Work Credits And Social Security Disability Benefits

Posted on: 21 November 2014

When you apply for Social Security disability, your work history will be carefully scrutinized by the Social Security Administration. Part of the eligibility requirements for disability benefits is that you have worked a certain amount. Before applying for benefits, here are a few things you need to know about your work credits and benefits. 

Work Credits

As you work, you earn work credits. The work credits are the product of your earnings being converted. For every $1,160 you earn each year, you get one work credit. To qualify to receive benefits for one year, you have to earn four work credits or $4,640. When you apply for benefits, you can receive disability benefits for that particular year. 

SSDI Eligibility

As you age, the number of credits that you need to receive benefits increases. You need to have earned 40 credits to receive benefits. Of those, you must have earned half of those within the last 10 years. 

The Social Security Administration uses two tests to determine eligibility that hinge on your work credits. For instance, if you are between the ages 24 to 31, you have to show you have worked at least half of the time since you turned 21. 

The agency does allow exceptions for people who are blind. The agency will inform you of the requirements that need to be met when you apply for benefits. 

The "duration of work" test is also used. This test says that you needed to have worked a certain number of years before applying. The number of years varies by age. For instance, if you are 60 years of age, you should have worked 9.5 years  to be eligible for benefits. 

Few or No Credits

If you do not have enough work credits to be eligible for disability benefits, you and your attorney, like those at Gieg Law Offices, can apply for the Social Security Income, or SSI, program instead. The SSI program does not require you to meet a work credits requirement. You have to show you have a financial need to receive benefits, though.

If you do not meet the financial requirements for SSI, talk to your attorney about other ways you can receive state or federal assistance. 

Social Security disability benefits can help you replace lost income if you are no longer able to work. In addition to meeting the work credits requirement, you might have to meet other requirements to be eligible. Talk to your attorney regarding all of the requirements to determine your eligibility before applying.