To qualify for disability, a person must have worked a job that required them to pay into Social Security, and he must have a medical disability that has prevented him from working for at least a year. The medical condition must meet Social Security's definition of disability.
In addition to just paying into Social Security, a person must have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify. Work credits are based on a person's annual salary, and up to four credits can be earned per year. The amount of work credits necessary for qualification depends on the applicant's age at the time he became disabled. Usually, 40 credits are required, and 20 of them must have been acquired within 10 years prior to becoming disabled. Younger disabled workers qualify with fewer credits.
The person applying for disability must have a medical condition that meets the definition of disability set forth by the Social Security Administration. This definition is an illness or medical condition that prevents a person from performing the work they once did. In addition, it must be decided that the person cannot adapt to other work conditions due to the disability. Finally, the illness or medical condition must be expected to last for at least a year.