Work Credits for Social Security Disability Benefits: FAQs

On July 10, 2016

FAQs about Work Credits for SSDI

FAQs about Work Credits for SSDI

Eligibility for federal disability benefits will depend, at least in part, on the work credits a prospective beneficiary has earned. In other words, in order to qualify for SSDI, one of the things you will have to prove is that you have accumulated the required number of work credits.

Uncovering important information about work credits for federal disability benefits, below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about SSDI work credits. When you are ready for more answers about your eligibility for SSDI or SSI – or your best moves for pursuing these benefits, don’t hesitate to contact Portland Disability Lawyer Richard A. Sly.

Important Answers about Work Credits for SSDI

Q – What are work credits?

A – Work credits are used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to evaluate how much an individual has contributed to the system (via FICA taxes) and, therefore, whether that person may be eligible to draw benefits from the system. These work credits are typically awarded for each year someone has worked (and paid FICA taxes) and:

  • In 2016, the minimum amount that has to be earned in order to acquire one work credit is $1,260.
  • Up to four work credits can be earned annually.

Here, it’s also important to point out that when these work credits have been earned matters. In other words, these credits have to have been acquired within the decade before an applicant has become disabled (per the recent work test).

Q – How many work credits do I need to qualify for SSDI?

A – It depends on the nature of your disability, as well as your age. In general, non-blind, disabled applicants over the age of 30 will need to have at least 20 work credits in order to be eligible for SSDI.

The following table presents the work credit requirements for applicants of different ages (note there requirements for blind applicants can differ):

  • Younger than 24 – 6 work credits
  • 24 to 30 – Between 8 and 18 work credits
  • 31 to 42 – 20 work credits
  • 44 – 22 work credits
  • 46 – 24 work credits
  • 48 – 26 work credits
  • 50 – 28 work credits.

The required work credits continue to increase by 2 for every 2 years in age after 50 (maxing out at 40 work credits for applicants who are 62 or older).

Q – What if I don’t have enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI?

A – If you have not earned sufficient work credits to qualify for federal disability benefits, there may be two other options for you consider:

  • Applying for SSDI on someone else’s work history – This may be an option if or when a spouse (or ex-spouse) has earned enough work credits. It can also be an option for minor children if their parents have acquired enough work credits.
  • Applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – There are no work credit requirements for SSI benefits. Instead, the requirements for SSI are related to income/earnings and the physical/mental impairments an individual has.

Q – How can I find out how many work credits I have?

A – Check with the SSA, or contact a lawyer who can review your records and inform you of your best options for securing benefits.

Contact Portland Disability Lawyer Richard A. Sly

For experienced help applying for federal disability and/or SSI benefits, contact Portland Disability Lawyer Richard A. Sly. For more than 30 years, Attorney Richard A. Sly has been dedicated to helping his clients navigate the complexities of the SSA so that they can secure the benefits they need and deserve.

To discuss your case for free and get your claim started at no cost, call us at (503) 406-1471 or email us via the contact form on this page. We offer free initial consultations, are conveniently located in downtown Portland near public transportation, and serve clients throughout the states of Washington and Oregon.

Categories: Eligibility for Benefits, Social Security Disability, Social Security Disability Benefits for Injuries, Social Security Disability Benefits for Mental Conditions