When is the Best Time to File a Claim?
Social Security has minimum requirements that you must meet before you can file a claim.
- You must have stopped working entirely, or be working and earning less than $1090 per month in order to file a claim
- You must have worked and paid in to social security for “20 out of the last 40 quarters” or five of the last ten years prior to becoming disabled. If you are unsure whether you have enough quarters, the best way to find out is to create an account at ssa.gov and obtain your “Social Security Statement” which will also give you a good idea of the estimated amount of your disability benefit. Most people who have always worked in the private sector have plenty of quarters to meet this requirement.
- You must have a disability or combination of disabilities that prevent all work if you are under 50 years old.
- Special rules make it easier to qualify once you turn 50 and again when you turn 55 and 60.
- Social Security requires medical evidence of your conditions that prevent work. If you are still working, consider having any necessary tests or referrals taken care of to document your condition while you still have health insurance.
- If you are currently on short or long term disability through a private insurer, usually a benefit through your employer, you should absolutely file a social security disability claim. Social security disability qualifies you for Medicare and protects the value of your future retirement benefit.
- If you are a widow or widower, and do not have sufficient quarters to qualify for disability, you may qualify on a late spouse’s earnings record if you become disabled within sever years of your spouse’s death.
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