Work Credits Needed for Social Security Disability
Work Credits Explained Whether or not a claimant meets the medical disability listing set out by the Social Security Administration (SSA), to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits (under title II) the applicant must have earned a sufficient number of work credits in the years leading up to their disability. The amount of income required to earn a work credit changes from year to year, but in 2010 a worker can earn one work credit for every $1,120 in taxable income–capping out at four credits per year. In order to earn credits on income, the claimant must have paid Social Security taxes on that income. The number of work credits required to claim disability is not the same for every claimant, and it depends heavily on your age at the time of disability. What claimants must also consider is that work credits must typically be earned within a recent timeframe. The following is a breakdown of the credits required for claimants at a variety of ages: • Age 23 or younger – Claimants are required to have at least 6 work credits, all earned within the 3 year period leading up to your disability. • Between ages 24 and 31 – To qualify, work credits earned since the age of 21 should amount to half-time employment. For instance, a worker that becomes disabled 4 working years after age 21 (age 25) will require work credits totaling the equivalent of 2 years of full-time work (8 credits). • Over the age of 31 – Eligible claimants are required to have at least 20 work credits earned within the 10 years leading up to the disability. As the claimant's age increases, so does the number of required work credits. By age 62, claimant's will need a total of 40 work credits. Blind claimants, or those with low vision, have different work credit requirements. Their work credits may be accumulated over the course of all of their working years, and credits may still be earned for work performed even after becoming blind. If vision impaired claimants still do not meet the work credit requirements, they may sometimes acquire benefits using the work credits of a parent or spouse. If you are unsure about your work credits, or whether your credits are sufficient to be eligible for disability benefits, talk to your disability lawyer. Experienced disability lawyers will be able to help you determine how many work credits you have earned, in what time frame, and whether or not your credits make you eligible for benefits.