What is a Work Credit, and Why Do I Need Them for SSDI?

If you are someone with a severe physical or psychological condition and you are thinking about applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may have heard of “work credits.” These credits are an essential requirement for obtaining SSDI benefits. But what exactly is a work credit, and why is it so important for obtaining SSDI?

What is a Work Credit?

In simple terms, a work credit is a measure of how much paid work you performed over the course of a year. Each work credit represents a certain amount of paid work, which as of 2022 equals $1,510 per fiscal quarter (for a maximum of $6,040 per fiscal year). You must obtain a certain number of work credits over a certain period of time (depending on your age) to qualify for SSDI benefits. For individuals 31 and over, they need at least 40 work credits, 20 of which must have been earned over the course of the previous ten years, but younger people may qualify with fewer credits.

How Do I Get Work Credits?

As the name implies, the way you obtain work credits is by performing paid work, either as an employee of a business or organization, or as a self-employed individual. You pay into the Social Security system every time you pay Social Security income taxes, which is represented by your work credits. You can obtain all of the credits you need provided you worked enough to obtain four credits all at once, even if you did not actually work all four quarters of the year.

What Happens if I Do Not Have Enough Work Credits?

If you do not have a sufficient number of work credits, you cannot qualify for SSDI. However, that does not necessarily mean you are out of luck: another program, known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), also exists for people who do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. However, the SSI program has its own restrictions, and you may need to consult with a lawyer to determine if you qualify.

What Should I Do if I Do Not Know if I Qualify?

If you are not certain if you have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling Social Security disability cases. In addition to determining if you have fulfilled your work credit requirement, they can also help you put together an application, and can argue on your behalf if you need to appeal a denial. The sooner you call, the sooner they can help you to obtain the benefits you deserve.

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.

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