Who Can Get Social Security Benefits?

Who can get Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits?

Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.

Certain family members of disabled workers can also receive money from Social Security.

While Social Security (SSDI) pays people who have work records, the SSI program pays people who are indigent and do not have work records that are current.

How do I meet the earnings requirement for disability benefits?

In general, to get disability benefits, you must meet two different earnings tests:

  1. A recent work test, based on your age at the time you became disabled; and
  2. A duration of work test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.

Certain blind workers have to meet only the duration of work test.