SSDI And Your Recent Work Experience

Posted on: 5 November 2020

Workers who become disabled may be paid benefits using Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This form of government benefit is linked to your work history. That means how long you have worked and how much income you have earned is part of the evaluation to determine your benefits. Another issue along those same lines can catch some SSDI applicants by surprise. Read on to learn more about the recent work test and how your ability to get benefits can be affected by it.

Where SSDI Benefits Originate

It's helpful to understand where the money for SSDI comes from. In short, it comes from you. Each paycheck you earn has FICA deductions and part of that money goes to the pool that will either pay you retirement benefits or disability benefits, whatever is needed first. The way the Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates your benefit amount is complex, however. Most people can learn about their predicted benefit by accessing their Social Security account online. As of now (2020), most SSA offices remain closed, however.

Recent Work Test

The last day you worked also results in your date of last insurance (DLI). This date is used to not only calculate your back pay but also to determine how long it has been since you last held a job. The rules for the recent work test apply to those over the age of 31. Those less than age 31 have less-stringent rules. Also, the blind do not have to comply with recent work test requirements. For others, you must have worked at least five years out of the most recent 10-year period. You don't have to have worked constantly during that time but all of it added up must be at least five years.

An Exception to the Rule

If you haven't worked at least five of the last 10 years, you might still be approved for benefits if you can prove that you were suffering from a medical affliction before you stopped working. Some continue to work even when they are suffering from a condition. You would need to have medical proof of when you became diagnosed with a condition to use this exception. This is known as a protective filing date.

No matter what the reason is, if you are turned down for benefits you have the right to appeal the ruling. Speak to a disability lawyer to find out more.