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DisabilityCan I Get Social Security Disability if I’ve Never Worked?

October 29, 2020

We tend to think of Social Security benefits as going hand-in-hand with employment. Typically, the benefits that people receive through Social Security accrue over time, when employees pay into the government program through the money earned during their working lifetime. This blog takes a look at disability benefits and your employment history’s role in qualifying for them. 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are reserved for those individuals who have paid into Social Security but have become disabled before reaching the requisite age to collect retirement benefits.

It would stand to reason that people who have never worked (and have therefore never paid in) would be ineligible for Social Security benefits of either the retirement or disability classifications. However, that’s not necessarily the case. There are a number of circumstances in which someone who has not paid into the Social Security program can still obtain benefits.

Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

If you have never worked or have never earned enough to qualify for Social Security benefits, there are a number of circumstances that can make it possible for you to collect those benefits, regardless. 

SSDI Spousal and Family Benefits – For instance, you may still be eligible for some level of SSDI compensation if you are the spouse or former spouse of a beneficiary.

Additionally, the children of beneficiaries (particularly those under the age of 22) may be eligible for a percentage of the primary beneficiary’s SSDI. If your spouse or divorced spouse already draws SSDI, there is a chance that you are eligible for “up to 50 percent” of your spouse’s compensation.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits – Alternatively, if you are disabled but not the dependent or spouse of someone who is eligible for SSDI benefits, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is separate from Social Security and financed by general funds of the U.S. Treasury. Under this program, individuals may be eligible if they are found to be disabled, regardless of their employment history.

There are certain financial constraints on eligibility for SSI benefits. For example, in order for a single individual to be eligible for SSI, they must have no more than $2,000 dollars in total resources (excluding their home and a single vehicle). For couples, they must have no more than $3,000 in total resources.

The fact that Social Security benefits in general are sometimes conflated with direct Social Security retirement or disability benefits, this misunderstanding arises. There are additional options and other programs through the Social Security Administration that provide benefits to eligible individuals who have never worked. 

Disability Lawyer Omaha 

While the average acceptance of initial claims for disability in Nebraska is higher than the national average (at 41%), the majority of claims that are ultimately approved still require the lengthy and complex process of applying for reconsideration or even seeking hearings.

If you live in the Omaha area, have never worked, and believe that you may be eligible for SSDI spousal benefits or SSI, acquiring legal assistance will be incredibly advantageous. Contacting a social security disability lawyer in Omaha will help you successfully explore all your options for obtaining Social Security benefits.

 About Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O. 

Watson & Carroll, P.C., L.L.O., is not a high-volume law firm that only speaks with clients when it is absolutely necessary. For us, it’s personal. Our team works closely with our clients and their loved ones – not only so that we understand their challenges and concerns, but so we can tailor our approach to address those factors, aggressively pursue results, and secure peace of mind. Whether it is a workers’ compensation case, a personal injury claim, a medical malpractice case, or advocating for disability benefits, we work to protect our clients and make sure their rights are upheld.  

Our firm can help. Call 402-234-8787. Get your free ebook today. Fill out our confidential intake form to share your story.

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