What are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Work Credits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is administered through the Social Security Administration. SSDI is a program designed to provide financial support for workers who become disabled and who are unable to work due to their disability. In order to qualify for SSDI, applicants must meet medical and financial requirements. In addition to these requirements, the applicant must have earned a certain number of SSDI work credits to receive benefits under SSDI.

What are SSDI Work Credits?

As you work and pay Social Security taxes into the system, you earn SSDI work credits. Your employer reports your income each year. Based on your total wages or self-employed income, you can earn up to four SSDI work credits per year. You do not need to work all year in order to earn up to four SSDI work credits for that year.

The amount you must earn for each SSDI work credit changes based on inflation. For 2016, you must earn $1,260 for each work credit. Therefore, if you earn $5,040 and pay Social Security taxes on that amount, you will earn the maximum of four credits for 2016. Most workers will earn more credits over their work history than are needed to qualify for disability benefits; however, this does not increase the benefit amount.

Your benefit amount is based on your average earnings during your working years rather than the number of SSDI work credits you have earned. Work credits are just a requirement to receive SSDI benefits and do not have an impact on the amount of your disability payments.

How Many SSDI Work Credits Do I Need to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

The number of SSDI work credits needed to draw Social Security disability depends on your age at the time you become disabled.  In most cases, you need 40 SSDI work credits to be eligible to receive disability benefits. Twenty of those credits must have been earned in the 10 years immediately preceding your disability date. However, younger workers can qualify for SSDI benefits with fewer work credits.

If you become disabled before the age of 24, you must have six credits in the three years prior to your disability to be eligible for disability benefits. Applicants between the ages of 24 and 31 may qualify for benefits if they have credit for working half of the time between the age of 21 and the date of the disability. Applicants 31 years of age and older must have the number of work credits as shown on the SSA Work Credit Chart.

Survivor Benefits

Your spouse and/or children may receive SSDI benefits after your death if you have accumulated the required number of SSDI work credits prior to your death. The younger you are at the time of your death, the fewer work credits you must have accumulated for your survivors to be eligible for benefits. Under some special circumstances, survivors may be eligible for SSDI benefits even though the deceased did not earn the required number of work credits prior to his or her death.

Do You Have Questions about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

If you have become disabled, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Your dependents may also qualify for benefits. The Social Security disability attorneys of Broderick Law Firm, P.L. can help you apply for SS disability benefits and/or appeal a denial of benefits. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.