Ortega Disability Group

Can I Get Social Security Disability if I Never Worked?

A Social Security Disability claim form being filled out.

Can you get Social Security Disability if you never worked? Yes, you can get disability benefits if you’ve never worked, however, there are some restrictions. Individuals who haven’t worked, and therefore haven’t earned any Social Security work credits, are not eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, disabled individuals without a work history may still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

How Can You Get Disability if You Have Never Worked Through SSI?

You may be eligible to receive disability benefits even if you’ve never worked through the federally funded SSI program. Social Security Disability Insurance is only awarded to disabled individuals who have put money into the Social Security System by working over a period of time. However, SSI is a needs-based program, which means it is strictly awarded to individuals who are not eligible for SSDI and have extremely limited income and resources.

Unlike SSDI, which is funded by payroll taxes, SSI is funded by the United States Treasury and the general tax funds it accumulates.

Applying for SSI Benefits – Restrictions

Individuals must be unable to earn a living wage due to their disability, and fall under specific financial limitations that are determined annually in order to qualify for SSI. Applicants must also meet one of the three criteria listed below.

  • Blind
  • Disabled
  • Age 65 or older (applicants in this age range do not need to be considered disabled to qualify for SSI benefits)

To qualify for SSI, individuals must be unable to take part in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) and have extremely limited resources. SSI is awarded to individuals who need money to afford basic necessities, such as clothing, food, and shelter.

When applying for SSI, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will assess your current financial status and resources, including present income, any property you own, and other assets.

Receiving Survivors Benefits if You Have Never Worked

The SSA pays survivors benefits to family members of deceased workers, including spouses, children, and parents. These benefits will only be awarded if the deceased individual contributed to the Social Security System long enough to be eligible to receive benefits prior to their death.

Ortega Disability Group

An experienced disability lawyer in Oakland from Ortega Disability Group can help determine if you’re eligible for SSI benefits or survivors benefits. To schedule a free consultation and speak with one of our qualified attorneys, contact us today.

350 10th Avenue
Suite #1000
San Diego, CA 92101

Monday – Friday: 9am – 5:00pm

1100 Town and Country Rd
Suite 1228
Orange, CA 92868

Monday – Friday: 9am – 5:30pm

505 14th Street
Suite 900
Oakland, CA 94612

Monday – Friday: 9am – 5:00pm


All Mail: 30042 Mission Blvd #121-239 Hayward, CA 94544

Questions? Write to Us!