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Can a U.S. Resident qualify for federal disability benefits?

What if you are not a United States citizen but you are a legal resident, can you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)? Yes, according to the Social Security Administration you can get Social Security Disability Insurance, assuming you have met the nonmedical and medical requirements of the program.

Overview of the Social Security Disability Insurance program

SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance pays disability payments to workers who have a severe mental or physical health condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months and does not allow them to perform work at a “substantial level.”

The Social Security Administration (SSA) also requires workers to work and pay payroll taxes for a specific length of time to be considered “insured” by the SSA. The Social Security Administration determines the number of work credits which must be accumulated by disabled workers to qualify for SSDI. The amount needed can vary based on the age of the claimant.

Meeting the work requirements of SSDI

United States residents must work and earn enough credits to be considered insured by the SSA. In 2011, a work credit is equivalent to $1,120 of earned income. U.S. residents may work and accumulate up to 4 credits each year. The number of credits needed to qualify can vary, as mentioned above. For instance, if you are younger than 24 years of age, you will need to have worked and earned 6 work credits. According to the SSA, most workers need 20-40 work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance.

How does the SSA determine your SSDI payment amount? Your SSDI benefit will be calculated based on your average income for the years that you worked. Keep in mind, because the calculation uses an average income, if you stop working and wait to apply for benefits (while making little to no income) this can negatively impact your SSDI benefits.

There is a 5 month waiting period to receive SSDI benefits, and if you are approved, payments will begin on the 6 month of your disability. SSDI payments are paid at the first of every month.

Many claimants wonder how long they have to wait to apply for benefits after they stop working. To qualify for benefits your condition has to be expected to last for 12 continuous months, but it is important to apply as soon as you stop working at a substantial level (making more than $1,000 per month). What will you need to win benefits? You must have medical evidence which suggests your condition is expected to last for 12 continuous months.

Can a U.S. resident get Supplemental Security Income benefits?

Yes, U.S. residents may qualify for Supplemental Security Income but they must meet the qualifications.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be awarded to qualifying applicants who are aged (65 years or older), blind or disabled. Applicants do not have to have work credits or any type of work history to qualify for SSI, but they must meet the income and resource requirements of the program. They also must be unable to work for at least 12 continuous months.