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What is Social Security Disability?

Social Security was started in 1935, shortly after the Great Depression. Aging Americans were one of the hardest hit groups during the Depression. America needed a plan to provide for an aging workforce.

Designed to address the long range problem of economic security for an aging population, a contributory system was established. Workers paid taxes into the system so they could receive benefits at a later date. When Social Security started, the program was only designed to provide coverage for those facing old age and unemployment. Social Security Disability (SSD) coverage was added in 1954.

What is SSD?

SSD is a social security program that pays monthly benefits to disabled workers who are not able to return to work. If you become disabled before retirement age and are unable to return to work, you may be eligible for SSD benefits.

You need to have worked a certain number of years at a job where you paid social security taxes. For each year worked at a qualifying job, workers earn four work credits. The exact number of work credits you need depends on your age when you become disabled. In general, a person needs 40 work credits, with 20 earned in the last 10 years, in order to meet the work credit requirement, although that number is less for younger workers.

What qualifies as disabled?

In order to qualify for SSD benefits, you need to have a medically qualifying disability condition. The SSA has a list of conditions that meet their definition of disabled; the list is commonly called the “blue book.”

Your disability needs be severe enough that it prevents you from living a normal life and interferes with work tasks. Your disability also needs to have lasted at least one year, or until your death.

For workers facing a disability, it can feel as though you have no options. When your disability prevents you from returning to work, you may wonder how you will support your family. You have paid into a system designed to help you, now is the time to receive the benefits of your efforts.

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