Work Credit Requirements for Social Security Disability | Disability Advisor
Loading...
You are here:  Home  >  SSD Basic Facts  >  Current Article

How much Social Security-covered work credits do I need to get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits?

By   /   20 Comments

See how many work credits you must have to collect Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and learn how to find out if you have enough credits.

social-security-disability-insurance

Watch the Video: “How much Social Security-covered work do I need to get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits?”

How to Earn Work Credits for Disability Insurance

As a disabled worker, to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, which are usually called just Social Security Disability benefits, you must be disabled as defined by Social Security law and you must be insured for disability benefits under the Social Security system on the date that your disability began.

Workers become insured by earning work credits, sometimes called quarters of coverage, in jobs that are subject to Social Security payroll taxes or Social Security self-employment tax. The earnings from these jobs are called Social Security wages. A quarter of coverage, or work credit, is obtained by working and earning a certain dollar amount. As the cost of living has increased, the amount of earnings required for a one work credit has also increased. For example, in 1998, the amount was $700.00 and in 2010 it was $1,120.00. In 2014 the amount increased to $1,200.00 per quarter. You can earn up to four credits per year, and it does not matter when during the calendar year you earn the dollar amount needed for the credits. Your four credits can be earned over an entire year, or they can be attained all in a single calendar quarter, or even in a single month. For more information about increases in the cost of living and Social Security, visit our article “Will I Get Cost-of-living Increases in My Disability Benefit Check?”

Age at Disability Determines the Number of Credits You Need

The number of work credits required to be insured depends on your age when you become disabled. If you are age twenty-three or younger when you become disabled, you need to have earned six credits in the three-year period immediately prior to the onset of your disability.

If you become disabled between ages twenty-four and thirty-one, Social Security looks at how many credits you earned between age twenty-one and the date your disability began. You are insured if you have earned one credit for every two calendar quarters in that period. In other words, you must have earned half of the total possible credits. Let’s look at an example. Suppose you became disabled exactly four years after your twenty-first birthday, at age twenty-five. Then there would be sixteen calendar quarters in the period that Social Security reviews and you would need to have eight work credits.

On the other hand, if you are age thirty-two or older when you become disabled, you have to be both fully insured and currently insured on the date that your disability began. All your work that was subject to Social Security tax counts toward your being fully insured. The number of credits required to be fully insured ranges from twenty to forty, depending on your age when you become disabled. For example, disability at age forty-four requires twenty-two credits, but; disability at age fifty-six requires thirty-four credits. For you to meet the second requirement of being currently insured, twenty of your work credits have to have been earned in the ten years immediately before you became disabled.

Disability Benefits on Another Worker’s Earnings Record

To claim Disabled Adult Child benefits or Disabled Widows benefits, the worker on whose earnings record you are claiming benefits must be insured and either receiving benefits or deceased. For more information about Social Security survivor benefits and dependent benefits, see our article “Who Are the Four Groups of People Who Can Apply for Disability and Who May Meet the Requirements for Eligibility for Social Security Disability?”

How to Find Out If You Are Insured

If you are disabled, the best way to find out you if you are insured for disability benefits is to file a disability claim with the Social Security Administration to get a formal decision. But, if you would like a preview, you can review the earnings statement that the Social Security Administration has mailed out in past years. The statement tells whether you were insured for disability benefits at the time the notice was sent. However, because the statement does not include your current year’s and sometimes your prior year’s work, you might be insured, even if the statement says that you are not. Additionally, though not common, some of your other work may be missing from the statement. It’s always a good idea to compare your W-2s and self-employment tax returns with the itemization of earnings on the statement to be sure you are getting credit for all your work under the Social Security Disability Insurance program. If you find a discrepancy, contact the Social Security Administration with any proof you have of the missing earnings.

