Not everyone qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. In fact, the application process can be difficult, with less than half of first-time application reaching approval. One important, yet misunderstood requirement involves your work history. Understanding how many work credits you need to qualify for SSDI is an important first step to applying for and receiving the benefits you deserve.
What is a work credit?
It’s a monetary unit based on how much money you have earned. Under Social Security Administration (SSA) rules, workers can earn up to four work credits each year. In 2020, a worker will receive one credit for each $1,410 earned. By the way, self-employed workers also can earn work credits.
Work credits are one of the major requirements for SSDI benefits. But the amount earned is not the only factor.
How do work credits affect my SSDI claim?
How long you worked and how recently you earned work credits are both critical when trying to qualify for SSDI. Even if you satisfy the SSA’s definition of a disability, you generally will not receive benefits if you have not earned enough work credits.
But how many work credits are ‘enough’?
This is where the process gets a little more complicated:
- People age 62 or older typically need 40 credits. However, 20 of these credits must have been earned in the 10 years preceding your disability onset.
- Applicants aged 31 through 42 need 20 work credits.
- From age 43 to age 61, the number of credits increases by one each year. So, someone age 50 needs 28 and someone age 51 needs 29.
For applicants below age 31, the calculation becomes more difficult but still do-able:
- Before age 24, you typically need 6 credits. However, they must have been earned in the 3-year period preceding disability onset.
- From age 24 to 31, you must have worked half the time between age 21 and the time you became disabled. At age 29, you need credits for 4 years of work or 16 credits.
Applying for government benefits is not easy. An experienced disability lawyer can help make the process run more smoothly.
Do You Have Enough Work Credits to Qualify for SSDI?
Talk to an attorney about your eligibility for disability benefits if you are a self-employed worker. The disability lawyers at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ legal experience, much of it involving Social Security Disability Insurance claims. They can help you with your application and any appeals that might be needed.
Call us at 714-385-8100 for a free consultation. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.