Anyone who has a disability that makes them unable to work can apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, one of the principle programs under the SSA, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), requires that you prove you worked enough to earn your disability benefits. So how do you know if you have worked enough to be able to receive SSDI, and what happens if you do not meet that minimum criteria?
Understanding SSDI Work Credits
To determine whether you have accomplished enough work to qualify for SSDI, the SSA measures the amount of work you have done in terms of so-called “work credits.” Each work credit represents earning $1,410 in a single fiscal quarter, or $5,640 in a year. You do not need to work all four quarters of a year to earn the maximum of four work credits in a year, so long as you make the required amount of money within the same fiscal year.
How Many Work Credits Do You Need?
The average adult needs at least 40 work credits to qualify for SSDI, 20 of which must have been earned over the past ten years prior to applying for disability benefits. However, you can get away with fewer credits if you are under the age of 31, depending on how old you are. If you are under the age of 24, you only need to have earned six work credits over the course of three years prior to applying for disability.
What if You Don’t Have Enough Work Credits?
If you have not earned enough work credits for SSDI, you may still have other options available to you. For example, depending on your income level, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which you can also apply for through the SSA. However, you should consult an attorney knowledgeable in issues related to disability benefits to understand all the options available to you.
If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.