Because the Social Security Administration views disability along the lines of whether or not a person can work, a work history is necessary for Portland residents to qualify for Disability Insuranec Benefits. Disability under SSA rules is different than other agencies and a disability for Social Security purposes must be total. Partial or temporary permanent disabilities do not qualify.
Before benefits are approved, the Social Security Administration examines an applicant’s medical profile and determines whether a disability prevents returning to the same line of work or switching to a different type of job. Total disability must last at least one year or be expected to end in death.
A Social Security Disability applicant must have a work history that includes so-called credits or quarters. In 2011, a quarter of Social Security coverage equals an income of $1,120. Once a yearly income level reaches $4,480, all four credits are earned, but no more than four may be earned in any one year.
Age determines the number of credits required. For most adults above the age of 31, at least 20 credits are necessary, with at least half earned in the previous 10 years.
Those applicants who are younger qualify under different circumstances. Under age 24, only six credits are needed within a three year period. Between ages 24 and 31, applicants must accumulate half the credits between age 21 and disability. For example, a 26-year-old with just five working years above age 21, would need six credits – equivalent to two-and-a-half years of work.
It is important to Social Security that work history is recent. In all cases, the minimum number of quarters or credits needed to qualify must be earned within a specific time period leading up to the disability application.
Source: Social Security Administration, “How Much Work Do You Need?”