A common misconception about the Social Security Disability program, particularly benefits offered through SSDI program as opposed to SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is that it is a “welfare” system for those who, on a flimsy excuse, choose not to continue working. Aside from the fact that most Florida residents who apply for disability benefits have medically documented conditions that are, to some extent, preventing them from working, the reality is that the SSDI program is available only to people who actually have some work history.
Specifically, a person who wants to get benefits through the SSDI program has to earn 40 work credits in all, with 20 credits earned in the most recent 10 years before the person’s disability. At least in 2018, a work credit is equal to $1,320 in income earned through either a job or a person’s own business. The maximum work credits for a given year is four.
Effectively, a person has to have worked five of the last 10 years and, unless they are just getting started in the workforce, 10 years of work history over their careers. In other words, in order to get SSDI benefits, a person has to put something into the system before pulling something out of the system.
It is not correct to lump the whole Social Security system as one in which people draw out funds without putting money in. Kissimmee residents who have a work history should have no hesitation about applying for disability benefits if they need them and qualify for them. However, they should consider doing so with the help of an experienced Social Security attorney.