People with disabling health conditions can submit an application for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to the Social Security Administration (SSA). When you cannot work for about 12 months because of a disabling health condition, the SSA can offer you disability benefits to help you pay your bills and other necessities.

SSDI benefits are a crucial safety net. Unlike most government benefits, these benefits aren’t available to everyone in need. They’re available only to those who meet specified employment requirements in addition to a qualifying health condition. Thus, all applicants must have worked long enough to be eligible for SSDI benefits. So, how will you know if your current employment history meets the criteria to claim Social Security Insurance benefits?

Have 40 Credits

Well, most workers must have at least 40 credits (accumulated credits) to get SSDI benefits. However, 20 of the credits must have been earned in the last 10 years ending with the year your disability begins.  Thus, it’s not what you earn alone but how regularly you have been working and how recently you worked that determine your eligibility for these benefits.

It’s crucial to mention that an employee accrues one credit for each $1,510 earned (wages) in 2022, and SSA only awards employees four credits a year regardless of the amount they earn or how much they work. Each year the dollar amount needed to earn a credit increases.

Some Employees are Exempted

Some employees who don’t meet the credits requirements may still claim SSDI benefits. Some  people are too young to have worked for ten years or more.  Therefore, SSA has reduced the number of credit requirements for younger individuals so younger employees may qualify for SSDI.

For example, people under 24 years only need to have accumulated six credits in the past three years to be eligible for SSDI benefits. Thus, there are reduced eligibility requirements for employees up to 31 years old. This helps young people who get injured or develop disabling health conditions to access the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Checking Your Credits

Generally, employees can create an account on SSA’s official website to check their credits. We recommend checking your earnings record regularly to make sure your employers are reporting the correct earnings each year.  This way, you can always know the number of accrued credits you have. In case you get injured or develop an illness that necessitates SSDI benefits, it will be easy for you and your lawyer to determine whether or not you are eligible.  

Consult With a Lawyer

Social Security law is complex. So, if you need benefits because of an injury or disabling health condition that prevents you from earning income, consult with an experienced disability lawyer.

The attorney will help you figure out whether or not you are eligible for Social Security Income or Social Security Insurance Disability benefits. Also, he or she can help you avoid pitfalls that can derail your claim. Contact us today to get help with your claim.