Monday, November 14, 2005

SSDI Financial Eligibility "Test"

You believe that you are disabled. You want to apply for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) yet you do not know if you "qualify", at least financially.

The Social Security Administration online website has developed a "test" called BEST (Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool) to assist you.

But first, let's look at the "Earnings Requirement" for SSDI.

The SSDI Earnings Requirement
Eligibility is based on being "insured" through your tax contributions to the Social Security trust fund. In 2005 you will receive one Social Security credit for each $920 you earned (up to the maximum of four credits per year). The number of credits required to be eligible for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled.

Before age 24, you must have earned six credits during a 3 year period (12 quarters).

Between ages 24-30, you must have earned credits for half of the calendar quarters in the period beginning after age 21 and the time you became disabled.

After age 31, you must have earned credits for work in 5 years (20 calendar quarters) during a 10 year (40-quarter period) ending in or after the quarter in which you became disabled.

What is BEST? Here is the link:

The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) is a tool that you can use to find out if you could be eligible for benefits from any of the programs Social Security administers. This tool will give you eligibility information based on answers you give to the questions on the following pages; however, BEST is not an application for benefits and:

1) will not give you an estimate of benefit amounts.

2) does not know, or ask for, your name or Social Security number.

3) does not access your personal Social Security records.

If you have Medicare and want to find out if you might be eligible for extra help with your prescription drug costs, go to

The following are the types of questions answered before you take the BEST test.

What benefits will BEST screen for?
How much time will it take to answer all the questions?
What types of questions will BEST ask?
Do I have to answer all of the questions?
What if I already get benefits from the Social Security Administration?
Who will see the answers I give?
What if I don't understand a question?
What if I am helping someone else?
What happens when I finish answering the questions?

Best of luck (pun intended!).


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