A common eligibility myth regarding Social Security Disability Insurance is that an individual must be at least 50 years of age. The truth is that any qualified worker between 18 and 65 years of age may apply for SSDI benefits. The number of work credits earned generally establishes eligibility. 

An employee’s annual working hours determines the number of credits, and anyone who has earned enough credits may apply. As noted by U.S. News & World Report, the maximum number of work credits an employee may earn each year is four. To qualify for SSDI benefits an individual must have earned 40 work credits, with 20 of them earned within 10 years of applying. 

Younger individuals who have less work experience 

Instead of basing eligibility on their own work credits, under certain circumstances younger individuals who become disabled may qualify based on their parents’ history of earnings. When an employee is 22 years old or younger, his or her parents’ credits may help determine SSDI eligibility. As noted on the Social Security Administration website, if a parent receives disability or retirement benefits, his or her child may qualify for SSDI. 

The length of disability and medical evaluation procedure 

Physical injuries and medical conditions can develop for anyone regardless of chronological age. When a mental or physical health condition prevents an individual from performing his or her job duties, applying for SSDI may help in seeking treatment. The condition must, however, have either prevented an employee from working for at least one year or carry an expectation of a minimum one-year absence from work. 

A disability or repetitive motion injury sustained while working often develops over time. A medical practitioner may need to evaluate an applicant and certify the individual can expect to suffer from the condition and be out of work for at least one year. If a doctor determines a condition is likely to result in the patient’s death, he or she may qualify to receive SSDI benefits regardless of age.