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SSA blew me off 10 years ago. Can I get Disability benefits now?

Why was I denied disability by the SSA?

Many claimants apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). They may have the right to appeal the denial or reapply, but instead, they attempt to go back to work. Recently on our disability forum we had a claimant ask, “If the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied my case 10 years ago is it possible to apply now for benefits and win?”

Issues before applying

The good news is if you are 10 years older you are more likely to qualify for SSDI or SSI because the SSA acknowledges it is easier for older claimants to win benefits because they are less likely to be able to retrain for new work. This is especially true if you are over the age of 55. Will this guarantee that you will be approved now? No, in fact, if you stopped working 10 years ago and stopped paying employment taxes you may no longer be insured for SSDI benefits.

How do I know if I have sufficient work credits for SSDI?

The first thing to do if you are disabled and you cannot work is to contact the SSA and find out if you are eligible for SSDI benefits. Unfortunately, if you stopped working 10 years ago, even if you had sufficient work credits at that time to qualify for SSDI, you will no longer be considered insured.

According to the SSA:

“The number of work credits needed for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.”

Sufficient work credits does not guarantee you will be approved

Now, unfortunately, even if you have sufficient work credits and you are 10 years older it is still likely the SSA will deny your case. To win SSDI you will have to prove your condition is severe, it will last 12 continuous months and it does not allow you to work. There are many conditions which are short term or only partially disable a claimant, but these conditions will not qualify for SSDI benefits.

Now, assuming you meet the criteria outlined above and you have sufficient work credits to be insured for SSDI, it is important to get great medical care. The SSA will look at your current medical records to make a disability determination about whether you are disabled or not. If your medical records do not provide enough information to the SSA they may choose to send you to a consultative examination, but these medical reviews are generally not helpful.

Bottom line

Assuming you kept working and you have enough work credits for SSDI, the fact you are 10 years older can help your case, but you will have to have great medical evidence which proves you cannot work and a condition which will last at least 12 continuous months.

Consider also, if you have reached your full retirement age you will not qualify for SSDI benefits.