Ask Larry

What Are The Requirements To Be Insured For SS Disability Benefits?

When I log into my SS account it states I’m not eligible for SS disability benefits. What are the requirements to be eligible? I’ve paid the required 40 quarters for SS when I retire. I now work for the state of CA, and my employer doesn’t offer SS payment/contributions. Would I need to pick up a small part time job to keep contributing?

Hi. If you have at least 40 quarters of coverage (QC) then you're fully insured for Social Security retirement benefits. However, there is an additional insured status requirement for Social Security disability benefits. To be insured for SSDI benefits after reaching age 31, you must have earned at least 20 QCs within the 40 calendar quarter period that ends with when you became disabled. In other words, you must have worked and paid into Social Security for an equivalent of 5 years of the 10 year period leading up to when your disability began. Fewer QCs are required for people who become disabled before age 31 (

Therefore, if you've been working in non-Social Security covered employment for more than 5 years and haven't had Social Security covered earnings during that time, then you'd likely be uninsured for SSDI. Working a small part time job wouldn't make you insured for SSDI unless you earn enough QCs to meet the requirement.

Best, Jerry

Apr 5 2022 - 6:21pm
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