In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must be disabled and unable to work under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of a disability and must have worked long enough in a specific time period under their rules. When you are working, you earn work credits and must have a sufficient number of them to qualify for SSDI benefits.
What Are Work Credits?
Work credits are based on your annual income from a job or through self-employment. You can earn one credit per each quarter of the year and a maximum of four work credits yearly.
The amount of earnings to earn a work credit changes each year. In 2019, you need $1,360 in work or self-employment income to earn one credit. The maximum amount of income you would need to earn your four credits for the year is $5,440.
How Many Work Credits Do You Need to Qualify for SSDI?
The number of work credits needed to qualify for disability benefits depends on the age when you became disabled. If you are 62 years old or older, you need 40 work credits, and 20 of them must have been earned within 10 years of when you became disabled. However, if you are younger than 62 years old, you may qualify with fewer work credits. Here are some examples of what is required:
- Before age 24. You need six work credits earned within a three-year period before the date of your disability to qualify.
- Ages 24 to 31. You must have worked half of the time for the time period between when you turned 21 years old to the date of your disability to have enough work credits.
- Ages 31 through 42. You need 20 work credits.
- Ages 43 through 61. The number of work credits increases as you age. For example, you would need 21 credits at age 43, 28 credits at age 50, and 38 credits at age 60.
How Can You Determine If You Have Enough Work Credits?
You can determine an estimate of your Social Security disability benefit and whether you have enough work credits by reviewing your Social Security Statement. To learn how to do this, watch our video on this topic. Then call our Roswell office to schedule your free consultation with our experienced disability attorneys to learn more about your eligibility for SSDI and how we can assist you in obtaining the benefits you deserve.