed tax dollars to SSDI. The earnings requirements for SSDI focus on the age at the time you became disabled (“recent work” test) and duration of your work history (“duration of work” test).
How earnings requirements are determined.
Generally, you must meet the requirements of both the “recent work” test and the “duration of work” test. Below are basic tables of how the two rules are applied. These tables are taken directly off the federal government’s social security website, but are not intended to cover every situation.
Duration of work test.
Recent work test.
You've paid for it.
How disability is determined.
Are you working?
Is your medical condition severe?
Is your medical condition on the list of impairments?
Are you able to do your normal work?
Can you do any other type of work?
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