What kinds of Social Security disability benefits are there?
Learn about the requirements for eligibility for Social Security Disability, and about the three groups of people who may be qualify.
Three Groups of Disabled People May Qualify for Benefits
Three different groups of people may meet the requirements for eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.
Disability Benefits for Disabled Workers
The first type of benefit is paid to disabled workers who have enough work credits to be insured for Social Security Disability. Work credits are earned by working in jobs that are subject to Social Security taxes. The number of work credits required and when you have to earn the credits depends on your age when you become disabled. The older you are, the more credits you need. You can get more information about becoming insured for Social Security Disability by viewing our article How many Social Security-covered work credits do I need to get Social Security Disability Insurance?
Disability Benefits for Disabled Widows and Widowers and Disabled Surviving Divorced Spouses
The second type of disability benefit is for widows and widowers who become disabled within a certain time frame and who have not remarried prior to age fifty. To be eligible, your deceased spouse had to be insured under Social Security, and your disability has to have begun within seven years of the death of your spouse, or within seven years of your prior entitlement to certain Social Security benefits.
Disabled surviving divorced spouses who were married to an insured worker for more than ten years are eligible under the same rules as widows and widowers. It is interesting to note that a disabled widow or widower and a disabled surviving divorced spouse can receive benefits at the same time without affecting the amount of each other’s benefit.
Disability Benefits for Disabled Adult Children
The fourth and last group of people who may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits are disabled adult children of an insured worker who is deceased or who is receiving Social Security benefits. Disabled adult children must become disabled prior to age twenty-two and, with few exceptions, must be unmarried.
To determine your eligibility for Social Security Disability, contact the Social Security Administration or a Social Security attorney to file a disability claim. More information about filing a Social Security Disability application is available in our articles When Should I File My Social Security Disability Application? and How Do I File an Application for Social Security Disability Benefits? For information on how Social Security attorneys get paid, see our article How Do Social Security Disability Attorneys Get Paid for Representing You in Your Disability Claim?
Understanding Social Security Disability (SSD)—An Overview of the Basics
Social Security Disability Requirements: How to Qualify for SSD
Social Security Disability Insurance: A Complete Guide
What is disability according to Social Security Disability law?
Do I have to be permanently disabled to get Social Security Disability benefits?