Anyone who is unable to obtain and perform any kind of significant and gainful work due to a physical or mental disability or a combination of impairments can be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) payments if the impairment has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year or is expected to result in death. Learn what the Social Security Administration considers when determining if a person is disabled.

You must have worked and paid Social Security tax for about five out of the ten years immediately preceding the onset of your disability. Different rules apply to people under 30 years old. If you aren’t covered for SSD benefits because you haven’t worked enough, you may still be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

You must show that you can’t do any kind of full-time work taking into consideration your age, education and work experience. If you are under 50, this means you can’t do any work of any kind. At 50 and older, Social Security gives greater consideration to the type of work you’ve done in the past and how much education you have. You cannot get benefits if you are able to work regularly on a sustained basis, even if no one will hire you.