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3 key facts about Social Security Disability benefits

The reality is that most people don't think about Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits until they need them. It's just not on their radar.

As such, when you are considering applying for benefits, it's important to learn as much as you can about the process. Below are three important facts to get you started.

1. Issues must be long term.

Under federal law, the definition of a disability is quite strict and only includes issues that are long-lasting. Specifically, the medical condition must be projected to end with your death or last a minimum of one year.

2. You have a 25 percent chance of being disabled.

Studies of those who are disabled reveal a number of crucial statistics, including the fact that a worker who is just 20 years old has a 25 percent change of ending up disabled prior to retirement. Even though you may never have thought about a disability before, it's probably far more common than you realized.

3. You must have worked prior to the incident.

You generally need to be a worker first and then become disabled to collect benefits, and there is a "work test" that determines whether or not you were in the workforce long enough. For instance, if you're disabled before you turn 28, you typically need to have logged a minimum of 1.5 years of work. If you become disabled when you're 54 years old, you need eight years of work. There are exceptions, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a chart applying to most ages to see if you qualify.

As you move through this process, make sure you know exactly what legal steps to take to get the benefits you deserve.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Benefits," accessed Aug. 24, 2017

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