Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program, overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA), that offers benefits for those who are disabled and can no longer work due to a medical condition. A medical condition must meet a number of criteria in order for a claimant to be approved for SSDI. In addition to the medical condition requirements, you must also qualify for coverage under the SSDI program by having sufficient “work credits”.
Work credits are earned by working and paying into the Social Security system either through an employer or self-employment. Work credits are based on yearly salary or income earned. No more than 4 credits can be earned yearly; essentially, for every quarter you work, you earn 1 credit. The rule of thumb is that you must have worked full-time 5 years (to earn 20 credits) out of the last 10 years to be eligible.
There are some exceptions to the actual number needed to qualify; for example, younger individuals may qualify with fewer work credits. Regardless of age, the required number of credits must have been earned within a specified time period ending at the point at which the claimant becomes disabled. In other words, you may qualify now, but if you quit working, you may not qualify later.
Importantly, if you find out that your do not have enough credits or that your credits expired, there may still be options for you to file for and/or obtain disability benefits. It is important to speak with a qualified Social Security attorney or representative to discuss your options.
You can learn more about Social Security Disability Insurance on the Social Security Administration website, www.ssa.gov. You can see if you’ve earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI coverage by setting up a “My Social Security” account online, or by speaking to an SSA representative who can review your work credits.
If you have a medical condition that has rendered you unable to work, or if you have questions about work credits, contact us to learn more about Social Security Disability Insurance.