If I have never worked outside my home or have worked very little, can I get Social Security Disability benefits?

By / March 3, 2016 / Social Security Disability & SSI Basic Facts / 192 Comments

Learn how people who have never worked outside their homes may get Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, instead of Social Security.

Social Security Disability Benefits Work Credits Requirements

If you are disabled, but you have never worked outside your home or you have worked very little, you may not be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits because you may not have enough work credits. For a discussion of required work credits please visit our article How many Social Security-covered work credits do I need to get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits?

No Work Credits Required for SSI Disability Payments
Nonetheless, you may be able to get some financial help by applying to the Social Security Administration for disability payments under the Supplemental Security Income program, also called SSI. Social Security will first evaluate your SSI application to see if your family’s income and resources fall within SSI’s allowed limits. If they do, then your claim will be reviewed to see whether you are disabled. SSI disability requirements for adults are the same as those for Social Security Disability. SSI also pays disability benefits for children under age eighteen. You can learn more about SSI by reviewing our article What Is Supplemental Security Income—Also Known as SSI—and How Is It Different from Social Security Disability Insurance—Known as SSDI or SSD?

If I have never worked outside my home or have worked very little, can I get Social Security Disability benefits?
3 (60%) 3 votes

  • Dear Debra,
    A spouse is eligible for benefits at at sixty-two or older or under age sixty-two if you are caring for your husband’s child who is under age sixteen. You must also be married for one year to be entitled to benefits on your husband’s record.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

    A spouse can receive benefits at age 62. You can also receive a spouse’s benefit no matter what your age is if, you are caring for your husband’s child who is also receiving benefits a d under the age of 16. or at age 62.

  • Dear Lesley,

    Social Security law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months. In order to qualify for SSI there are also financial restrictions. You would not qualify for SSD because you never worked. The best way to find out if you qualify is by applying. If you have never applied for disability before, you can apply for SSI online now at SSA’s website.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Denise,

    I suggest that you request a copy of your 2015 and 2016 tax returns (all forms) from the IRS. Keep a copy of the request and present it to Social Security. Make a formal written request that they hold the review open until you receive the copies from the IRS. (I believe that you can request the copy online for a fee by going to http://www.irs.com. Otherwise, call the IRS about how to do this.) It is important that you submit the documentation because your work activity potentially affects eligibility for both Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits during the period of time that you were working.

    You may have an overpayment, depending on how much you were working; but the work may not stop your current benefits. SSI counts half of your profit from self-employment above $65 a month and uses it to reduce SSI benefits. Both programs evaluate whether you were performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), which was $1,090 net profit in 2015 and $1,130 net profit per month in 2016. You may be granted a Trial Work Period (TWP) for the SSDI benefit during which full benefits are payable regardless of amounts earned. If your work reached the TWP level ( $780 a month in 2015 and $810 in 2016) and you used up the nine TWP months, you would be ineligible for SSDI in any later months that you performed SGA. After a thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), performance of SGA would result in your claim being closed. You can read about these work incentive provisions in the Red Book, which can be found online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Denise,

    I suggest that you request a copy of your 2015 and 2016 tax returns (all forms) from the IRS. Keep a copy of the request and present it to Social Security. Make a formal written request that they hold the review open until you receive the copies from the IRS. (I believe that you can request the copy online for a fee by going to http://www.irs.com. Otherwise, call the IRS about how to do this.) It is important that you submit the documentation because your work activity potentially affects eligibility for both Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits during the period of time that you were working.

    You may have an overpayment, depending on how much you were working; but the work may not stop your current benefits. SSI counts half of your profit from self-employment above $65 a month and uses it to reduce SSI benefits. Both programs evaluate whether you were performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), which was $1,090 net profit in 2015 and $1,130 net profit per month in 2016. You may be granted a Trial Work Period (TWP) for the SSDI benefit during which full benefits are payable regardless of amounts earned. If your work reached the TWP level ( $780 a month in 2015 and $810 in 2016) and you used up the nine TWP months, you would be ineligible for SSDI in any later months that you performed SGA. After a thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), performance of SGA would result in your claim being closed. You can read about these work incentive provisions in the Red Book, which can be found online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ronald,
    If you could prove she was disabled at age 18, she would need six work credits at that time. This is very difficult because she would need medical records from age 18 to now to prove she has been disabled the entire time. If she hasn’t worked in 5 out of the last 10 years, she probably wouldn’t be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security program at this time. If you feel should would meet the insured status requirements now, contact your local Social Security Office to file a claim.
    Another option would be to inquire whether your family income and assets are within the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program, which is administered by the Social Security Administration and which does not require work credits. You can read about SSI in the articles under “SSI” in the drop-down menu under the Social Security Disability/SSI tab at the top of this web page.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Ems,
    To be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI,) in addition to being disabled, your granddaughter must have income and assets below a certain level because SSI is a public assistance benefit, rather than an earned benefit purchased with federal insurance tax payments. An individual cannot have more than $2,000.00 in countable resources. The income and resources of your granddaughter’s partner will not be considered in determining her eligilbity if they are not married and they do not tell people they are married. However, if he is supporting the household, she will be receiving in-kind (non-cash) income from him that will reduce the SSI amount payable.
    For your granddaughter to be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI,) in addition to being disabled, because she is under age thirty-one, she must also have worked and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes for enough years to be insured for benefits including earning credits equal to half the possible number of work credits between age twenty-one and the age she became disabled; so for a young person, not a great deal of work is required to be insured.
    Social Security will take applications under both programs to determine, if she meets the non-medical requirements and send her an official determination in the mail . She should file the application as soon as possible, because every month she waits she could lose benefits. To file an application call Social Security’s national toll-free number (800) 772-1213 to request an in-office or telephone appointment, or she can visit her local Social Security office or she can start her claims online at http://www.ssa.gov.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Hwi,

    Social Security law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months. Since your wife has never worked, she would likely only be entitled to Supplamental Security Income if she was found to be disabled. SSI does depend on household income and resources. Now that your income has been reduced, your wife may qualify financially for SSI if your assets are also within the SSI limit. If you are unsure about whether she might qualify, she can file a claim to get a formal decision. She might also consider getting a (usually free) consultation with an experienced Social Security attorney to get a professional opinion about whether you might qualify.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Nancy,

    To be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) while working, your earnings adjusted downward for Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWEs), must be under $1,170 gross per month. IRWEs are expenses that make it possible for you to work and can include out-of-pocket costs for medications and therapy co-pays.

    If you apply, you will have to pick a date of disability to claim. Go back to the last job you held for six months or longer and claim the day you left if your leaving the job was related to your mental issues. List all the jobs after that as unsuccessful work attempts and the exact reasons for why you were fired or quit.

    It takes two to five months for a claim to be processed, so if there is some way for you to reduce expenses and drop to part-time so you can apply, it would give you some income while the claim is processed. Another possibility would be to check whether your state has state disability insurance or your current employer has a short-term disability policy for its employees and, if so, whether you have worked long enough to be covered by a pre-existing condition.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Susan,

    If your fiance is expected to be unable to work for twelve months, he can apply for Social Security Disability and possibly Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It takes two to five months for a initial claims to be processed, so if he has been off work for a few months, it would be appropriate for him to file a claim now. When he files his claim, it would be helpful for his psychiatrist to describe the severity of his symptoms and side-effects and to be specific about why he is not being given a mental health release to return to work. You and he can also make statements for the claim. If he had episodes of inappropriate behavior at work, getting a statement from a supervisor or even a co-worker who witnessed it could help with the claim also. Note that applying for SSDI is not promising to be disabled forever, so it his health improves and he becomes able to return to work, he can do so and have benefits stopped.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear NM,

    You can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if your neuropathy is disabling you from working in any occupation you could perform if you did not have physical limitations. You do not have to have Social Security work credits for SSI eligibility. Note that no disability benefits are paid for disability caused by drug or alcohol use, but residual physical disability could be approved.

    If you can prove disability based only on the neuropathy, not on past alcohol abuse, back far enough to reach a point in time when you were still insured for Social Security Disability (SSDI), you could be approved for SSDI. You can ask Social Security to tell you the date you were last insured. You would have to claim disability on or before that date.

    When your wife starts to get Social Security, if you are retirement age, you can apply for divorced spouses benefits on her account. If she dies, you can apply for disabled surviving divorced spouse’s benefits as early as age fifty. You will need her Social Security number and your marriage and divorce papers.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mari,

    People can become insured for Social Security Disability by working part time after they have become disabled. Their earnings can insure them and they can become eligible for benefits, so I recommend you appeal. If your son is age eighteen as I extrapolate from the dates you gave, he still only needs six quarters of coverage. He would not be eligible for benefits until he became insured and then there would be an unpaid five month waiting period, but he should be able to get benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Robin,

    If the IRS will allow you to file more than three years back and you pay the taxes, the earnings should be credited for Social Security. You can check with the IRS regarding how many years back your husband can go.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Robin,

    Yes, your husband will get work credits for the years that he didn’t previously file. It will take some time for the information to transfer through the IRS to the Social Security computer records, so he may need to take copies of his tax returns to support his claim when he files.

    One thing to consider is that if your husband has not worked eighty hours a month since his transplant and has not had a net profit at the substantial gainful activity level (SGA) since he had the transplant, he may be able to claim a disability onset date back to the time when he fell ill and had the transplant.

    In figuring his earnings for SGA evaluation, he can claim Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE’s), which can include co-pays for treatment and medication related to his liver disease and the transplant.

    Monthly gross wages or net self-employment benchmarks for SGA
    In calendar year 2017, $1,170
    In calendar year 2016, $1,130
    In calendar year 2015, $1,090
    In calendar year 2014, $1,070
    In calendar year 2013, $1,040
    In calendar year 2012, $1,010
    In calendar year 2011, $1,000
    In calendar year 2010, $1,000
    In calendar year 2009, $980
    In calendar year 2008, $940
    In calendar year 2007, $900
    In calendar year 2006, $860
    In calendar year 2005, $830
    In calendar year 2004, $810

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Karen,

    If you became disabled before the date you were last insured and you were not denied medically after the date last insured and you can get medical records to prove disability that far back, you can file an application. To state it differently, on a new application you must claim a date after the date of the medical denial and the date must also be while you were insured. (This advice will work only if the last time you were denied, you didn’t get a medical review because you claimed a date after you were last insured.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kathy,

    Social Security does not offer Social Security disability benefits to spouses. Depending on the amount of your husband’s earnings; your family’s other income; the number of minor children in the household, if any, and the family’s assets, you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. Also, if your husband were to die before you, you could apply for disabled widows benefits as early as age fifty.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mari,

    Often averaging is done and if the average is below substantial gainful activity ($1,170), a person can be found disabled. An exception is during an Extended Period of Disability (EPE), which is part of SSA’s work incentive program. If your son is approved for SSDI, I suggest that you and he read the Red Book, which is available at ssa.gov, especially if you son plans to continue working.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mari,

    At age nineteen, your son would need six work credits to be insured, so depending on how much he was earning, he could have become insured beginning some time in 2016. As long as he was still disabled after he became insured, he could receive benefits. In 2015 $1,220 gross wages earned one quarter of coverage (four per year can be earned); in 2016 the figure was $1,260. Another factor to consider is whether or not your son is now earning $1,170 gross per month. If he is, unless it is subsidized employment, he would not be considered disabled.

