Are You Insured?

To figure out if you are insured by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Social Security does two tests that look at your work history. If you pass both tests, you are insured. If you do not pass either one of these tests, it does not matter if you have a disability, because you are not covered by this insurance program.

If you are insured and Social Security also says you have a disability, you may qualify for SSDI benefits.

Note: If you are an adult and you have a disability that began before you turned 22, you may be able to get a Social Security benefit called Disabled Adult Child (DAC). You do not need to have worked to qualify for DAC. To qualify for DAC, one of your parents must:

For DAC, you must be 18 years old or older and you must have a disability. Social Security does the same disability determination for DAC that it does for SSDI. As with SSDI, Medicare health coverage begins two years after you start getting DAC benefits.

Learn more about DAC.

SSI, Medicaid, and DAC

If you used to get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but your SSI benefits stopped because you started getting DAC benefits, you can keep getting Medicaid coverage through a special rule documented in the state's Bridges Eligibility Manual. If you are in this situation and you lose your Medicaid coverage, there may have been a mistake and you should talk to a Benefits Planner.

Work History Test One: Have You Worked Recently?

This is also called the Recent Work Test. You need to have worked enough recently and paid Social Security taxes to pass this test. Here’s how it works:

Test One: Have You Worked Recently?

Age your disability began

You generally must have worked:

Before Age 24

1.5 years during the last 3 years.

Age 24-30

Half of the time since you turned 21.
Example: At age 27, you must have worked 3 years out of the 6 years since you turned 21.

Age 31 or older

5 years during the last 10 years

If you don’t pass the Recent Work Test, you are not insured and do not qualify for SSDI benefits.

Work credits

Social Security doesn’t actually count the number of years you work. Instead, they count the number of work credits you have. They give you up to four work credits per year based on the Social Security taxes you’ve paid. (Social Security taxes are usually automatically deducted from paychecks, unless you are self-employed.) So, if you are 31 or older, you need to have earned 20 work credits (worked five years) in the last 10 years. The tables here are simplified to just show how many years you generally must have worked.

Work History Test Two: How Long Have You Worked?

This test is also called the Duration of Work Test. You need to have worked and paid Social Security taxes a certain number of years during your entire lifetime to pass this test. Here’s how it works:

Test Two: How Long Have You Worked?

Age your
disability began

In your lifetime,
you generally must have worked at least:

Before Age 43

Same as recent work test (1.5 – 5 years,
depending on your age)

Age 44

5.5 years

Age 46

6 years

Age 48

6.5 years

Age 50

7 years

Age 52

7.5 years

Age 54

8 years

Age 56

8.5 years

Age 58

9 years

Age 60

9.5 years

Note: If you have worked in another country, Social Security may count those years of work. Read more about “totalization” benefits.

If you don’t pass the Duration of Work Test, you are not insured and do not qualify for SSDI.

If you pass both work tests and have a disability, you may qualify for SSDI benefits.

Check the Social Security website to see if you are insured

You can check your Social Security earnings and benefits information online. Your online statements can tell you if you qualify for SSDI if you become disabled and how much you might get in benefits. You can also make sure your earnings have been correctly recorded in your Social Security records.