How to Apply for Disability if You Are Young

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Artwork: Elizabeth D’Angelo. Page Updated: June 2019

How to apply for disability if you are under the age of fifty.


Many people will tell you, “You can’t get approved if you are young.”

Ignore these people. This is massively untrue.

Many, many people get approved while young.

Many, many of the people who share their stories on this site were approved while young.

Since some lawyers won’t take clients who are young, or won’t take on clients until they are appealing, some of these folks applied on their own without lawyers and still won.


🌷 Some people say this because they are confused, or they are talking to other people who got turned down and feel demoralized.

🌷 Some people think that they cannot apply because they have not worked, or have not worked enough. Not true! There may be several different ways you can still apply. In some cases, there are even special rules that can help young people be eligible (see below).

🌷 Some people think they cannot apply because they live with their parents or other people with income. Not true! Once you turn 18, your parents income no longer counts, unless it is mixed with yours.

🌷 Some people met with a lawyer who said, “You won’t get approved because you are young.” Obviously, you can’t change your age, so in the ideal world, a good lawyer will give you ideas for things you can change and can do to improve your application.

🌷 Some people are referring to a special rule that helps some people over the age of 50 or helps them a bit more over the age of 55. If you are young, you won’t get to use this rule.

That’s right: There is ONE RULE you can’t use.

Do you know how many rules Social Security has? Hundreds! There are literally hundreds of rules that can help you win your case. You can still win your case using some of these hundreds of other rules you can use and things you can do.


There are three types of Social Security disability you might be eligible for.

If you don’t want to read these three ways, don’t worry. Just apply! Make an appointment at your local Social Security office or go online and start an application for disability. Social Security will tell you which way you are eligible for. How to apply.

If you do want to learn these three ways, here they are:

Option 1: SSDI

SSDI is Social Security disability based on your work history. You may see people say that you need to work for at least five years in order to be eligible for disability. This may be true for most people. But it may not be true for you!

Secret tip # 1: If you were under thirty when you became disabled, the rules are different. Even if you worked just one year, there is a chance you will be eligible. Check out: What Will I Qualify for? SSI? SSDI? Both? Neither?

Secret tip #2: Social Security will consider the age you were when you first became disabled, not the age you are now! If you are now 29, but became disabled at age 25, you need a lot less work credits!!

Secret tip # 3: If you have worked some, but someone at Social Security tells you that you are not eligible to apply, or if your written notices or online account say you are not eligible. Check to see if you have a date last insured.

Option 2: Adult Disabled Child Benefits

For people who first became disabled before the age of 22. (No matter what age you are now). Learn more here: How to Get Adult Disabled Child Benefits

Tip: If you can make an extra effort now to prove you became disabled before age 22, this can mean a larger disability check for you someday.

Option 3: SSI

SSI is different from SSDI. They sound the same, which is super confusing.

SSI is not quite as good as SSDI or Adult Child Benefits. It is sometimes less money, plus it is more restrictive financial rules. So, try for option one or two first, but if they don’t work, you have a back up plan! You can always apply for SSI.

Anyone who is poor can apply for SSI. To learn more check out: How Poor Do I Have to Be?

We’ll say it again in case you missed it or didn’t believe it: Anyone who is poor and a US Citizen can apply for SSI. It does not matter if you never worked a day in your life.

Last Ditch Option

If nothing above works out for you, check out: How to Apply for Disability When You are Told You Can’t Apply for Disability

If You Are Living With Parents or Family

Your parents income and assets won’t count during the SSI application. However, they will consider if your parents are giving you money or free rent. If you are applying for SSI, you might wish to also read: How to Apply for SSI Without Falling into Quicksand

Ready to apply?

You apply for all three of these things the same way! The only difference is that for SSI you will have to give them some extra information about your finances. Here’s everything you need to know about how to start your applying: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability

You can also check out other forms of disability, such as employer disability, veterans disability or temporary state disability: How to Apply for Disability 17 Times

Please comment below with stories, questions, input or ideas. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please use one of these magic buttons to share this post on Facebook or Twitter:

1 thought on “How to Apply for Disability if You Are Young”

  1. This blog has a ton of really incredible information. I always tell people: save it to your favorites and when you’re having a good day, and feel like doing some reading, take a look and see if there is information there that might help you.


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