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will count half his work earnings over $65 ($85 if he has no other income) and any other income including in-kind (non-cash) income in the form of free or partially free shelter or food (other than SNAP). They will also check to see whether he has more than $2,000 countable resources (assets). Some assets don’t count.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jose,

    Your mother can apply for disability if she is physically or mentally unable to work enough to earn $1,170 gross wages per month. Her doctor’s statement could help her claim; however, the disability decision will be made by a claims examiner not by your mother’s physician.

    A person performing independent contractor work can file a tax return and pay Social Security taxes on the work even if income tax is not owed. If your mother either filed or now files a tax return and pays the self-employment tax on her earnings, she would get four quarters of coverage (work credits) for 2016, which could help her to be insured for Social Security Disability if she is not already. A tax account can help her file the correct self-employment tax returns. Your mother can also find out whether she is currently insured or would be with last year’s earnings by setting up a My Social Security account at http://www.ssa.gov and requesting an earnings statement.

    If she is medically disabled and has limited assets and income, she could also qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, which is also administered by the Social Security Administration.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Cathy,

    It is difficult to prove something that didn’t happen. If the house and car loan applications show you and your boyfriend as not being related, copies of those papers could prove you were not telling someone you are married. If you have a child and your child attends school, school records might show that parents are not married. Also, doctor’s offices may have information on file that shows you are not married and so on. Try to think of every official place you would have had to list your marital status and try to get paperwork from there. You can also submit printouts of SSA’s regulations from https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500501150 and https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500501152 to show that you are not married for SSI because you are not legally married and have never told anyone you were married or conducted business as a married couple (i.e., you have not held out to the public as married.)

    The reconsideration will be reviewed by a different employee, which could help; but if the reconsideration is denied, file a request for hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear TMB,

    Owning a house she lives in will not make your daughter ineligible for SSI (Supplemental Security Income). I suggest that she apply to find out whether she qualifies financially based on her family’s income and assets.

    When she applies, she can also find out whether she would have been insured for disability at any time in the past. (The minimum required is six credits, which would be the amount she would need if she has been continuously disabled at age twenty-four or younger. Then she would need another two credits for each elapsed year after that up to age 31 when she would need twenty credits.) If she has been continuously disabled since age nineteen and has not worked since then or has worked only in short spurts of less than six months and stopped due to her health, she might be qualify for a small amount of Social Security. You would need to help her pull together her medical records from back then and up to present to prove disability from the claimed date to present.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Cathy,

    I believe that you can appeal the determination of being treated as married to your boyfriend even if you have owned property together. There is nothing in the law that provides for deeming without marriage. A few states recognize common-law marriage, where no license has been obtained and no ceremony performed, but the criteria for being considered common law married are very specific in each state. If Social Security were treating you as married based on state law, they would not “deem” you married, they would say you were married under common law.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jen,

    Your income does not affect your fiance’s benefits because you are not married. Until he has SSI benefits and can start to pay one third of the shelter and food expenses, his SSI will be reduced by an amount up to $245 a month because he is getting in-kind (non-cash) income from you in the form of free shelter and food. Once his SSI starts, if he starts to pay his share, two months later, he will receive the maximum SSI benefit.

    His share is the total shelter expenses (and food expenses if you share food) divided by the number of people in the household. Shelter expenses are shelter utilities (power, heat, water/sewer, and garbage) and rent or mortgage, property tax, and if required by the lender property insurance.

    As far as trying to go back and file tax returns, I suggest checking with a tax accountant but the number of years he can do so may be limited and he would have to have records on which to amend the returns. Also doing so still might not result in his being eligible given how sporadic your describe his work to be.

    As an aside, your child is not eligible for benefits because her father has not paid Social Security taxes on enough work to be insured for Social Security Disability benefits and dependent benefits for his daughter.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dee,

    It is possible that your child’s father could be insured for Social Security survivor benefits even though he was not insured for disability benefits. You can file an application for your child to receive survivor benefits; that will let you know whether or not benefits are payable. (Supplemental Security Income [SSI] does not provide dependent or survivor benefits.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear JLMac,

    Unearned income is countable income for determining SSI eligibility and payment amount. It has only a $20 general exclusion, so with no minor children to support, all of the Social Security except $20 is countable income and the income limit to receive $1 in SSI benefits is $1,102 for the couple. (Some states pay an SSI state supplement with slightly higher income limit.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Debbie,

    I suggest that your grandson check with the Social Security Administration to see whether he has already applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, which does not require work credits from U.S. citizens and some legal aliens. If he has not applied for SSI, he can do so as it sounds as if he has no income and few assets. You and he can read about SSI in the articles accessed in the drop-down menu under the “Social Security Disability/SSI” button at the top of this webpage.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jlmac,

    If you were to stop work or to limit your earnings to $65 a month, your wife could receive $152 a month in federal SSI benefits. If Ohio offers an SSI state supplement, she might be eligible for a small additional amount.

    Other options might be to investigate with your state or county social services office whether you could be paid to care for your wife under the In-Home Support Services (IHSS) program that pays wages to individuals who care for a severely disabled relative.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jlmac,

    Please tell me the amount of your Social Security benefit before reduction for Medicare premiums or taxes and the state you live in and I will be able to tell you whether or not your wife will qualify for SSI if that becomes your only income.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Marie,

    Your children are not eligible for dependent benefits because the Social Security you are receiving is not from your own earnings record and because Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not pay dependent benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Shydina.

  • Dear Shydina,

    Your uncle is not eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) because he has not worked and paid Social Security taxes after his time in the military. If is also unlikely that he is eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because his VA benefits may be higher than the SSI income limits. Nonetheless, I suggest that he contact the Social Security Administration to see whether he does qualify financially for SSI. If he does, then he can also complete the medical portion of the application and get a decision regarding whether he is disabled as defined by Social Security law.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Keshia,

    A family can have a certain amount of income including work earnings and still have a family member who is financially eligible for SSI. If your mother has been reporting her husband’s earnings, the amount she has been receiving should be correct.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Lily.

  • Dear Lily,

    If your mother is married or is divorced after being married for ten years, she can apply for dependent or survivor benefits on her spouse’s or ex-spouse’s earnings record if the spouse or ex-spouse is receiving Social Security disability or retirement benefits or is deceased. If none of these situations apply to her, at age sixty-five, she can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Fred,

    Given that there is a potential for twelve months retroactive benefits already, an attorney might take your case as an initial application. It won’t hurt to talk to some attorneys about it; however, you do not have to have an attorney to apply. To avoid possible loss of retroactive benefits, I suggest starting but not completing an application online before the end of the month. That will protect your application date and you have six months to complete the application, which you can do after you gather all the medical you can find.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mandy,

    Unless the drag race business is an exempt government entity, Social Security taxes have to be paid. You should be getting either a W-2 at the end of the year showing your wages and taxes withheld including FICA (Social Security) taxes or you should be getting a 1099 because the company is treating you (correctly or not) as a self-employed independent contractor. If you are getting a 1099, you can file amended tax returns back to file self-employment tax returns and pay the self-employment (Social Security) taxes due. If you do this before April 15 of this year you can go back to 2013. If you cannot get that done by April 15, you can submit amended tax returns back to 2014 if you do it before April 2018. If you need help with this, I suggest contacting a tax accountant.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Fred,

    You can file an application and claim a 2005 disability date if after you ceased work in 2005 you did not hold any job for six months. If you worked longer than six months and earned at the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level, you would have to claim a date after that last period of work. (See below for past SGA levels).

    You can also submit statements from your family about their observations of your illness and an explanation of why you did not seek much treatment; however, there will also have to be sufficient medical documentation from that time or not too long thereafter that supports you were disabled. The reason is that there has to be medical proof of diagnosis and disability while you were still insured. When you apply, plan to gather and submit any records you can get from back then and from all the minimal psychiatric treatment you have had since then, including from your primary care doctor. If there are records from when you were fifteen or other teen years and you can round them up, submit them as well.

    In calendar year 2017, $1,170
    In calendar year 2016, $1,130
    In calendar year 2015, $1,090
    In calendar year 2014, $1,070
    In calendar year 2013, $1,040
    In calendar year 2012, $1,010
    In calendar year 2011, $1,000
    In calendar year 2010, $1,000
    In calendar year 2009, $980
    In calendar year 2008, $940
    In calendar year 2007, $900
    In calendar year 2006, $860

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear John,

    Depending on your income and assets, you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, which are also administered by the Social Security Administration. You can read about SSI in the articles under the “SSI” tab on the navigation bar at the top of this webpage.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jennifer,

    The gap in employment is the problem. You may have to work as many as five years and earn enough to get four credits every year before you have the twenty quarters of coverage in a ten- year period.

    The current dollar amount to earn four quarters in a single year is $4,900. The amount usually goes up every year. Although working less would not bolster the amount of your benefit as much as continuing to work the fifteen hours, you could work less if your health requires and still earn the four credits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Phill,

    If your $470 weekly pay is gross earnings and you and she have no other income, I calculate your wife should be eligible for about $206 in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in months that you get four weekly or two bi-weekly (every other week) pay checks and ineligible in months you get an extra paycheck. If she is eligible for SSI, in most states she will be eligible for Medicaid also.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Karen,

    I am not aware of any disability benefits you could be eligible for if you do not and your past employer does not have a private insurance policy under which you re covered. You are not eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) because you do not have sufficient work credits, and you are not eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because your husband’s income is to high for you to be eligible for SSI, which is needs-based public assistance program.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Kay.

  • Dear Kay,

    If your benefit on your own earnings record is less than the benefit you have been receiving from your father’s earnings record, you will be paid first off your own record with the difference between the two benefits paid from your father’s record. For example, If your current benefit is $800 and you qualify for $450 on your own record, you would receive $350 off your father’s record and the $450 off your own.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lou Ann,

    If your husband has not worked, he will not be able to draw Social Security retirement when he reaches age sixty. When you retire, if you have worked enough, he can draw spouse’s benefits on your account.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Hope,

    Because you have not worked in the last ten years, you are not eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. This means that the only federally administered disability program that is open to you is Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a needs-based public assistance program. This means that your family’s income and assets have to fall below the SSI limits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ashley,

    If you are earning less than $1,170 gross per month ($1,130 in 2016), you can file for disability while still working and claim a date of disability that is the later of day after the last denial or the date your earnings dropped below those figures.

