The portion of the Social Security Act which provides for disability benefits is commonly referred to as "Disability Insurance Benefits". In order to be "insured", a person must pay their "premiums". As with other insurance, regardless of premiums paid in the past, if a person does not keep their insurance premiums current, the insurance policy expires. If an event occurs after the insurance policy expires, the event is not covered by the insurance.
With respect to Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits, a person pays their premiums by paying Social Security taxes. Generally, a person must have paid five years of taxes out of the past 10 years( 20 quarters out of the past 40 quarters ), prior to becoming disabled. They must also have paid enough taxes during their work lifetime.
For persons between 18 and 30 years old, the rules are a little different. The person must have paid Social Security taxes on one and a half years of earnings and paid taxes on earnings for at least half of the years between age 22 and the time they became disabled.
Please understand that the above is just a brief synopsis. There are more details involved. This is just an overview.
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