If you are looking to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you will need a certain number of “work credits” to be able to qualify. Without these credits, your application for SSDI benefits will be rejected, regardless of any of your other merits. But how do you earn enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, and how do you know if you have enough already?
What Are SSDI Work Credits?
In simple terms, SSDI work credits are a representation of the amount of money you have paid into the SSDI program through engaging in gainful employment. In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you need to earn a certain number of work credits, depending on your age. If you do not have a sufficient number of credits accumulated, your application for SSDI benefits will be denied without consideration of your disability status.
How Do You Earn Work Credits?
In theory, earning work credits is fairly simple: you just need to work (either as an employee of someone else’s business, or as a self-employed worker) and pay into the SSDI program by paying your Social Security taxes. As of 2023, you earn one work credit for every $1,640 you earn in taxable income per fiscal quarter, with the ability to earn up to four credits per year. This means you will earn the maximum number of four credits if you make $6,560 in a single year.
How Do You Know if You Have Enough?
The exact number of work credits you need to earn depends on your age. If you are 31 years old or older, you need to earn 40 work credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the last ten years. If you are younger, the number of credits you need to earn are adjusted downward, with people 24 and younger only requiring six work credits in the three years prior to filing for SSDI. The exact amounts you need can be found here.
What Should You Do if You Do Not Have Enough?
If you do not have a sufficient number of work credits, you can still potentially get disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. However, in order to know what options you may have available, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling disability applications. They can help you go over your case and give you the best chance possible at obtaining SSDI or other disability benefits.
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.