If you’re unable to work due to a disability, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) offers this form of financial assistance to help disabled individuals cover the cost their basic needs, such as food and housing.
Not all disabled individuals qualify for SSDI. To qualify for benefits, you need to have accrued a certain number of work credits. The following guide will explain what work credits are and how you may determine how many you have.
What Are Work Credits?
Recipients of SSDI have worked in the past and have contributed to Social Security through their taxes. The more someone works and pays into Social Security, the more work credits they earn. As of 1978, an American worker can earn a maximum of four work credits in a given year.
How To Calculate Work Credits
You earn a work credit when you earn a certain amount of money through your job. In 2023, for every $1,640 in “covered earnings” that you earn within a given year, you may earn a single work credit.
That means in 2023 you will have earned 4 work credits if you’ve earned $6,560 in income. Your income can consist of wages an employer pays to you, or it can consist of self-employment income. Essentially, you need to tally up your yearly earnings during the years you worked to determine how many work credits you may have accrued.
What If I Do Not Have Enough Work Credits?
Typically, for an individual to qualify for SSDI, they need to have earned at least 40 work credits. Additionally, they must have earned a minimum of 20 work credits within the preceding 10 years. The 10-year period ends the year they first developed a disability.
However, other factors could potentially influence one’s eligibility for SSDI. For example, a younger applicant may qualify for SSDI despite having earned fewer work credits than the minimum. This is simply due to the fact that a younger applicant has had less time to accrue work credits.
You may worry that you’re out of luck if your disability prevents you from working but you haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. That’s not necessarily the case. Even if you’re not eligible for SSDI benefits, you may be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSI is similar to SSDI in that the SSA offers it to individuals who can’t work because of their disabilities. Unlike SSDI, the SSA doesn’t account for work history when determining whether an applicant qualifies for SSI. Instead, the SSA primarily accounts for financial need when reviewing an SSI application.
Get Help With Your Claim
Gathering the evidence to prove you have a valid disability and have earned sufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI isn’t a task you need to handle on your own. With the assistance of a lawyer, you may improve your odds of receiving an approval from the SSA when you submit your application. Learn more about what a disability attorney could do for you by taking the Free Case Evaluation and get connected with an independent attorney who subscribes to the website and may be able to help with your case.