    To file a successful claim, you have to prove that you have been or will be disabled from all occupations including lighter occupations for at least twelve months. (It’s possible that your back will improve again after you deliver your child so that the worsened condition may not last twelve months. )

    It might be helpful for you to contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) or admissions counseling department at your closest community college for some guidance on lighter occupations you might be able to perform that you can learn on the job as interim work until your husband gets out of school.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Hi I am Justin wade and I worked at Wal-Mart and I was there for two months and got fired and I have a hard time finding and keeping a job as well as it takes eleven moths to find a job

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Justin,

      My response is to both of your posts of November 28. If you have trouble keeping a job because of a physical or mental condition that you have, then it would be appropriate to file a disability claim. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not pay any back benefits, so if you apply in December and you are approved, your benefits will begin in January.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Liz

    I have moderate depression and I was diagnosed last year, but I’ve been living with the symptoms since I was 15. I’m in my 20s now and I was seeing a cognitive behavioral health therapist until she moved away, but she said I need a lot more ongoing therapy. I was on a medication for the depression and it no longer helps, so I stopped taking it over a month ago. I have never been in the workforce. I was a full-time babysitter for a family member last year and was then terminated for my mood swings and told I was unstable. Don’t know if that’s really considered work history. I’m currently trying to get an appointment to get on another medicine. I have scars on my arms and thighs from years of self harm and a small history of suicidal thoughts/tendencies. I can’t support myself financially and have to live with my father. I was told it may be worth looking into SSI or SSDI, but I don’t know how I can qualify with no work history whatsoever. Please, please help me.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Liz,

      Your work for your family member is work history, but unless Social Security taxes were paid on it, you will not have work credits from it to insure you for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI). You can, however, apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which does not require work credits if you are a U.S. citizen or an alien with certain immigration statuses. I do not know whether you will qualify for benefits, but I suggest that you apply and try to stay under a physician’s and therapist’s care. If you do not have insurance, I suggest that you apply for Medicaid or insurance under the Affordable Care Act. More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear HangInThere,

      I cannot post your comment because this site does not post advice or other communication from one visitor to another. However, if you want to re-post your comment telling just your own experience without addressing anyone else’s situation, I’d be glad to post it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Hi my name is Sheridan wade I recently worked at Wal-Mart and I couldn’t find a job for eleven moths then I found one then lost it to a month later would I be able to get ssi 2016 November 28

  • Sharon Fleming

    Dear Kay,

    I am a 55 yr old female with diagnosed ptsd, copd, sleep apnea, diabetes, Hashimotos thyroiditis and most recently pre-cervical cancer. I am married. I worked from the time I was 13yrs old until 1991. I quit working due to Hashimotos symptoms, however if was a couple years later that I was actually diagnosed. Would I qualify for anything or is it based on my husbands income and how much would that be? We are really beginning to struggle now.

    • Sharon Fleming

      Correction I was employed until 2000. Did a part time job for a few months in 2005. Nothing since.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Sharon,

        Please see my response to your first post. Just substitute about 2005 for about 1996 in my first response.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sharon,

      To be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) you have to prove that you became disabled while you were still currently insured for SSD, which at the latest would be 1996.

      If you do not have medical evidence from that time, then your and your husband’s income and assets have to be within the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) limits for you to receive disability benefits. You can read more about SSI in the articles under the “SSI” tab at the top of this webpage; and if you want to tell me the amount of your husband’s income and what you and he own including bank account and retirement account balances, I will give you an idea of whether you might qualify financially. Alternatively, you can just go ahead and file an application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jacqueline Applegate

    My daughter was married for 18 yrs. And her husband left her 8 years ago for a doctor. He is an aro space engineer, he pays her some alimony. She has been diagnosed with a very rare disease derma mitosis with overlapping Polychondritis disease. She is a hair dresser who can no longer work. Is she eligible for her x husbands social security? She needs some income. her alimony ends in 2018. Help please…….she is only 45 yrs. old.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jacqueline,

      Your daughter can apply for wife’s benefits when she turns sixty-two if her former husband is receiving Social Security for himself. If he dies before then, she can apply for disabled widows benefits at age fifty. She can now apply for Social Security Disability on her own earnings record. Information about how to file can be found in the articles under the “Apply SSD” tab at the top of this webpage. Your daughter might also talk with an attorney to see if there is any hope of having alimony continued in some amount past 2018 due to her disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Gay

    My husband has been ill for many years. He has not had any income credits for many years as well due to a failing business and illness. He had a stroke last year and the SS administration office said he qualified but due to no credits and me having an income, he didn’t qualify for benefits. My question, are there any tax benefits that I may qualify for since I am having to support both he and I? I work 5 jobs to do so and frankly, I am a bit tired.
    Thanks,
    Gay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gay,

      I suggest you consult with a tax accountant to find out if there is any way for your husband to be certified disabled for tax purposes other than being approved for SSD or SSI. I suggest also getting a general review of your finances as related to your taxes in case the accountant knows of something else that could be of help.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kristie

    My husband is on ssi. He is a bilateral bk amputee. They no longer pay him because I earn to much. We have a 23 yr old daughter that lives with us and is a full time student and works full time. He is k. Jeopardy of losing Medicaid and really needs to keep it for health reasons. He is a diabetic and that’s how he lost his legs. Short of moving out so he can get benefits, is there anything else we can do. I will move if necessary but don’t want to divorce

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kristie,

      I suggest that you look into insurance for your family under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is possible that if your husband loses Medicaid because of your income, your family would be eligible for insurance with a government subsidy to help pay for the premiums.

      To answer your question, if you and your husband separate, your income will not be counted in determining his eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and probably not for Medicaid. If you do separate, you should also separate your bank accounts,so you do not have joint assets.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Pamela

    My ex husband claims he gets both SSI and Social Security. He is 45 years old and has been disabled since 2010. He told me that although he got both SSI and SS he had not worked enough for our two children (now ages 12 and 14) to receive a check through his disability. Is this correct? He filed in Alabama if that makes a difference. I know he receives 2 checks. He receives $275 on his SSI and around $850 on his SS. Thank you for your help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Pamela,

      Some people who get an Social Security benefits do have too little earnings to provide dependent benefits. You can take your ex-husband’s Social Security number to Social Security and try to apply for the children. That will get you the answer of whether or not his work history is sufficient to provide dependent benefits for your children.(As an aside, the figures you provided seem unlikely in that they add up to more than a person can get when part of the income is from Supplemental Security Income [SSI].)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Aaron davison

    My wife is not capable of working anymore because of copd and other medical reasons. We applied for disability from social security. She was approved by the social security. But then they called and said she was not eligible for benefits because of my work history and what i earn.we live in the oil field area of the u.s. the cost of living is high here. Is there anyway to receive benefits even if i do work.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Aaron,

      The denial your wife got is for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a public assistance program for individuals with low family income and assets. If your wife also applied for Social Security Disability (SSDI) based on her earnings record, she may have been approved for those benefits, which are not affected by your earnings. I suggest she call Social Security at 800-772-1213 to clarify whether she has an SSDI claim pending payment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Melissa

    Hello
    My husband receives VA disability and also applied for disability through Social Security but was denied because he didn’t have enough credit hours. Can he receives disability using some of my credit hours?

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melissa,

      No one else can use your Social Security work credits. When you retire, your husband can apply for spouse’s benefits as soon as he is at least sixty-two years of age or at an earlier age if at that time he had a child of yours under age sixteen in his care. If you die before him, he can apply for disabled widower’s benefits at age fifty.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Marco

    I have a son who currently works in a place that help people find skills. My son has Autism and also MS. This two issues play a havoc in his body. He is currently working 15 hours per week and qualifies for SSDI because of his work credits. The problem is that he has a hard time doing trivial jobs and has to call in sick a lot. Even his work place complains that they really can’t set goals for him. In reality, he shouldn’t be working but he is trying very hard. his assignment with his work ends in August. I’m concerned now that he will loose his benefits because finding a job for him will be very hard. He has received SSDI for 8 months now. Will he be able to qualify for SSI?…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marco,

      Your son will not lose his SSDI benefits if he cannot find a job outside a sheltered situation. He should report if he stops work or has a significant change in the amount he earns.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Juice

        I applied in 2014 for ssi/ssdi and worked from 2006-early 2014 with no gaps. Am I eligible for ssdi or only ssi?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Juice,

          You do not say how much you were earning each year or how old you are, but it is possible that you are insured for Social Security Disability. Credits can be earned at a maximum rate of four per year. See the chart below for the dollar amount that earns one credit. You can get a copy of your earnings statement (not benefit statement) at http://www.ssa.gov. Create a My Social Security account and then request the statement. Note that a recent security measure now require you to have a text activated cell phone to set up a My Social Security account. If you do not have text capability or don’t want to set up an account, just search “earnings statement” from the home page and move to the request form that can be mailed in. If you are unsure about your insured status, file a claim to get a formal determination.

