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Just The Facts About SSDI And Work Credit Calculations

If you are unable to work at your job, you may be entitled to Social Security benefits. For workers with certain medical or mental conditions, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays a monthly benefit. The approval of benefits is based on several factors, but the primary roadblock for many applicants is the work credit issue. This part of the approval process is complex and most applicants don't need to perform the computations themselves. It might be helpful, however, to understand some general facts about SSDI work credits. Read on and find out more.

What Are Credits Based On? 

Work credits are based on your income for a certain period of time. The amount required for approval is based on your age. The older you are, the more work credits you need. If you don't have enough work credits to earn SSDI, consider applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI doesn't use work credits in the evaluation but does prohibit beneficiaries from having many assets. Interestingly enough, work credits are used to determine not only SSDI benefits but also Medicare and retirement eligibility along with the amount of the benefits.

What Are Credits Worth?

One work credit is awarded for every $1,410 (as of 2020) you earn. You can earn a maximum of four credits per year. A ten-year period of time is used to determine work credits for those over the age of 31. Of that 10-year period, the worker has to have met the work requirements number for at least 5 of the 10. Younger workers have a reduced need for work credits. However, a blind person applying for SSDI does not need to be evaluated using work credits. The application process moves them directly to the medical section (disability determination services).

How Do You See Your Credits?

While viewing the SSA website allows applicants to see the amount they might get if they were to become disabled, it does not go into details about work credits. If you are eligible based on work credits, the statement will indicate that you are eligible for disability and retirement benefits. All applicants that pass the work credits test can be moved along to the medical condition evaluation phase. This is the part of the application process that can take the longest and that provides many applicants with a denial.

None of the above will matter if you don't pass successfully through the medical evaluation part of the process. Most applicants are denied only to be approved at the appeal hearing. To help you be prepared, speak to a Social Security attorney about SSDI.