Do I have to be hurt on the job to get Social Security disability?

No. Your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits is totally independent of whether you were hurt on the job. It is Texas workers’ compensation benefits—not Social Security disability benefits—that are related to whether or not you were hurt at work.

In order to be eligible for Social Security disability, your injury or illness must result in a permanent disability that is expected to last for 12 months or more or to result in death and leave you unable to work. In most cases, how you became injured or sick is irrelevant.

But What You’ve Paid Into the Social Security System Does Matter

It does not matter whether your injury or illness occurred on the job or because of your job duties, but what you’ve paid into the Social Security system is relevant to your eligibility. In order to be eligible for Social Security disability, you must have earned enough work credits to qualify for benefits. You can earn up to four work credits a year, but you may earn less depending on your income.

Currently, you will have earned enough work credits to qualify for Social Security disability if:

  • You are 23 years old or younger and you have earned at least six work credits in the past three years.
  • You are 24-31 years old and you have enough work credits to cover at least half the time between turning age 21 and the time you are applying for benefits.
  • You are between 31-61 years old and you have earned at least 20 work credits in the last decade.

Some exceptions and special rules, however, may apply. Thus, whether or not you were hurt on the job you should find out more about the Social Security disability rules and about how to protect your rights. Please start a live chat with us now to learn more.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law