          Year Dollar Amount
          per quarter
          2006 970
          2007 1,000
          2008 1,050
          2009 1,090
          2010 1,120
          2011 1,120
          2012 1,130
          2013 1,160
          2014 1,200
          2015 1,220
          2016 1,260

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Steve

    My wife has ms and she don’t think she will be eligible for ssdi because she has not paid in do to not working much and we could really use the extra income now that the kids are older and the cost of living has gone up its hard for a one income family she has secondary progressive ms so the pain don’t go away do you think she can qualifiy for be idiots.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Steve,

      I suggest that your wife apply for benefits claiming the date that she first was unable to work. If she does not have enough work for Social Security Disability (SSD) and your family income and assets are limited, she may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, which are also administered by the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jennifer

    I worked a lot and was a good earner right out of college. I worked full-time for about 13 years, switching careers with some breaks in between employment, but never for more than a month or two at a time. My last full-time job lasted 3 years, but I stopped working due to increasing fatigue. A year later I was diagnosed with cancer, when my child was a year old. My fatigue has only gotten worse, despite my recovering from cancer and subsequent cancer treatments. I last worked full-time 8 years ago. Just last month we found out the reason for my fatigue: a rare, congenital, degenerative connective tissue disorder. I will never be able to work again. I have tried several times, all different types of employment, and I am too fatigued and weak to be a reliable employee. I am soon to be remarried, but our combined income will be just above the threshhold to qualify for Supplemental Security Income. I am now 41, so I understand I need 20 work credits within the last 10 years to qualify for SSDI. Given my circumstance, that was impossible. Had I gotten this diagnosis 2 years ago, I would have had 8 more credits to work with, but this is such a rare disease, it is not uncommon for it to take years for patients to be diagnosed. Is there any way my earnings from my first 13 years of employment can be counted towards the points needed now? What other options do I have, if any?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jennifer,

      I suggest that you file a Social Security Disability claim and claim a disability onset date of the day after you last worked. To try to prove you have been continuously disabled since then (or at least since you were last insured), try the following:

      1. Start the claim online, which will protect your filing date. (You have six months to finish the application.)
      2. Assemble a chronology of your medical history from about a year before you ceased work. In the chronology make entries for each health care provider and the approximate start and stop dates of seeing the providers, what you saw them for (fatigue, cancer). Also make entries for when your fatigue worsened and/or new symptoms appeared, when your medications were changed, etc. Include each provider’s name, address, phone, email if you have it, and your patient number if applicable.
      3. In the chronology, include when medications were stopped and started (see 5 below) and state whether the medications provided benefit and/or whether there were side effects.
      4. In the chronology, include changes in symptoms and in ability to perform daily activities. (Who cleaned the house, cooked, did the shopping, took care of any kids, etc.? if you did not do these things or if you did, describe problems you had in doing them.)
      5. Ask your pharmacy(ies) to provide a computer printout of your prescription history as far back as they have it to your cease work date.
      6. Get your medical records and ask the specialist who diagnosed and is treating the connective tissue disorder to review the chronology and your medical records back to at least two or three years before the date you were last insured and to write a medical opinion that you have been suffering from this condition for at least x number of years and that based on the records, his or her medical opinion is that you would not have been able to work throughout a work day or work week beginning with a certain month and date. (Hopefully the doc will do this and the opinion will go back far enough to reach when you were still insured.)
      7. Keep copies of all these things.

      When you complete the medical questionnaire for the claim, for some of the entries it will be appropriate to add “See attached chronological history of illnesses and treatment since yyyy.”
      Be sure to put see “Dr. X’s statement regarding when I was no longer able to work.”

      If you are denied, request a copy of the claim file, which will come on DVD, to be sure everything you submitted is in file, and to see the exact reasons for the denial. Hire an experienced Social Security attorney to help with the appeal and, of course, give him or her a copy of the claim file. It is okay to interview more than one attorney and select the one that seems to have the best combination of qualifications and faith in your appeal being approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • shermessie lee

        Hello my sons father recieves ssdi benefits in they still.are denying my 10 year old who also.has austium,they keep sayin he doesn’t have enough credits if he didn’t how did he get ssdi,my question is should my son be getting ssdi off his father income

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Shermessie,

          Your child’s father has enough credits to be insured for Social Security benefits; however, he apparently worked and earned very little so that the family maximum benefit he earned is the same amount as his own benefit and no benefits are payable for dependents.

          If your family income and assets are low enough, your son might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. You can learn more about SSI by reading the articles under the SSI tab at the top of this webpage. Application can be filed in your local Social Security office or you can request an appointment for a phone application by calling 1-800-772-1213.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Anje Duckels

    Hello!

    I am wondering if you agree with one of those disability rep people who told me that because my legal husband has been missing for years and I can provide nothing as to his income or whereabouts that I would be automatically rejected. I have serious lupus, fibromyalgia, IBS, PTSD and a handful of co occuring issues that mean my function is greatly reduced. I will very likely never be able to return to work and I need to care for my family. Please let me know if you are aware of this situation.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anje,

      If you have minor children, your state or county child support enforcement program might have resources to locate your husband and require him to pay child support for the children. With regards to your medical condition, you can try applying for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Amy

    I have been recently diagnosed with Autism. I am 42 years old and since receiving the diagnosis have finally clearly understood why I’ve not been able to work. Although, I have tried, I do not have enough work credits to apply for disability. I’ve been Autistic my whole life, obviously. Can I still be approved for disability?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amy,

      If your (and your spouse’s if you are married) income and assets are within the limits and you are disabled, you can receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is administered by the Social Security Administration. You can learn more about SSI in the articles under the SSI tab at the top of this webpage.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Hello I am 56 yrs born with cerebral palsy. I worked for county office for approx. 6 yrs. Quit when had children . As I understand when quit got a payout so no ss credits. Had a few credits with various jobs. Applied 2 xs for ss and denied. Too much income for ssi with husband working. I am a high functionin cp when younger and after falls and pain use walker now. My problem is I feel I should get help put I guess I don’t qualify with my circumstances. Being born with cp I don’t understand how I am not entitled to any help?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Teri,

        To qualify for disability benefits, you either had to have worked enough to be insured for Social Security Disability or your family income has to be low enough to qualify for the Supplemental Security Income public assistance program.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Katie Paul

    I applied for disability insurance in 2004, about a year after being diagnosed with severe RA. I was denied. I have been home with my kids ever since, continuing to suffer from severe pain, fused joints, and immobility, but hoping some new drug would evebtually ease my pain. My dr recently suggested it is not realistic that I will ever be able to return to work, but when I considered applying for disability, it says I can’t apply due to not enough work credits. Now I wish I would have fought my original denial back in 2004. I can’t think of any job I can do to start earning work credits. Any advice? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Katie,

      If your family income and assets are within the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) guidelines, you may be eligible for SSI disability benefits. You can learn more about SSI in the articles under the SSI tab at the top of this web page. If you are unsure about your financial eligibility, file an application to get a formal decision. When your spouse (or in some cases spouse of at least ten years) either retires or predeceases you, you can file for wife’s or widow’s benefit when you are at least sixty-two years old for wife’s or age fifty for widow’s.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • ashley maier

    OK I have applied 2 other times but I was denied. At the time I was fresh out of mental health group homes from the age of 11 to19. I have been misdiagnosed so many times I lost count. However I have clinical depression and I told my therapist I want to try to work because she suggested ssi. I have and failed I lose focus and don’t take care of myself at work or in my own home. I am getting a lawyer this time and my father is receiving benefits. Is this enough to get ssi? And how does my father play a role in my ssi? And can I receive full benefits if I don’t have enough work credits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashley,

      If you have not held jobs longer than six months and otherwise have been disabled since prior to age twenty-two and are unmarried, you can apply for Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) on your father’s earnings record. (It will not reduce his benefit.) You can also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits based on disability and financial need.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Victoria

    I always had panic attack disorder and adhd and a.d.d I also have Dislecia and axity and Major depression and when i was 17 after my daughter was born i found out i have tachycardia. And was unable to work I got SSI because I didnt have enough work credits do to not being able to work.But I only get 733$ a month and have to kids I can not live on my own or think about getting a car or a place with this amount I give my parents 550 for rent so what can I do to make that amount change and If not how Am I spose to live on my own ever/? Or help If something happens that makes my parent unable to work ??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Victoria,

      You are receiving the maximum SSI. You might check with your state or county Social Services to see whether your children are eligible for financial assistance. If you have not applied for SNAP (food stamps), I suggest applying. You might also try to get on a waiting list for government-subsidized housing where your rent is a percentage of your income.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Margaux

    I have been receiving SSDI under my own record and recently found out that I qualify as a disabled adult child and can now receive benefits under my father’s record. I was told by several social security reps that I would NOT lose the SSDI under my own record but would receive both my own SSDI in ADDITION to my father’s. Now I’m being told that I’ll lose my original SSDI and be supplemented by my father’s record which is much more but not enough to live off of.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Margaux,

      You cannot get full benefits on both earnings records. You will receive your full benefit (SSDI) off your own earnings record and receive a partial benefit off your father’s record to bring your total income up to the amount you would receive on your father’s record if you did not have an SSDI benefit. In summary, your income will go up.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michael

    I am 18 and want to live on my own going to be 19. I have 2 herniated discs on my lower back. Which causes very bad pain to all my left leg and back. They said it can heal over time but I’ve already had it for like a year. I was thinking about getting a job but I can’t stand or walk for a long time. I’ve had only 1 job once over the summer. But now I don’t know what to do.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      To be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) you must be unable to work in any occupation that you would be able do if you did not have physical limitations. You can file an application to find out if you qualfty. However, I suggest that at the same time you try to get a job where you can work seated. You might try contacting your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) or even Employment office to get some guidance about what jobs might be open to you or whether you can get training for such jobs through DVR.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • mary nguyen

    I have no kind of medical insurance my left knee is in pain. I don’t No where to go for help. I need to collect something because I’m out of money. How do I qualify for disability with out any medical records. Can’t afford to go to see a doctor. Please help

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      Contact your county social services to see if the county has any free clinics and/or whether you qualify for Medicaid. You can apply for disability benefits if you believe that you cannot work. You might be sent to a physicain for evaluation at Social Security’s expense. If you file an application, put on the application you do not have medical records because you have not had funds to see a doctor.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • kevin

    I am trying to help out my 73 year old neighbor. She has no family, she has never worked as she took care of her parents when they were alive. She has a reverse mortgage on the house she lives in which was her parents house. She has no medical coverage as she can not afford it. Is she eligible for social security benefits, or any other benefits? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kevin,

      Your neighbor might be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is administered by the Social Security Administration. The payments she gets from her reverse mortgage should be considered conversion of an excludable resource, not income, and should not affect her SSI eligibility.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • mary nguyen

    I recently lost my job and now I torn a ligament in my knee I have no insurance and money to get it done where can I go for help

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs require that you be disabled or expected to be disabled for twelve months. For shorter periods of disability, check with your employer to find out if you are covered by a short-term disability insurance policy. If you are not, contact your state or county social services offices to see whether your state has assistance for short-term disability and/or food assistance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • mary nguyen

        Thank you Kay I went to fill out application at the welfare office now waiting for there call if I’m qualified in that category. Thank you again. If you have any more suggestion please post it for me

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Mary.

