Work Credits Qualify You for SSDI Benefits

Many of our posts mention Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits. The main difference between the two is that SSDI benefits are only available for people with a qualifying work history, whereas SSI benefits depend on income level, not work history. Here we discuss what the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) means by qualifying work history.

Generally you need to have worked long enough and recently enough in order to receive SSDI benefits. You receive work credits each year based on the amount that you earned. The amount you have to earn to get a work credit changes each year – for example, in 2011, you earned a credit for each $1,120 you earned, and, in 2012, you get one for each $1,130 you earned. The maximum number of credits you can earn in a year is four, so for this coming 2012 year, once you have earned $4,520 you will have the year’s full work credits.

The number of credits you need to qualify for SSDI depends on your age. The following are some of the guidelines that the SSA uses:

  • If you are under the age of 24, you need 6 credits in the 3-year period prior to the date that your disability started
  • If you are between the ages of 24 and 31, you take the number of years you are older than 21, cut that in half, and then multiply that number by 4 to get to the number of credits you need (for example, if you are 29, that is 8 years after 21; half of that is 4, so you will need 16 work credits to qualify for SSDI)
  • Between 31 and 42, you need 20 credits
  • Between 43 and 62, you need the number of credits that is 22 less than your age (for example, a 56-year-old would need 34 credits)
  • After 62, you need 40 credits
  • Applicants should note that, after the age of 31, you must have earned at least 20 credits in the 10 years before you became disabled

Additional information on qualifying for disability benefits is available from a Tulsa Social Security disability law firm. Are you an SSDI recipient or were you one in the past? Did you have any problems with the SSA calculating your work credits?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys



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