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SSDI - 28 years old am I too young for benefits?

SSDI and young claimants

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is offered to workers who have worked enough and paid enough taxes to be considered insured. If you are disabled with a condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months, you are considered insured and you cannot perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), than you may be able to receive SSDI at any age.

How many work credits will I need to qualify?

The first issue is for young workers is if you have enough work credits. Many young workers simply will not have worked enough to earn enough work credits for SSDI and will not qualify. So how many work credits will you need?

The SSA provides the following guidelines on their site:

  1. Before age 24--You may qualify if you have 6 credits earned in the 3-year period ending when your disability starts.

  2. Age 24 to 31--You may qualify if you have credit for working half the time between age 21 and the time you become disabled. For example, if you become disabled at age 27, you would need credit for 3 years of work (12 credits) out of the past 6 years (between ages 21 and 27).

Meeting the work credit criteria outlined above is only the first step for winning SSDI. Next, you will have to prove you do not have the ability to perform SGA work. This will require you to prove that your condition either meets or equals a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments or prove, through a medical vocational allowance, that you cannot work.

How do I prove I am disabled if I am young?

So what is the SSA Listing of Impairments? It is a listing of all the conditions and symptoms the SSA considers automatically disabling. Review the listing and determine if your condition is on the list. If it is not, you will need sufficient medical evidence to prove that your condition is as severe as a condition on the list.

Does having a condition on the list guarantee SSDI benefits?

No, there are many claimants who are diagnosed with a condition which is on the SSA Listing of Impairments, but they are not experiencing symptoms which are severe enough to be considered automatically disabled.

Why is it so hard for a young worker win SSDI through a medical vocational allowance?

Through the medical vocational allowance process the SSA determines if an applicant can work sedentary, light or medium work. They will also evaluate a claimant’s age, work history and educational level. The SSA has a set of GRIDs they use to plot a claimant’s capabilities.

A young clamant would have to prove that they could not do any type of sedentary work, which means they are unable to sit for 6 to 8 hours day, and lift up to 10 lbs. occasionally during a day. Claimants who have a high school diploma and transferrable work skills who can do sedentary work will be automatically determined NOT disabled by the SSA if they are less than 55 years of age. The sedentary GRID does not provide for a disabled rating for a high school graduate until the claimant is around 55 years of age and lacks transferrable skills.





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