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How Long Do I Need to Work to Qualify for SSDI Benefits?

Posted on in Social Security Disability

dallas disability lawyerA physical or mental disability can be a serious issue that affects a person’s health, well-being, and quality of life. In addition to causing pain and discomfort and affecting a person’s relationship and home life, a disability may make it impossible for a person to maintain employment. This can put a person and their family in a difficult financial position, especially if they have additional expenses related to medical treatment or assistive devices and other accommodations in their home and vehicles. Fortunately, those who suffer from disabilities that affect their ability to work may be able to receive disability benefits through Social Security. 

There are two types of disability benefits offered by Social Security: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Of these, SSDI is often the preferable option, since it provides benefits based on the income a person has earned in the past, while SSI provides assistance on a needs-based basis for people without a significant work history. To qualify for SSDI, a person must have earned sufficient “work credits” throughout their career. By understanding how these credits are calculated and the number of credits that will qualify for disability benefits, a person can make sure they will be able to receive the financial assistance that will address their needs.

Calculating Social Security Work Credits

Most people pay Social Security taxes on the income they earn, and by doing so, they earn work credits that count toward their eligibility for Social Security benefits. A person can earn up to four work credits each year. The amount of income required for a work credit is adjusted each year in accordance with changes to average income levels in the United States. For 2021, a work credit is equivalent to $1,470 in income.

The number of work credits needed to qualify for SSDI will depend on a person’s age. Workers under the age of 24 will need six work credits. Workers aged 24 to 30 will need credits equivalent to half of the time between the age of 21 and the age they experienced their disability. For example, a person who became disabled at 29 must have worked for at least four years, which is equivalent to 16 work credits.

Workers over the age of 30 will need to have earned work credits as follows:

  • Age 31 to 42: 20 work credits

  • Age 44: 22 work credits

  • Age 46: 24 work credits

  • Age 48: 26 work credits

  • Age 50: 28 work credits

  • Age 52: 30 work credits

  • Age 54: 32 work credits

  • Age 56: 34 work credits

  • Age 58: 36 work credits

  • Age 60: 38 work credits

  • Age 62 or older: 40 work credits

Contact Our Plano SSDI Benefits Attorneys

When applying for Social Security disability, you will not only need to show that you have earned the correct number of work credits, but you must also provide medical evidence demonstrating that your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working. The attorneys of The Law Offices of Coats & Todd can assist you during the SSDI application process, and we will help you address any issues that may affect your ability to receive benefits. Contact our Dallas Social Security disability application lawyers today at 972-671-9922 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/qualify.html

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10072.pdf


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