How can I get Social Security Disability if I haven’t worked or I have not worked in a long time?

Disability benefits are administered by the Federal government through two different disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Social Security Disability Insurance program is offered to workers who have worked and paid employment taxes, earned “work credits” and are considered insured. Supplemental Security Income is paid to disabled, blind or aged claimants who have limited income and resources.

Can you be denied benefits, if you have worked but it has been a long time? You may be denied Social Security Disability Insurance if you have worked for many years, you stop working and too much time has elapsed since your last day of work. How does this happen? Workers may be insured through a certain date, which the Social Security Administration calls their DLI or date last insured. If you stop working and do not pay any more employment taxes at some point in time your date last insured will pass and you will no longer be insured.

This is a tough situation, but it happens all too often. For this reason it is important to file for Social Security Disability as soon as you become disabled with a mental or physical health condition which you believe will last for at least 12 months or may result in your death. The Social Security Administration can answer questions regarding your date last insured.

So if your date last insured has past you have several options. If you are able to return to work you may be able to earn enough work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance in the future, but if you have a serious disabling health condition this is probably not possible. Another option is to apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Supplemental Security Income payments are monthly benefits paid to the aged, blind or disabled. You do not have to have earned work credits or have paid employment taxes to qualify. Supplemental Security Income recipients must be determined disabled by the Social Security Administration, and they must have limited income and resources. Income can include wages, Social Security benefits, pensions, food and shelter. Resources can include real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds. In 2010, the Social Security Administration allows you to have no more than $2,000 in resources if you are single and $3,000 if you are married. The Social Security Administration does make exemptions for certain types of property and other resources such as one car, your primary home, life insurance of $1,500 or less, and burial plots.

So if you have not worked or if it has been several years since you have worked and your date of last insured has passed, your best option is to see if you can qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits.

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