  • Diane Braley

    I am a 58 year old female. I have been married to my husband for 40 years. I applied for disability benefits back in 2012. I was denied because they said I didn’t have enough work credits and my illnesses at the time didn’t qualify. Since that time I have been diagnosed with GERD with Barrett’s esophagus, heart murmur with leaky valve, diabetes uncontrolled, diabetic neuropathy in both feet and legs, 3 bulging disc in my neck, Hypochromic microcytic anemia for which I receive transfusions every 3-4 months, polymyalgia Rheumatica, carpal tunnel in both wrists, fatty liver with possible cirrhosis diagnosis, anxiety and depression. I plan on filing an appeal. But my main problem is not having enough work credits. If I am deemed disabled by SS, my question is…my husband receives Social Security, he is 64. Can I claim spousal benefits against his work credits? Even though I am only 58. Does having Social Security acknowledge same being disabled help my chances of getting spousal benefits? Any help in the matter would be greatly appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Diane,

      You can apply for reduced wife’s benefits on your husband’s earnings record when your attain age sixty-two. If he were to die before then, you could apply for reduced disabled widows benefits. Depending on how high your husband’s Social Security is, you might now qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability. You can learn more about SSI by reading the articles under the SSI tab on the navigation bar at the top of his web page.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Diane Braley

        Thank you for help. I believe I got the answer I was looking for, but I just need to clarify it. Please bear with me. Being declared disabled at 58, does not qualify me for benefits against my husbands work record. I have to be 62 to qualify for spousal benefits. All of this is because I don’t have enough credits of my own to file against. He makes too much to qualify for SSI also. I greatly appreciate your help.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Diane,

          Benefits based on disability and paid on another person’s earnings record are limited to disabled adult child benefits for children who became disabled prior to age twenty-two and to disabled surviving spouse’s benefits, which are payable as early as age fifty on a deceased spouse’s earnings record. Accordingly, you are correct, you are not eligible for disability benefits on your husband’s earnings record as long as your husband is alive.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Mark Lilly

    I filed for Social Security disability in 2011. My cases at the federal level. I was evaluated at 100% by the VA while waiting for my case for Social Security disability benefits. Should I apply for Social Security disability again or wait for the results from my federal case. My social security disability case has been at the federal level since 2014. My work credits are no longer available for usage. Do I have options.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mark,

      You can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), if your countable gross income is less than $753 a month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Laurie

    Hi, I suffer from severe anxiety/panic attacks and depression, IBS and migraines, endrometriosis. I was denied disability, but do I have a chance if I appeal. They are saying I do not have enough credits. Last time I worked was in 2000, after I had my first child, that is when I developed endrometriosis, I suffered from IBS, before that, but I did suffer from depression before that, but I never went to doctors for it. But after having my second child I suffered from real bad panic attacks/post partum depression and do till this day. I am on medication for life, but every day is a struggle so I am unable to work. Can you please give me some advice, Do I have a chance? Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Laurie,

      Unless you can prove you were disabled while still insured for Social Security Disability (SSDI), which may not be possible because from what you say, you may not have medical records to document your limitations far enough back in time. If that is the case, you will not receive SSDI. As long as you have an appeal, you have a possibility of being approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability.

      Because you are claiming disability based on a combination of conditions, it could be helpful to hire an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • RJ

    Question:

    My mother became a stay at home Mom around the year 1988. Prior to that she had worked since 1974. She then became diagnosed in 1996 with MS and was soon deemed permanently disabled.

    When my mother applied to SSDI she was denied based on my mom not having enough work credits in the past 10 years prior to her disability classification.

    My father said they contacted a lawyer but were told the decision would be upheld. So they dropped it.

    Does this scenario sound correct?

    Also if my parents were no longer married would my mom be eligible for SSD or would it be SSI – or both? We’re not sure of her capacity to work from a professional standpoint, but I will assume she can’t hold a job.

    Also this isn’t a divorce loophole situation – divorce is on the table for a variety of reasons.

    I don’t expect legal advice, but I would appreciate any wisdom etc that could be applied to the above. Mom doesn’t have much reliable family and if the divorce happens I may be the one trying to set her up with everything.

    Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear RJ,

      It sounds as if your mother’s denial for not being insured for Social Security Disability (SSDI) on her own earnings record was correct. Eligibility for SSDI is not dependent on marital status, so divorcing will not make her eligible for SSDI. Assuming she has been married to your father for more than ten years, when he starts to receive Social Security benefits or if he dies before her, she can apply for divorced spouse’s benefits at age sixty-two or disabled surviving divorced spouse’s benefits as early as age fifty.

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based disability program. Her husband’s income will not be considered in evaluating her financial eligibility as soon as they are living in separate households, even if they are not yet divorced. However, any money she receives from him in the form of alimony will count toward her unearned income limit. As soon as your parents separate, if they do, I suggest that your mother apply for SSI to get a formal determination of financial and medical eligibility because SSI does not pay retroactively for any months before application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Meg

    Im 26 years old and I’ve been suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for the last 7 years and been clinically diagnosed as well as suffering from depression for almost 10 years and anxiety. I’m getting treated with medication but I’m still constantly struggling daily and have never worked, would I be able to get SSI? I live with my mom still who is a single mom and no longer making income.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Meg,

      I can’t predict whether you will qualify medically for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but I suggest that you file an application to get a decision. Any income or assets your mother has will not affect your SSI application because you an adult.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • help

    Hello! I’m a 19 year old mentally ill student. I suffer from severe anxiety (including OCD), paranoia, depression and PTSD. I was advised to apply for disability because I’m not working and I haven’t been able to work because of my conditions and now I’m having financial trouble obviously. I just got a denial letter in the mail today from social security because I don’t have enough work credits. What should I do at this point? it seems pretty cut and dry so I’m tempted to just give up.

    If it’s relevant I’ve held 4 jobs over the past 2 years. I have always worked a part-time schedule (always been a student in school) and I have lost my last two positions as a result of my out of control anxiety. I have been seeking help for my diagnosed conditions for 10+ years. I have seen so many therapists, psychiatrists, and doctors. Currently I meet with a temporary psychiatrist once a month. I am prescribed antidepressants.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Help,

      It is likely that you applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability at the same time as you applied for Social Security Disability. SSI does not have a minimum work requirement for U.S. citizens and some aliens. If you applied for SSI, the SSI application will be evaluated to determine whether you are disabled as defined by Social Security law. I suggest that you call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to double check that you do have a pending SSI application. If you do not, you can go to your local office to apply.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • M Garrett

    I am a 56 year old that has never left home. I worked about 3 years in my life when I was younger. I have always been afraid to go out of the house, I am depressed. I do not have money to go to the doctors, food or clothing. I live with my 93 year old father, my mother passed away 3 years ago, I was taking care of her full time for the past 20 years. Both of my sisters have mental problems and are on disability. I am not sure what to do. Please help me.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear M.

      I suggest that you start an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability by calling 800-772-1213 and requesting a telephone interview for an SSI disability claim. Explain that you need a phone interview because you are afraid to leave the house. You can learn more about SSI by reading the articles under the “SSI” tab on the navigation bar at the top of this web page. Be sure that you state that you have not had medical or mental health treatment because you do not have income.

      I suggest that you call your local social services office and investigate filing an application for food stamps and Medicaid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Julian Rizzo

    Hello,
    My name is Julian. I’m a 31 year old male who was born with congenital heart disease. I have situs inversus, disposition of the great vessels, a difibulator, suffered den heart failure once and recently diagnosed with a bad aerotic and sestemic valve. Both need to be replaced. At 6 years old I had open heart surgery to patch a large hole in my heart due to situs inversus. At 13 I got my first pacemaker implanted. At 21 my second was implanted. As I age the deterioration of my heart grows bigger due do the fact it is twisted and the functions of the blood flow aren’t twisted causing major stress to my heart. This has caused my valves to improperly function, with a life threatening arethmea that can cause my heart to stop at any given time. A difibulator has been set in place of a pacemaker as a better life line if the arethmea stops my heart. I am due for valve surgery and am on 5 different medications daily. We hope to reduce the size of my heart in order to perform the valve surgery as successfully as possible. I’ve been working since I’m 16. But have been heavily involved in the good industry for about 8 years. Unfortunately due to the deterioration of my heart function it has made work for me very hard to perform. Also I fear that me driving has become a hazard to both myself and other drives due to the fact that my heart can give out T any moment. My wife doesn’t make enough money to support us if I were to leave my job and I fear that I will not be able to find enough help to help supplement my cost for medication, surgeries and living expenses.bi am at a loss, I feel lost and unaware of what my options are. Can somebody please help me!

    Thanks,
    Julian

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Julian,

      My first thought is that you find some other way to get to work: take public transportation, carpool, pay for a driver or taxi. This would be a good decision for safety, plus inability to drive to get to work is not considered in determining disability.

      Next, I suggest that you check to see whether you have short-term disability benefits through a policy that your company provides. If so, it might cover you with some income during the months that it takes to have a Social Security claim processed. (Even if you get a quick approval decision, the first five full calendar months of disability are not paid by Social Security.) If you live in California or one of the other few states that has State Disability Insurance (SDI), you could draw disability benefits for a limited time from that program.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Linda

    I was in the military from 1985-1995. Was in Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield/Storm ’90-’91. Came home sick with many ailments. Received an early out in ’95. Filed for VA disability at that time, registered with the Gulf War registry to document my ailments. Went thru many tests and appts. Was given service connected for some things and denied others. Disability percentage went from 0% service connected in early ’95, to 20% in late ’95, 40% in 2001, to 100% permanent and totally (P&T), in 2012 (retroactive to 2010). It is stated as presumed Gulf War connected.

    I filed for SSI in 2010 but was denied. I did not appeal. I am wondering if I can go back and claim an earlier disability date (1995 discharge date) or can I collect on my ex husband’s record. We were married 19 years, and I am almost 50 and 100% P&T disabled thru the VA.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Linda,

      You can reapply for Social Security Disability (SSDI); but, assuming that you were medically denied, you will have to claim a date later than the date that was denied. If your husband is still living, you can apply for divorced spouse’s benefits at age sixty-two. Should he pass away before then, you can apply for surviving divorced spouse’s disability benefits at age fifty or based on age at age sixty-two.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • june

    Dear Kay,
    I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2009 , two monthe after my second marriage, i have 3 children from previous marriage and the youngest is 12 lives with my husband and i now. Since my diagnosis i have tried to get disability but it shows that I have only accumulated 20 units, as much as I want to go back to work and earn the missing credits, it has become more and more impossible for me to do that and throughout my 6 years, I have never stop getting treatments and i have been in and out of the hospital from treatments if not surgeries that has left me more incapacitated to do anything but care for my little boy to go to school everyday. i have been searching everywhere and talking to people who might be able to help me get to the process, i have also tried the Ssi which i keep getting denied due to my husband’s income that went pass the poverty guideline with just a few dollors, social workers dont give a damn or just being ingnorant on how much it cost to pay and stay alive with this desease, i just want to stay a little longer for my son who is totally dependent on me. Can you please advocate for me? i am so tired being flipped from side to side, by the way, california costs way too much, but my husbunds job is here.

