If you want to be able to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) you need to obtain a sufficient number of “work credits.” Without these credits, it does not matter how severe your disability is, you will not be able to obtain SSDI benefits. But what exactly are these credits, how do you obtain them, and what happens if you do not have enough to qualify for SSDI?
What Are Work Credits?
Work credits are a measurement of how much work you have done for a wage over a certain period of time, as represented by the amount of money you have paid in Social Security taxes. As of 2022, one work credit is roughly equal to the amount of taxes you would pay on $1,510 in income in a single quarter, or $6,040 per year. However, the amount of money you need to earn to get these credits often changes from year to year.
How Do You Earn Work Credits?
To earn work credits, you simply need to engage in some form of wage-earning activity, whether working a job for someone else or earning money while self-employed. You can earn the money you need for your credits by working over the course of a whole year, or you can earn it all in one lump sum. The important thing is that you performed the work, and paid the taxes on the income you earned.
How Many Work Credits Do You Need?
For anyone 31 years old or older, you need a minimum of 40 work credits to qualify for SSDI, at least twenty of which must have been earned over the course of the last ten years before you applied for disability benefits. However, younger people may qualify for SSDI with fewer work credits, depending on how old they were when they applied for benefits. For example, anyone from 24 to 31 years old can qualify if they have credits for working half the time between when they became eligible to work and when they applied for benefits, while anyone younger than 24 can qualify with just six work credits in the three-year period before they applied for benefits.
What if You Do Not Have Enough Work Credits?
If you do not have enough credits to qualify for SSDI, that does not necessarily mean you are out of luck. You may still, for example, be able to qualify for Supplemental Security Income. However, to know what may be appropriate for you, it is best to speak to a lawyer with experience handling Social Security disability claims. They can help you to fill out your application and determine what may work best for 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.