Individuals seeking to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance benefits must prove that an injury or illness prevents them from working. An applicant may not qualify for benefits if he or she cannot prove that a condition resulted in an inability to perform normal job tasks. 

Employees contribute to the SSDI fund through the taxes taken out of their regular paychecks. Each year, an employee may earn four credits toward the 40 credits needed to qualify for SSDI benefits. 

Prior to applying, an individual must have earned at least 20 work credits during the 10 years prior to incurring his or her disability. An applicant under the age of 24, however, may qualify with only six credits earned in the three years before experiencing a disabling medical condition. 

Earning work credits for SSDI eligibility 

The maximum amount of an SSDI benefit provided each month is $1,383. The actual amount an individual qualifies for generally depends on his or her age and the number of years worked. As noted by U.S. News & World Report, an individual’s earned income determines the SSDI benefit amount. 

For every $1,410 of income earned through covered wages, an individual may earn one credit. The maximum amount of credits that an employee could earn each year is $5,640. Earning over 40 work credits, however, does not increase the amount of benefits or an individual’s eligibility to receive them. 

Proving a debilitating medical condition  

After submitting an application, an individual typically requires a medical evaluation. Proving that a condition prevents an employee from carrying out meaningful tasks may involve several visits to a physician. According to the AARP, conditions that result in death, such as cancer, may qualify for quicker application processing.