Filing for Disability Without Strong Work History

social security without work history

Category: Disability Law , Social Security

social security without work historySocial Security retirement benefits are based on your work history and how much you’ve earned and contributed to the Social Security fund. The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps records of these numbers. In a way, it is very much like an IRA in that you pay into it your entire working life then reap the benefits after you retire.

Social Security Disability

Disability is different than Security Retirement. But your disability benefits can also be determined by how much you put into the system. There are two groups when it comes to disability:

  1. SSDI – Social Security Disability Insurance looks at your work history.
  2. SSI – Supplemental Security Income reviews your need of assistance regardless of income history.

If your case is Supplemental Security Income you will need to meet the medical requirements to qualify. Your condition can be found in the SSA’s Blue Book. This is a guide that lists specific criteria under which claimants who suffer from disability can qualify for benefits.

Work History and Your Application

To start receiving Social Security Disability you must meet two different earnings tests:

  1. Recent Work Test – You will need to have worked at least 50% of a specific period of time prior to when you became disabled.
  2. Duration Work Test – A total time worked requirement that ranges from 1.5 years worked by age 28 and to a maximum of 9.5 years worked by age 60.

For a complete and official chart of age and time worked check out the SSA’s Book on Disability Benefits.

Every year the SSA provides workers with a social security earnings report. If you have not received one for whatever reason you may find it online by visiting here. You can also call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visit your local Social Security Office.


Even with a significant work history some people are denied these benefits. You get a chance to appeal this decision. At this point it is advisable to hire an attorney to make sure everything is handled properly. After all, you contributed to this system and you deserve benefits from it.

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