    June Bride

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear June,

      The law that governs SSI and Social Security and state needs-based programs are firmly defined so the people who administer it cannot make exceptions about who qualifies financial for SSI or who has enough work for Social Security. The only thing I can think of that might help is with three children in the household, your family might qualify for a small amount of food stamps due to your medical expenses.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kimberly

    Hello Kay,
    I’m hoping you can help me take the first step in this journey. I’m 41, married, no children, and have my Masters in Business Administration. However, my parents convinced me to start a company with them straight out of MBA school (at the age of 23). I was told that “I didn’t deserve to get paid”, even though I was the President & COO of the company and held 50% ownership of the corporation legally – all the while EVERYONE else was paid well, including my parents, although my father was a silent partner. I worked 80-90 hour weeks for 14 years – basically as an indentured servant. They never paid me, never paid SS taxes on me, Medicare, etc. So I have quite literally no work history to show for it. I resigned and signed over my half of the Corporation due to the hostile work environment and the fact that I was suicidal bc of the treatment and abuse I suffered daily. I have been under the care of psychiatrists and therapists since the age of 23. Both my psychiatrist and Cognitive Behavioral Therapist agree that I am in no condition to work and should be on disability and they are both willing to testify to that fact. The good and bad news: my husband is very successful. I have extreme anxiety, ADD, OCD, Major Depressive Disorder, severe panic attacks, agoraphobia, PTSD, anorexia, to name a few. I’m under close supervision and medicated by my doctors. I’ve heard that there is a way to sue my old Corporation for NOT paying taxes on me. Can you shed any light on my situation? Please? Thank you in advance. Most respectfully, Kim

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kim,

      I can provide some general information, but you may need legal advice.

      Social Security taxes are due and must be paid on wages earned. If you had been paid wages or possibly other types of earned compensation and the taxes on that income weren’t paid, then you could present proof of the income and the IRS could pursue payment of taxes for you and get you coverage. Given that you were not paid, there are no wages on which to try to collect the taxes. Again, if you wish to pursue this further, I suggest a legal consultation to determine your legal rights in relationship to your work for the company.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michelle

    Hi!
    Thank you for this site! My good friend worked 21 years of her life and paid into Social security. The last 10 years she stayed home with her children and spent almost everyday volunteering at their school. Her plan was to go back to work when the kids were older, but suffered a debilitating stroke last year. They denied her claim for SSDI based on lack of work credits. I checked the SS site and it seems that all your credits have to be earned in the last 10 years? How is this fair for someone who spent their time working so hard for her kids but did not get paid. Also she put in over 20 years of paid work prior to having her children? Please explain if there is some clause for parents caring for children, and if not, can volunteer work be quantified to count as work credits. She was providing about 16 hours of service a week to the government through school volunteering. Could a lawyer help her? I am writing this as her cognitive abilities cause her to get confused and I am advocating for her as a friend. I also think her denial is unjust.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michelle,

      Social Security Disability is intended to replace lost earnings. If a person has not worked in the ten years before disability began, then disability did not cause a loss of earnings. That is essentially the idea behind the requirement. When your friend reaches age sixty-two, she can apply for retirement benefits on her own earnings record.

      Your friend’s volunteer work does not earn work credits because work credits are earned by the worker and the employer paying Social Security taxes on wages paid.

      The provision Social Security law makes for homemakers is the right to receive retirement or survivors benefits on the earnings record of their spouse once the spouse is receiving benefits or passes away. Former spouses also qualify if they were married ten years before divorce.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Terra Edwards

    Hi I have questions I applied for disibility and got denied due to lack of work credits… here’s the deal I’m 23 I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 7 I did three years of aggressive treatments was homeschooling from 1st grade until 4th grade but I’m in remission with the cancer but I’ve been dealing with panic attacks and extremely bad aniexty for years because of me having cancer been perscibed multiple anti depressants and xanax and khlonapin off and on since I’ve been 14 since I had cancer at a early age it mentaly messed me up I have social aniexty I don’t like going to simple places like the store etc… I’m a hypercondriact I don’t like being around people and I have extra aniexty just having to visit the doctors so I haven’t worked because I just can’t handle it with my aniexty and mind constantly thinking I’m going to die so since I just got denied for disability what should I do? Hire a lawyer? Or file for ssi? I don’t know what to do and need some help

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Terra,

      If you have no income or income below $753 a month, apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If either of your parents is receiving Social Security or is deceased and you are unmarried, you can also apply for disabled adult child benefits on the earnings record of your parent.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Terra Edwards

        My dad worked his whole life and him and my mom got divorced two years before he died.. I got married young and was separated at the time of his death and was 19 when he passed but I don’t think I am eligible to get his benifits am i? I also have twins that are 5

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Terra,

          You would be eligible for benefits on your father’s record only if you became disabled before age twenty-two and are unmarried. If your mother and father were married ten years and your mother has not remarried, she could be eligible for benefits on his account as early as age sixty (or fifty if she becomes disabled within seven years of your father’s death) or if she has a child of his under age sixteen in her care.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • samester

    Hi im 38 years old i have been diagnosed with morbid obesity depression degerative joint disease in both knees scoliosis in my lower back i have anxiety and i just started going to the mental health clinic but they havent started me on anything yet. My assessment diagnoses was im bipolar.v i may b forgetting to list some things because of my memory. I can barely walk without being out of breath and its hard to take care of my 12 year old. I was told when i applied for my disability that i had all my work credits. I want to know do i have a chance of being approved?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Samester,

      It can be difficult to prove disability based on a combination of illnesses when one illness alone is not disabling. Be sure to list all your illnesses and all your treating physicians. Let each of your physicians know that you are being treated by other physicians for other conditions and that you are applying based on a combination of conditions. If you are denied and you really think you cannot work, you can appeal. If you appeal, I recommend hiring an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before sending your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sinc

  • Leigh

    Good Morning, I have a 23 year old son that is epileptic and recently had brain surgery. We applied for disabilty and yesterday found out that he has been approved. He worked a part-time job up until February of 2013 when he needed the surgery. When he was working he did not earn over 6000 a year. I am confused as to how SSI or SSD is caclulated for someone with little to know work history. Also, when someone is approved for disability do they qualify for other benefits such as Medicaid/Medicare or food stamps?

    Thank you for any help you can provide.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Leigh,

      If your son has enough work under Social Security to have quarters of coverage equaling half of the calendar quarters between his twenty-first birthday and his date of disability, he will be insured for Social Security Disability. The benefit amount will be based on his earnings record.

      He may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) before the Social Security starts and/or to supplement the Social Security. SSI benefits are calculated monthly based on income received in the month including in-kind (non-cash) support in the form of free housing and/or food. If he is not paying his share of shelter and food expenses where he lives, his SSI will be reduced or he might not be eligible when the in-kind income is added to the Social Security.

      Note that SSI will be paid first so when he gets his SSI back pay, if he starts to pay for his shelter and food (either by paying his share of household food costs or by applying for food stamps to purchase his food separately), his SSI will go up two months later.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Leigh

        Thank you for your response. I actually misspoke. I checked his earnings and he earned less than $1,000 a year. He worked part time while in High School and as not worked since February 2013. Will they deem his disability from that time? As for his living expenses, I pay the rent and food. He lives with me. So I actually support him. How will that affect what he receives? I really appreciate you! Thanks!

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Leigh,

          Earnings prior to age twenty-one can count towards quarters of coverage. At the end of my response I will put a chart that shows the amount of earnings it takes for one quarter of coverage. Four quarters can be earned in a single year. When he files a claim for him, he should claim the date he became disabled with the hope that it was while he was still insured (if he was at any time), even though benefits may not be paid that far back.

          If your son is approved, his SSI will be paid in the amount of $488. He will not be eligible for the maximum because he is receiving in-kind (non-cash) income in the form of free housing and food.
          Once benefits start, if he has sufficient back pay to pay his share of housing and food, his benefits will be increased two months after he starts to pay his share. (His share is the household’s rent or mortgage, shelter utilities (not phone or cable), and food divided by the number of people in the household.)

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Lee

            Kay, thank you for your help. I found out that my son is getting the $733 for SSI. He was also approved for the SDI but they don’t know how much he will receive. He has earned a total of 11 credits and only 6 are needed. Do you know how they calculate the disability payment?

            Thanks again,

            Leigh

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Lee,

              Social Security Disability payments are based on work earnings history. If your son’s Social Security is less than $753 and he has no other income, SSI will continue to supplement his SSDI). The two benefits together can reach a maximum of $753.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Susan

    My sister age 25, was diagnosed with heart failure. Less than 30% heart function. She does not have many work credits (summer jobs) because she was a full time college student. Does the fact that she was going for a higher education destroy her chance for disability payments due to a low # of work credits? Any thoughts on this?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susan,

      Because your sister is young, she needs only approximately eight work credits, which she might have. She should file a claim and get an official determination about whether or not she is insured. She should take her 2014 W-2s and 2015 pay stubs to prove recent earnings. If she is not insured, depending on her financial situation, she may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, which is also administered by the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Emily

    My husband of 3 years is thinking of filing for SSI. He has been disabled prior to our marriage. He does not have enough work credits to file for SSI, and now I believe my income is above the qualifying amount for supplemental security income. Is it worth filing? Will they look at disability prior to marriage? Please help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Emily,

      If your husband does not have enough work credits for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and your income is too high for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), he is not eligible for either benefit. (SSI doesn’t pay benefits for periods prior to the date of application.) To get an estimate of whether he may be eligible for SSI, you can use the formula in the sample calculation in the article “What Are Deemed Income and Resources and How Do They Affect SSI Payment Amounts and Qualifying for SSI Disability?” under the SSI tab on the navigation bar of this website.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • kristin

    I am 34 with 4 children. I am going to a mental health clinic for depression. I have not worked in 5 years and not much at all before that. Can I still qualify for disability. My statements say I lack 20 credits of work.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kristin,

      If you are disabled and your family income and countable assets are below the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) limits, you may qualify for SSI disability payments. You can apply for SSI in a Social Security office and you can learn more about SSI by reading the articles under the SSI tab on the navigation bar of this website.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • ashley

    hello, i need help as to applying for ssi for a spouse, we are not married but i am helping him with applying to be his Representative payee he has had ssi in the past due to his mental illness but he was cut off because he was trying to get his benefits in his own name and no one tried to help him get it back hes been on the streets and now that i have got him stable enough to apply for him and to get him back to the doctors. what will i have to do to document his condition now years later, i know that he should be in their system as homeless cause that’s what hes always been but never worked no reading or language skills just not rational thinking, but now i know that he has a very serious illness std should i put that with his claim should i file the claim. i asked his family and they said apply for him but they really stoped dealing with him how can help i have been taking care of him for 7 years now.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashley,

      List all of your friend’s (as you said you are not married, so he is not your spouse) mental and physical conditions and limitations on the application. Apply for Medicaid for him at your state’s social service office and also try to get him into a free mental health clinic while waiting for health insurance so that his condition can be assessed. You might also write up a statement about how long you have known him and the symptoms you see that show you he can’t work. Perhaps you can get statements from others who know him. Be sure to list all the medical providers he’s seen in the past two years. Also say that he was approved in the past and that his condition deteriorated after his benefits stopped.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Melissa thurman

    I have had back pain for about 20 years. Finally went to Doctor, x rays showed twisting in my spine in my neck, middle of my back and at tail bone. Hips are uneven, and early signs of arthritis on right hip. One of my vertebrae is collapsing and is forming a lip on the vertebrae . I also have fibromyalgia and fatigue. I was diagnosed with Non alcoholic Fatty Liver, I’m not over weight , cholesterol and blood sugar are normal. I also have bipolar disorder. I did qualify for Medicaid because of the affordable care act. It’s been hard for me to have a job over the years so I don’t have enough work credits. Should I and would I possibly qualify for any benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melissa,

      The answer to your question is a question: Do your conditions make you unable to work and earn $1,090 gross per month? If yes, you should file a claim.

