To qualify for SSDI benefits with lung cancer, you must:

Have worked at jobs that were covered by Social Security
Have a medical condition that meets the strict definition of disability

This means that your condition must limit your ability to work for 12 months or more. If your lung cancer does not restrict your work-related activities, you will not qualify.

In addition to meeting the definition of disability, you must have worked long enough (and recently enough) under Social Security to qualify for SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses “work credits” to determine eligibility.

Work credits are based on your total yearly income, and people can earn up to four credits each year. The number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits depends on the age at which you were diagnosed with lung cancer. Most people need 40 work credits, 20 of which must be earned in the last 10 years. Younger workers may qualify for the benefits with fewer credits.