Work Credits Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits

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When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI, you qualify for the benefits only if you meet a number of requirements. These requirements are defined and specified by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

A key requirement for SSDI program is work credits. SSDI benefits are essentially available only if you have done a certain amount of time in the last few years. If you don’t meet the work credits requirements, you are not eligible for SSDI. If that’s the case, you should contact one of our Greenville SSDI attorneys. Here’s a detailed look at how SSA work credits are calculated and how you can qualify for SSDI benefits on the basis of these work credits.

How Are Work Credits Calculated?

Every year, SSA declares a certain dollar value for work credits that are used in qualifying for SSDI. The dollar amount for a single Social Security work credit is $1,410 as of 2020. In a given year, you can earn up to four work credits depending on the amount of work and your earnings in that year. If you wish to earn all four wok credits in a given year, the minimum amount of money you must earn is $5,640.

How Many Work Credits Do You Need?

Work credits can be used in two different ways to qualify for SSDI benefits. SSA requires that you must pass two tests related to work credits in order to get SSDI. These tests are known as the recent work test and the duration of work test. One test looks at your overall work history and the other judges your recent work contribution. Here’s a look at each.

Duration of Work Test

This is a straight-forward qualification test in which SSA defines the number of years you must have worked in order to qualify for SSDI. The number of years or work credits varies depending on the age when you became disabled. If your disability came on at an early age, you will require fewer work credits to qualify. On the other hand, more work credits are needed as you grow older.

If you become disabled between the age of 21 and 27, you need to have worked one and a half years or earned 6 work credits to qualify for SSDI. If your disability began at age 30, you need 8 work credits or 2 years of work to qualify. Below is a detailed chart showing the number of years and work credits required for different ages.

Age When Became Disabled

Work Credits Required

Number of Work Years Required

21 – 27

6

1.5

30

8

2

32

10

2.5

34

12

3

36

14

3.5

38

16

4

40

18

4.5

42

20

5

44

22

5.5

46

24

6

48

26

6.5

50

28

7

52

30

7.5

54

32

8

56

34

8.5

58

36

9

60

38

9.5

62

40

10

Above 62

40

10

If you become disabled at the age of 62 or above, you will need at least 40 work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. This translates to 10 work years.

Recent Work Test

This test essentially determines whether you have earned work credits in the years immediately before your disability. If your disability occurred at age 24, you must have earned at least 6 work credits in the previous three years. In other words, you must have worked at least 1.5 years in the 3 years preceding your disability.

If the disability occurred anytime between the age of 24 and 31, you must have worked half the number of years since age 21. For instance, if you became disabled at age 27, you must have worked at least three of the six years since your 21st birthday.

If the disability occurred when you were 31 or older, a standard recent work requirement applies. You must have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years immediately preceding your disability.

You must meet both duration of work test and the recent work test in order to quality for SSDI benefits. However, if your work credits are not enough to qualify you for SSDI, you can still seek Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Hiring Disability Lawyers in Charleston SC

If you are based in Charleston, SC and wish to apply for SSDI benefits because of a recent disability, we can help you. Here at Robert Surface Law Firm, our disability lawyers in Charleston, SC can help you meet the work credits and other requirements set forth by SSA. Contact us today to book a FREE consultation with our disability attorneys.

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