No one ever wants to become disabled, but for as many as 1 in 5 Americans, becoming disabled for 5 or more years of their life is a real possibility. If you find yourself in a position where you simply can’t work anymore, you may be thinking about applying for social security disability in order to help you make ends meet.

Social Security Disability is there to help people in need. It’s a wonderful resource for those who must drop out of the workforce, but it does come with a few guidelines. Here is what you need to know about SSD Lawyer NYC.

Social Security Disability is only for workers

If you have never been able to work, Social Security Disability Insurance can only be applied to you through your parents, and only if they have worked long enough to qualify. Social Security Disability is primarily there for people who have paid into the system. You need at least 40 “credits” to be considered for disability. A credit can be earned by making a specific amount of money. As of 2013, you had to earn $1,160 to get one working credit.

You also have to get at least 10 of these working credits recently in order to qualify. If the last time you worked was over a decade ago, you may not be able to receive benefits without earning more credits.

SSDI is for those who can’t work

If you are working at the time you apply for SSDI, the government does not consider you disabled. If you are struggling to find work, but don’t have a disability, SSDI is not the right program for you. SSDI is generally reserved for people who can’t work under any conditions.

If you make money in other ways, such as dividends or other earnings, and it adds up to more than a certain amount, you won’t qualify for benefits. The disability also has to be long term—the disability has to prevent you from working for 12 months or longer to be considered a severe disability.

How do I apply for benefits?

If you’ve become disabled and can no longer support yourself, SSD is there to protect you. You can apply online, and begin the process. You will need to take a work test, and may have to share your medical information with Social Security.

If you have done these things and been rejected, you can appeal the decision. If you need extra help, contacting a lawyer that specializes in disability may be beneficial. These lawyers are usually no cost to you, so there’s no reason not to contact one if you are concerned about being able to handle the process yourself.

Suffering a disability is a shocking change, but it doesn’t have to be a financial disaster for you. If you are no longer able to work, Social Security Disability Lawyer Staten Island is there to protect you, so you can get the financial support you need.