      If you file an application, be sure to list all your conditions and all your medical providers. Let each of your doctors know that you are being treated for all the other conditions that that doctor does not treat you for and that you are applying for disability based on all the conditions and their combined effect on you, which keeps you from working. Also, be sure to list the reason for leaving each job. If it was due to your illnesses, be specific as to why you couldn’t continue. If you can, get statements from past employers, if any, who observed you having physical or mental health problems on the job.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Melissa Clemons

    Hi Kay, Reading from alot of the comments it’s not looking good that I would qualify for SSD or SSI. It is very disappointing because I have just started filling out the app online for SSD. I have not completed it yet because I see I may be doing it for nothing and get denied or I might need to fill out for SSI. Here is my story. I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 15 and it was a 35 degree curve then. They said I had to live with it. They didn’t want to do surgery then because it wasn’t bad enough but still a significant amount of curve. I worked from 16/17 till 22 years old. I am 47 now and haven’t worked in all these years cause I couldn’t with the back pain that I have. Even when I did then the pain would be so severe then I would be crying in the manager office. My family has always wanted me to try and get disability but I have put it off because I didn’t think I would get it. Now that I am 47 and need to do something for myself and try to take care of me I don’t know which to apply for. I am married. My husband had a heart attack in February and is not working and our income is next to nothing but some family is helping at the moment. My scoliosis has gotten worse and has went from a 35 degree curve to 48 degree curve. There is no way I can work a job with the pain. Still they don’t want to do surgery and I don’t want them to unless last resort. There is also about 6 or 7 other things wrong with my back that makes the pain be all over my back in different areas all the time. My husband has not went back to work from his heart issues yet and not sure if he will be able to. Even when if he does they will only give him 10 hours a week cause I think they are scared to work him. Do you think I should apply for the SSI instead of SSD cause I probably don’t have enough work credits. We own a home that is not quite paid off yet but don’t own a vehicle. What assets do they include for the requirements of SSI? I just don’t know if I qualify. Also we may apply for SSD for my husband because of his heart issues been in the hospital 20 times since February. He may not be able to return to work. How fast could he get approved with having the heart issues we really need some kind of income help. And from what I hear it might take two or three years just for me to get SSI or whatever I qualify for if anything. Thanks in advance for your help. Don’t know what to do.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melissa,

      Based on the minimal financial information you have provided, I suggest that you complete your application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The home you live in does not count toward the resource limit. Liquid assets and some life insurance policies in excess of $1,500 count. Also, the help from your family will count as income if they are giving you cash or are paying your mortgage, shelter utilities, or food directly. If they pay for other things directly, it is not income. If you are financially ineligible, you will find out quickly.

      I also recommend that your husband apply for Social Security and SSI right away. Some people are approved on initial application, but it typically takes two to five months to process the claim and, by then, he will have been off work close to a year. If you and/or he is denied, I suggest appealing with the help of an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before sending your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kristen

    Hello Kay, my name is Kristen. I’m 31 but have been unable to work due to my health for the past 8 years. I worked from age 14-23. I filed for disability in 2006 but was denied, sadly I did not appeal it.

    I have uncontrolled SVT, A-Fib, Psuedotumor Cerebri, Interstitial Cystitis, Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Auto Immune Disease, Sjögren’s – Secondary Raynauds Syndrome, high blood pressure and severe anxiety due to my heart conditions. I’ve had unsuccessful heart surgery and 3 bladder surgeries.

    However I just re-applied for disability 2 weeks ago. I was just released from the hospital yesterday after finding out I have non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Do you think I have a chance? Do you have any advice you’d be willing to give me? Thank you in advance for your time and help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kristen,

      There is a possibility that you will be approved. My advice is to ask the Social Security Administration for the last date you were insured for Social Social Security Disability (SSD) and claim a date of disability onset before that date so that if you are approved, you have a chance to be approved for SSD in addition to Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It may be difficult to prove that you were disabled that long ago, but if you can provide a list of all your conditions, when they started, all the places you were treated, and pharmacy printouts from your pharmacies, you might be able to. Include whether you responded to the treatments or note and any medication side effects. (Note that the date claimed has to be after the date you originally claimed and were denied.) My second advice is that if you are denied, you request a copy of your claim file and hire an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before sending your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kristen

        Kay, thank you so very much for your advice and help. I appreciate it more than you know.

        Sincerely,
        Kristen

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Kristen.

  • Jesus Vasquez

    Hi I am 24 I currently suffer from Migraines, Scoliosis, Fibromyagai, Depression, ADHD, and a mild case of PTSD. I have 16 years of medical records from multiple doctors, allergist, Neurologist, therapist and psychiatrist. I have no work history or very very little that won’t count as nothing. I’ve tried to work but it was too much to handle. I wanted to know if I would be able to receive ssi or ssdi?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jesus,

      If you meet the disability standards, you are more likely to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) than Social Security Disability (SSDI). However, at your age, you need only about six quarters of coverage, so it is possible that you might have enough work for a small SSDI benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Justin

    Hello I’m 21 was 18 when I was in a car accident in 2012 and had a very bad broken arm I have a 10 inch steel plate in my arm I’m not able to do much my arm and shoulder hurts every day how could I be able to get some kind of benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Justin,

      At your age with a localized medical problem, you may not be eligible for benefits; however, you can certainly apply and get a formal decision from the Social Security Administration. Whether or not you apply, I suggest that you contact your state’s employment office and/or vocational rehabilitation office and/or a local community college’s career counseling department to see whether they can identify occupations that you can perform that does not require substantial use of your arm. I would also suggest that you ask your doctor for pain management ideas.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Peggy white

    Women late 50’s sick all married life.with crones in and out of hospital all my life not ables to work. Husband works to carry insurance now he is dealing with cancer at 63 yrs old .he needs to retire to care for himself has just had cancer surgery getting ready fo 6 months of chemo. Not sure what’s to come. Is there any chance of medical cover so he can take care of himself while caring for me. Insurance is just about impossible for us to afford….getting harder for him to work a 40 hr job. Is there any help for us?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Peggy,

      I suggest that you and your husband research the insurance options available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is also known as Obamacare to determine the choices available and the approximate cost based on your husband’s projected retirement income and the amount of federal premium subsidy, if any, you are eligible for. You and he have sixty days to enroll in insurance through the ACA after you current insurance terminates do to employment ending. If you do not apply withing those sixty days, you will have to wait until the open enrollment period in the last quarter of the year and insurance will not be effective until January.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Peggie

    Late 50’s sick most of life with crones in and out of hospital all my life.married 40 yrs. husband has worked to support us know he is dealing with cancer will be 63 this month and would like to retire due to his health. Our problem is he carries the insurance for me we can’t afford the cost to cover me do to health problems. Is there any benefits available for us so he could retire and take care of both of us. What we need is some sort of insurance coverage for us so he doesn’t have to carry the heavy load for both of us.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Peggie,

      I suggest that you look into insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare,to find out what insurance choices are available and what the cost would be based on your husband’s projected retirement income. If he loses the family’s health insurance when he retires, you and he have sixty days to apply for insurance through the ACA. If application isn’t made within sixty days, then you have to wait for the annual open enrollment period in the last quarter of the year with insurance beginning in January.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Andrew

    I’m 28 years old.I believe I have social anxiety. It’s effected me my whole life. I’ve never had a job, I hardly leave the house, the few times I do it’s with family and usually i wait in the car. I feel like a prisoner in this house sometimes, but to afraid to leave. Even the thought of trying to get disability starts making me anxious of having to talk to a stranger about it, I just don’t know what to do, my family can’t take care of me forever. I don’t know what I’d do if I ever lost them.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Andrew,

      First you need to get a medical/psychiatric evaluation of your condition so that you have some medical records to support a disability claim. Also, perhaps there is some medical treatment that would ease your symptoms.

      If you decide to file a claim, you can then authorize a relative to be your representative and file your claim for you and respond to Social Security’s requests for information. It is true that you may be asked to go to an examination with a consulting physician; however, you may be able to arrange a relative to silently attend with you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Janna

    Hi, my name is Janna. I am 40 years old and I have Ptsd, generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety. I have processed a claim through social security and was denied. Also I am married and my husband makes to much to qualify for me to get SSI. And I don’t have enough work credits. I talked to two lawyers and they both said no on helping me. Is there anything I can do to get benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Janna,

      There is really nothing you can do. Based on the information you have provided, you are not eligible for either Social Security disability or Supplemental Security income disability benefits–the former because of insufficient insured work and the latter for excess family income.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Steve

    Hello. My wife at age 37 had a massive stroke and was in the hospital for 4 1/2 months. She left the hospital as a hemiplegic which basically means her entire left side is paralyzed. She also has mental impairment as well. All of this means she is disabled and will most likely never work again. She only worked 2 of the past 8 years as she was a stay-at-home mom for our three children; ages 12, 9 and 6. Therefore she does not have enough work credits to qualify on her own record. My question is since we have been married for 15 years is she allowed to claim my work credits as her own thus qualifying for disability? Also, in this scenario would our three dependent children qualify for benefits as well?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Steve,

      Your wife cannot use your work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. For your family to receive benefits from your account, you must be either receiving Social Security yourself or be deceased

      If she has not already applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, you might file an application for her to get a determination from the Social Security Administration as to whether she is financially eligible for SSI. You can learn more about SSI by reviewing the articles under the SSI tab at the top of every page on this website.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • To make a very long.story short , i was denied disability because they told me I didn’t have enough work credits. My question is this; can I get disability on my ex husbands social security? I was married twice, the first marriage was ten years, (he is now deceased), and my last marriage was almost 16 years. I am 58 years old. Thank You for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nancy,

      I believe that because you are currently unmarried, your second marriage may not affect eligibility from your first husband; however, too much time may have passed for you to be able to claim disabled widow’s benefits from his account. Laws related to widow’s benefits are complex; therefore, I recommend that you talk with a Social Security claim representative (not a service representative).

