If you want to apply for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), you need to make sure you need to have a sufficient amount of work credits to qualify. However, not everyone understands what work credits are, or how you know if you have enough. That is why you should make sure you know these five things about work credits before you apply for SSDI benefits:
- The number of work credits you need may vary based on age
- For anyone 31 years old or older, you need to have 40 credits to be able to access SSDI benefits, 20 of which need to have been earned in the last ten years before you applied for disability benefits. However, people between the ages of 24 and 30 can qualify by having enough credits for half the time between when you turned 21 and when you applied for disability benefits. People under the age of 24 can qualify for SSDI with just six credits in the three years before they applied for disability benefits.
- You earn work credits by working and paying taxes
- The way you earn work credits is by earning money via employment or self-employment, which you then pay Social Security taxes on. This means you must either be working as an employee or an independent contractor, or you must be paid income through your own business. The amount of credits you earn is dependent on how much money you make, although most people with regular employment will easily make the maximum number of credits they can earn per year.
- You can earn up to four work credits per year
- You can earn four credits per year, one per financial quarter. As of 2023, one work credit represents $1,640 in covered earnings per financial quarter, or $6,560 for the year. This means that if you earned $6,560 or more for the year, you will get the full four credits for the purposes of qualifying for SSDI.
- You can earn all of your work credits for a year all at once
- That being said, you do not need to be paid that income evenly throughout the year. So long as you make the necessary amount during the year, it will count towards the work credits you receive. For example, if you are unemployed for three of the four fiscal quarters, but receive $7,000 in income for the last fiscal quarter of the year, you will still get the benefit of all four credits.
- Even if you don’t have enough work credits, you may have other options
- If you do not have a sufficient number of work credits, that does not mean you cannot get access to disability benefits. For example, you may be still eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, to know what may work for you, the best thing you can do is speak to a lawyer with experience handling disability benefits claims, who can help you through the process.
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.