If you are disabled and can no longer work, you may receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. While some Social Security programs require individuals to have limited resources, you can typically qualify for SSDI payments regardless of the amount of money in your bank account or the other assets you own.
To qualify for SSDI, you must have earned a sufficient amount of work credits. If you work at a job covered under the program, you typically earn four credits each year.
Individuals under age 24 can qualify for SSDI with six credits. Individuals between age 24 and age 31 need credits equal to one-half the time from their 21st birthday to the date they became disabled. Individuals between age 31 and age 42 need at least 20 credits, and individuals between age 42 and age 62 need an additional credit for each year of their age that exceeds 42. Individuals 62 or older need 40 credits to qualify.
You must also prove that you are disabled, unable to perform the work you did before your disability and currently unable to do any other job. SSDI won't consider you completely disabled unless doctors believe that your condition will last for at least one year or end in your death.
Important Income Limits
If you earn more than $1,310 from employment, SSDI won't consider your application. However, there is no limit on the amount of unearned income you can receive each month, nor is there a limit on how much money you can have in your bank account. The amount of benefits you receive from SSDI is based on your work history and won't change regardless of your unearned income and resources.
Supplemental Security Income
Some individuals receiving SSDI may also receive Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, which is a benefit awarded to individuals with limited means who are blind, disabled or over age 65. Disabled individuals who don't qualify for SSDI because of insufficient work credits may still receive SSI. Unlike SSDI, SSI does have income and resource limits.
In most cases, you can't receive SSI if your available resources, including the money in your bank account, exceed $2,000. If you are married, your available resources can't exceed $3,000. Your income must also fall within certain limits, but these limits differ by state.
It is important to note that SSDI has a maximum monthly benefit amount of $3,148, while SSI's maximum monthly benefit amount is just $794 per individual, or $1,191 for a qualifying person with an eligible spouse.
Additional Considerations Toward Qualification
If you are married and you apply for SSI, Social Security may also include your spouse's income and resources when determining if you qualify for benefits. However, certain types of income and resources, such as your home or income you receive from other public assistance programs, don't count toward your limit. Though resources and unearned income won't affect your ability to qualify for SSDI, earned income that exceeds $1,310 may affect your benefits because it indicates that you can return to work.