      You can apply for divorced spouse’s benefits on your second husband’s record when both you and he are at least age sixty-two. If he dies, you can apply for surviving divorced spouse’s benefits based on disability or at age sixty based on age. Note that if you have limited income and assets, you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, which are also administered by the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • liz

    I guess I’m just wondering why if a married person is found to be disabled that they can get SSI. It is really hard these days to be unable to work because your disabled and not qualify because your spouse works. In this age you need both parents to work in order to live comfortable. I just don’t know why someone doesn’t or hasnt fought for the rights of the disabled party to be able to help with the income. If we could work we would. If you have to jump through all these hoops to prove you are disabled and it’s proven you are you should still be able to get income to help provide for your family. There are people who choose to stay home and not work but then there are those like me who really would love to work and help my spouse and give my kids better. I know that if I got divorced from my husband I would qualify but that shouldn’t have to happen in order to qualify. I really wish they would change the system. I mean they give people who are capable of working just choose not to, or use the system to get free food and medical. They could split money or change how they give it to some people out there. I’m disabled and it gets worse all the time for me because I can’t help provide for my family. It makes my depression even worse. Someone please help

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Liz,

      Workers who have worked a sufficient period of time and paid Social Security taxes and become disabled can receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) to replace some of their lost work income. This Social Security benefit is earned and payable whether or not the person is married to someone who is working. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program is a public assistance (welfare) program that pays very minimal benefits to provide for subsistence (housing and food); in most cases the maximum SSI benefit is insufficient to provide for “comfortable” living. Because the SSI program’s goal is to provide the most basic support, for eligibility there are limits on family income based on the number of parents and minor children in the household.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Allyson

    I applied for SSD in 2012 and secured an attorney. I am under psychiatric care (on several meds), have neuropathy in my right (writing) arm, hep C, emphysema, pulmonary hypertension, a heart murmur and sarcoidosis–I may have forgotten something… Anyway, I am a 53-year-old female with a kind of spotty work history due to the fact that when I was younger and didn’t know better, a couple of employers didn’t reprt–but I digress… I am getting work history for you right now–it will follow.
    I have been treated under charity care since 2009 and last job ended in 2011. Records were sent to SSA. For some reason, the AJ, after the hearing, 4 months later, made a ”partially favorable” decision–he didn’t deem me disabled until the very same day I first started to see doctors under the ACA (May 2014), totally discounting the clinic doctors I saw undercharity care. I think this iis very suspect. Am I wrong??
    In addition, I had no income for more than half of 2011 and none since.
    I have 20 years of employment, albeit with 4 years under $1000, 5 between
    $1738 and $6659 and the rest between over $13,500 and $25,500. Why is my benefit amount less than $50 more than SSI?? And why, if I am deemed disabled as of May 2014 am I only going to receive monthly benefits in April, 2015?
    I know this is a lot to digest–I hope you can reply. Thank you and God bless…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Allyson,

      You have the right to appeal the partially favorable decision to claim an earlier date. Before doing so, check with your attorney about how viable he or she thinks such an appeal would be and also about the risk of being denied entirely if an appeals review resulted in a different evaluation of your condition since May 2014.

      Your relatively low Social Security benefit is based on your work history, which you describe as including several quite low earnings years. Back pay is usually paid after monthly benefits start. The back pay will begin to accrue in the sixth full calendar month of established disability, November 2014. (If the judge determined May 1 as your disability date, benefits would be paid for October 2014 also.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Allyson

        Thanks for the reply. It’s actually May 16…

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Allyson.

  • Liz

    Hi there,
    I have a SSI hearing coming up very soon & I am right now seeking a lawyer at the moment……However, I have never had a job before in my life & I suffer from severe bipolar disorder,major depressive disorder, severe panic attacks/anxiety & I am on treatment seeing a doctor getting medical evidence, I cannot be around people or out in public because I have a phobia of getting stared at & harassed, I am a recluse because of it & have been for years, I don’t take care of my personal hygene & I don’t do any housework such as cleaning & cookin g….. I wanted to ask for example: if someone whom has never worked & is suffering from what I am & is seeing a doctor, having medication upped & complying with it every single day…..What chance do they have at winning their hearing with an approval?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Liz,

      It is possible you could be approved for benefits. It is good that you are getting a lawyer to help you present your case at the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Harmony

    I am 19 years old, 20 in May. I’ve been in and out of hospitals since I was fourteen and have bipolar, social anxiety, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, and I am starting to develop agoraphobia. I’ve worked for the past year on and off, but was unable to hold a job. I don’t think I have enough work credits but I really need disability. I can hardly go outside without breaking down and so far no medications have helped at all. What should I do? Are there any options for me?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Harmony,

      You might apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, which is administered by the Social Security Administration. SSI has income and resource limits for eligibility, but no work-credit requirement for citizens and some legal aliens. You can start an application by calling 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment to file the claim. You can read a series of articles under the SSI tab at the top of the page and a series of articles about how to file the medical portion of your disability application under “Apply SSD” tab.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • JoAnna

      Harmony, are either of your parents receiving Social Security benefits? You may be able to qualify for adult child SSDI under their incomes if they do. Otherwise, SSI could be for you depending on your household income level. I’m sure Kay can clarify that further..

  • Patricia

    My son is 19 and was diagnosed with Schiozeffective disorder. He has been in and out of mental hospitals 14 times in almost two years. He is on 7 medications. He does have hallucinations along with paranoia. We Applied for SSDI last year and was denied. We hired a lawyer for him and she couldn’t make the hearing due to another commitment. She wanted to take a delay and I said no and we went to the hearing. I had all his medical paperwork along with doctors letters stating he needs to be in a long term facility. The Judge asked the basic questions about medication and hospitals stays. Read the Doctors letter’s and asked the Vocational rep. if he was employable The Voc Rep said no and the case was over. The Judge didn’t approve or deny, but said we would here something in about 60 days. My question is Should we just wait 60 days or hire another lawyer? I believe the hearing went well, but this was my first so it is hard to say. My son does need to go into a long term facility and the SSDI benefits would help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patricia,

      As the saying goes, you’ve had your day in court. There is no point in hiring another attorney now; you will just have to wait for the decision. If your son is denied, you could consider hiring an attorney to help in deciding whether to appeal again. As an aside, given that your son’s attorney declined to attend his hearing, you may want to notify Social Security that you do not think the attorney should receive the full fee that would otherwise be payable, that is, that they should discount the fee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Patricia

        Well it turned out good. He got a favorable decision in the mail 2 days after his hearing and we went to SSI on this past Wednesday to do the benefit paperwork. I did contact SSI before the hearing and explained about the lawyer. She will not be getting paid and she mailed me a letter stating this also.
        I did a lot of work and research and it was a very interestingand time consuming process. I do recommend a lawyer because it was nerve wrecking. If it wasn’t for sites like your I couldn’t have done it. Thank you!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Patricia. I am glad that you found the Disability Advisor website articles helpful.

  • Anne

    I Was diagnosed with MS in January but have had symptoms for a while. My feet hurt to stand and walk all the time, 20 days of vertigo, pain, blader problems, and now possible trouble with my eyes. I have worked, not enough SS credits yet though. My mom and I own our house jointly and a car. She collects a pension and SS – enough for bills, but not a lot. She is supporting me now. I’m trying to find an at home job, or something, but cant so far. I also need health insurance and for that need a job making at least $14,000.
    Without enough SS credits, am I eligible for ANY help?? What could I do for insurance besides Medicaid?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anne,

      I suggest that you apply for both Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to get formal determinations of eligibility. If you worked in 2013 or 2014, you should take your 2013 W-2 and/or 2014 pay stubs with you. If you are young, you may not need as much work as you think.

      You do not say how old you are, but I am assuming that you are age eighteen or older. My comments are based on that assumption. If you are eighteen or over and you live in the house you co-own and use the car you co-own for transportation, those assets would not keep you from getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability. If your assets are low enough and you meet the disability requirements, your income determines how much SSI you get. If your mother is covering all the mortgage and utility expenses, then the amount of SSI you can receive will be reduced for the in-kind (non-cash) support that you are getting in the form of free housing and/or food. If she gives you cash regularly or in substantial amounts, that will count as income. If you are approved and later you start to pay your share of housing costs or part of the costs, your SSI might go up.

      With regard to medical insurance, there are options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)(Obamacare), but the deadline for coverage this year was March 31. There will be another open enrollment period in late 2014, at which time you can enroll for the following year. Under the ACA, you may qualify for Medicaid or for a government subsidy to help pay premiums for one of the private insurance policy available through the exchange.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • kikis

    I am 26yrs old. Sadly I have been diagnosed with chronic sciatic nerve damage. I can barely walk. Been in bed for almost 1 month. I’ve only worked about 2 years with my social and 2 more paid cash. My present job is office work, I shot all day, can’t work anymore until I get better. Meanwhile I need the money, is it possible I can get some type of help having almost no work credits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kikis,

      You must be disabled for twelve months or be expected to be disabled for twelve months to be approved for either of two federal disability programs, Social Security (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It sounds as if you do not have the work credits for Social Security Disability. SSI does not require work credits, but your income and assets must fall below the SSI limit. I suggest that you talk with your physician to discuss whether he or she expects you to be disabled for twelve months.

      Depending on the state you live in, there may be temporary disability assistance from your state or county for a shorter disability or for assistance while a federal claim is pending. You might also inquire about food stamps.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Terri

    My mother has ssi, she is 82. I have moved her in to live with me, and I am her payee. Are we allowed to use part of her funds for rent and food expenses?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Terri,

      Whether your mother is receiving Social Security Retirement or Widows benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it is appropriate to use part of her benefits to pay her shelter and food costs.

      If she is receiving SSI (not Social Security), you need to report the change in her living arrangements right away so that her ongoing payment amount can be determined. Your mother’s SSI will be reduced if either of the following applies:

      1. She does not either pay you a flat room and board fee that is market value; or
      2. She does not pay her prorata share of rent and utilities (1/2 if two are in the household; 1/3 if three people, etc.) and one half the food.

      Note: If she eats separately from you, she could perhaps receive food stamps and then pay only her share of shelter costs or only for room rental.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

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