SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home208. Special Insured Status-Disabled Before Age 31

208.1  What is special insured status?

“Special insured status” allows an option to the “20 credits in 40 quarters” provision (20/40 rule - See §207). Individuals disabled before age 31 can qualify for disability insurance benefits or establish a period of disability.

(See §201.2 for additional requirements if you are an alien worker and you were assigned an original Social Security number on or after January 1, 2004.)

208.2 When do you have special insured status?

You meet the special insured status requirements if, in the quarter your disability is determined to have begun or in a later quarter, you:

  1. Have not yet turned 31;

  2. Are fully insured as explained in § 203; and

  3. Have credits in at least one-half of the calendar quarters:

    1. During the period beginning with the quarter after the quarter you turned 21; and

    2. Ending with the quarter that you became disabled.

The credits must be earned in this period. If the number of elapsing calendar quarters is an odd number, the next lower even number is used.

208.3 What is the minimum number of credits you need for special insured status?

You need at least six credits in order to have special insured status. If you became disabled before the quarter you turned 24, you must have six credits in the 12-quarter period ending with the quarter your disability began. In this case, the quarters counted will go back before the quarter in which you turned age 21.

208.4 Can you obtain special insured status if you become disabled again at age 31 or older?

If you are age 31 or older and become disabled again, you may obtain special insured status if you meet the following conditions:

  1. You had a previous period of disability established before you turned 31;

  2. You met and currently meet the special insured requirements (as set out above);

  3. You do not meet the 20/40 rule in the quarter your current period of disability begins;

  4. You are fully insured as explained in §203.

(See §201.2 for additional requirements if you are an alien worker and you were assigned an original Social Security number on or after January 1, 2004.)

208.5 Are there any special provisions for the blind?

A person disabled because of blindness may qualify for entitlement to disability benefits if he or she is fully insured as explained in §203. Blind workers are not required to meet “20 credits in 40 quarters” or “special insured status” tests.

(See §201.2 for additional requirements if you are an alien worker and you were assigned an original Social Security number on or after January 1, 2004.)

Last Revised: Aug. 9, 2005