When you apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you must have a certain number of work credits to qualify. The amount of work credits you have is determined by how much you have worked, and the number required depends on your age, earnings and the program you are applying for.
Below, our Social Security Disability attorneys in Cincinnati explain how work credits apply to SSD benefits. If you need assistance with your disability benefits application, request a free, no obligation consultation today.
What Is A Work Credit?
Work credits are used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine if a person has the minimum amount of covered work in order to qualify for Social Security programs. SSD and retirement benefits require work credits whereas Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is an income-based program.
You can qualify for SSD benefits no matter your household income. The SSA qualifies an individual for SSD benefits based on the number of work credits he or she has, if enough credits were earned in recent years and if the SSA’s disability criteria are met.
How Work Credits Are Earned
When you work and earn a wage, a portion of your paycheck deductions or self-employment taxes are paid to the SSA based on the amount you earn. A person can earn one work credit for every $1,320 earned, up to four work credits each year, as of 2018.
Your work credits accrue over your lifetime. Having extra credits does not increase the amount of benefits payed – your average earnings over the years you work determines the amount of your monthly SSD benefits.
Work Credits Needed For Ssd Benefits
The amount of work credits required to be eligible for SSD benefits depends on the age at which you become disabled. In general, a person must have 40 work credits with 20 of these credits having been earned in the last 10 years prior to becoming disabled.
- If you become disabled before turning 24, you could qualify for SSD benefits with six work credits earned in the three-year period prior to your disability, ending when the disability began.
- If you are disabled between the ages of 24 to 31, you could qualify for SSD benefits if you worked half the time between turning 21 and becoming disabled.
- If you are disabled between the ages of 31 through 42, you must have 20 work credits to qualify for SSD benefits. You must have worked a minimum of five of the last 10 years, building up the required 20 work credits. The number of benefits required increases by one each year until the age of 62 or older, maxing out at 40 work credits required.
There are two different earnings tests you must pass in order to qualify for SSD benefits – a recent work test and a duration of work test.
Recent Work Test
A recent work test states a person must have worked at least half of the time in a specific period of years prior to his or her disability. For workers ages 31 and older, you must have worked five years out of the last 10 years before becoming disabled. Between ages 24 and 31, you must have worked half the time after turning 21 before becoming disabled. Under age 24, you must have worked one and a half years in the three years before becoming disabled.
Duration Of Work Test
A duration of work test explains how many years a person must have worked to earn the proper number of credits to be eligible for SSD benefits at their disabled age. The number of years worked is based on a person’s ability to earn four work credits per year.
Discuss Your Case With A Cincinnati Disability Attorney
Our Cincinnati disability lawyers are available to assist you with your disability benefits application or appeal. We will review your claim and inform you of the legal options that may be available to you.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only owed if we recover compensation for you.