Saturday, May 15, 2010

How Many Work Credits Do I Need To Qualify For SSA Disability Benefits?

In a medical sense, there is no minimum number of work credits needed to actually qualify to receive SSA disability benefits because the evaluation process for adults is based upon measuring an individual’s functional ability against the types of jobs they have done in the past, as well as the types of “other jobs” that Social Security considers they may be capable of performing.

Having said that, though, it is true that an individual is not eligible for Social Security disability unless they have attained insured status for this. How does an individual earn work credits and how many credits does an individual need to qualify for Social Security disability?

Social Security disability insured status depends upon being fully insured and being disability insured. So, first, lets talk about what it takes to be fully insured for Social Security disability.

To be fully insured for disability, individuals need one credit for each year from the year of their twenty-first birthday, until one year prior to their sixty-second year, or the year they become disabled, or the year prior to their death. The minimum amount of work credits an individual needs is six to be fully insured and the maximum amount of work credits needed to be fully insured is forty. Once an individual has crossed the hurdle of being fully insured, they still have to be disability insured to be eligible for Social Security disability.

To be disability insured an individual must have worked twenty out of the last possible forty earnings quarters. Basically, that means an individual must have worked five out of the last ten years prior to becoming disabled. Note: Individuals who are under the age of thirty-one have special rules that allow them to be insured with less quarters of work. So, really, an individual’s age and when they become disabled determines exactly how many work credits they need to be eligible for Social Security disability.

If an individual is not insured or does not have enough work credits to be insured for SSA Disability benefits, they may still be able to receive benefits from the Social Security administration through the Supplemental Security Income disability program. The SSI program is not based on work credits like Social Security disability; it is based upon need. To be eligible for SSI disability, an individual must meet the income and resource limits that are normally associated with a social assistance program.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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