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I am disabled but did not work long enough to qualify for SSDI. Can I claim disability benefits on my spouse's record?

No. To claim Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must meet medical requirements and have paid into the Social Security system and accrued sufficient Social Security credits. If you do not qualify based on your own earnings history, you cannot claim disability benefits on a spouse's record.

However, if your mate is collecting a Social Security retirement or disability benefit and you are 62 or older, you may be eligible for a spousal benefit on his or her record. In the event of your spouse's death, you could apply for a survivor benefit as a disabled widow or widower as early as age 50.

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Keep in mind

Depending on your age when you claim it, a spousal benefit can be from 32.5 percent to 50 percent of your wife's or husband's full benefit — the amount they are entitled to at full retirement age, which is 66 and 6 months for people born in 1957, 66 and 8 months for people born in 1958 and gradually rising two months each birth year to 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

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