Ohio Social Security Disability And SSI Legal Blog

Can I qualify for SSD without a recent work history?

If you have been out of the workforce for a significant period, you might wonder if you can still receive Social Security Disability benefits.

The short answer is yes, but there are specific criteria to consider.

Eligibility based on work credits

To qualify, you typically need to have earned a specific number of work credits. You receive these credits based on your work history and the amount of money you have earned through work. However, if you have not worked for an extended period, you might still be eligible if you have accumulated enough credits before your hiatus.

The five-month waiting period

Once you establish your eligibility in terms of work credits, there is another factor to keep in mind. There is a waiting period of five months before you can begin receiving benefits. During this time, there is an evaluation of your disability to ensure it meets the program’s standards.

Income and asset limits

Even without a recent work history, you may still be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. This program is for people with limited income and resources, including those who have not worked in a long time. Your income and assets determine SSI eligibility, which means it does not require work credits.

Medical evidence is key

Regardless of your situation, one common requirement for both SSDI and SSI is providing substantial medical evidence to prove your disability. This evidence should demonstrate that your disability prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity, and it must come from a qualified healthcare professional.

In 2022, more than 8.9 million people relied on disability benefits. While not having a recent work history can create more challenges to qualify, it is not impossible to obtain benefits without it.