Can Younger People Get Disability Benefits?

It can be difficult, but yes, younger people can get disability benefits. No matter what age you are, you can qualify for Social Security disability if you can prove that you meet Social Security’s criteria for disability.

It can seem more difficult to get benefits when you are younger because there are some special rules that make it easier for applicants to get benefits if they are over 50.

As a younger person, there are several ways that you can qualify for benefits.

  • On your own earnings record,
  • On the earnings record of a disabled or deceased parent, or
  • If you haven’t worked enough, you can qualify for SSI.
On your own earnings record:  To qualify for SSDI benefits on your own earnings record, you must have enough quarters of earnings. When you work, you earn 4 quarters per year. For most people to qualify, this means you must have worked approximately five out of the last ten years.

But if you are under 31, some special rules apply to your “insured” requirements. You do not have to have as many quarters of coverage as someone who is over 31 years old.

On the earnings record of a parent:  If your parent was insured for SSDI when they became disabled or died, you may qualify for benefits on their earnings record. If you are over the age of 18, you may qualify for benefits if you are a full-time high school student, or you may qualify as a Disabled Adult Child. To qualify under this program, you must have been disabled by age 22, and your parent must have been disabled or deceased when you became disabled.
If you haven’t worked enough:  If haven’t worked enough to become insured yourself, or don’t qualify under your parent’s earnings record, you can still qualify for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. You do have to meet income and asset requirements to qualify for this program.

-No matter which program you apply for (SSDI or SSI) you still have to meet the same disability requirements to get benefits.


This blog is a public resource for general information. This blog and the materials provided in it have been prepared by Spencer Law Firm for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. No client or other reader should rely on, act on or refrain from acting based on information contained in this website without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.