    Print       Email

20 Comments

  1. Suzanne says:

    My daughter became disable in 06 and receives social security off her step- father he passed away In 07. So I receive a social security because she became disable before 22 yr. She pays for medicare and humana for insurance. My question is I can’t get medicare because I’m not the disable person is there any kind of help i can get to get insurance I can afford? What kind of help is out there for me? I receive $1533 a mo

    Thank you,
    Suzanne

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Suzanne,

      Check with your state or country to find out whether your income is low enough to get state-administered health insurance. If you are unable to get Medicaid or other insurance for individuals with low incomes, next fall when the next open enrollment occurs for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), I suggest that you investigate choosing insurance through that program. Your income may be low enough to qualify for a government subsidy to help pay the premiums.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  2. Wes says:

    I am curious, in the case if a person works while getting disability payments in 2014, how would the person earn more Social Security credits? Would it be possible?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Wes,

      If your work earnings while receiving disability benefits are enough higher than your earnings in the lowest earnings year used to calculate your original benefit, your future benefits could increase. For example, if your earnings in 2013 would increase your benefits, the increase would begin with the January 2014 benefit; however the Annual Earnings Recalculation Operation (AERO) that would identify an increase is not typically not run until the second half of the year. If an increase is due, it would be paid retroactively to January 2014 and sent in the last calendar quarter of 2014.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  3. Dee says:

    Hi I just recently got approved for ssdi. My 25yr old has been on ssi since he was 18. My income was not counted towards his bavk then because I told them he was an adult so they didn’t use mine. But now they are? It doesn’t make sense, the kid was told he was gonna to get a backpay check for 3,219.00. Ssi told him this knowing he was on ssi and switching over to ssdi under mine, he received 300.00 I called ssi numerous times and they said it sounds right! I don’t understand this. He’s being punished. I was told ssi is for low income people, which that hadn’t changed. I don’t get that he can work and make 1,000.00 a month on ssi without his payments being affected, but they took over 250.00 a month that was due for back pay. Also online I read when a person turns 18 parents income not used. Ssi never asked me or him how we deal with our money. I don’t help him, he helps me every single month and it’s a good chunk of change. I also read each child can get up to half each of my monthly payment. My 3 kids had to split half . My middle kid just got off due to his age. Ssi told me his money would be divided and my 2 kids wld split it evenly. So each got 197.00. Now my daughter is getting 297.00 and my 25 yr old is getting 100.00 less per month. I also read they would get more if on parents. Not in my case. I’m 47 and worked since I was 14 and the amount I get, I am very grateful that I do get it, however it’s not enough to live off. One more thing, years ago my work had a pension through the city so on my earning statements my ssi is zero I was told by ssi nothing they can do, the company did away with the pension, I got nothing cuz I was only there a couple years, but it looks like I didn’t work for 2yrs when I did. Also ssi has zero for 2012. I wasn’t working, but receiving unemployment and had taxes deducted. Would that change the amount I receive. Thank yoi

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dee,

      Here is what I think the situation is. I believe that your son is now getting Social Security disabled adult child benefits from your earnings record. That income of his (not your income) reduces his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The two benefits together can be as much as $741 if he is payinghis share of shelter and food costs.

      You are right that Social Security dependent benefits are split evenly among the children. If he has been eligible for disabled adult child benefits for twenty-four months, including past months, the $100 apparently “missing” from his check would be premiums for Medicare coverage. Once all the processing is done, if the has Medicaid, Medicaid will pay the Medicare premium and his check will go up.

      With regard to the calculation of your Social Security benefit, only earned income from which Social Security (FICA) taxes are withheld give you Social Security work credits. The taxes withheld from unemployment benefits (not work income) are not FICA taxes, and apparently your work under the city was not covered employment.With regard to the city pension, you probably did not work there long enough to get a pension even if they had continued the pension program.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Now I am disable whY I DONT GET my husband disability INSURANCE I NEVER RECEIVE ONE PENNY ALSO MY CHILDERN NEVER GOT A PENNY ALSO MY CHILDERN NEVER GOT A RED CENT now my son is giving me hell I want to be able to send him to a school to help get back on track !!!!!!! I need money for the school and transportation now that I am in able to work

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear LaShell,

          Dear Teresa,

          For Social Security dependents benefits to be paid, your husband has to be receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI), not Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and his Social Security family maximum must be higher than his primary benefit. Your husband can find out if the family maximum is more than his benefit by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. If dependent benefits are payable and you have children under age eighteen (or under nineteen if still in school), you can apply for benefits for them. Dependent benefits are not paid to spouses because they are disabled; they are payable if the spouse has a child of the worker’s under age sixteen in her care or if she is age sixty-two. You can apply for Social Security disability based on your own earnings record and/or for SSI disability.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  4. mills says:

    Hi there……i am 51 and am at the stage where they sent the paperwork asking about daily activities and past employment. I have ptsd. Anyway, i finally got some work and i only made 942.00. The question is this…. I made that amount pre-tax but in addition to that amount, i get paid perdiem and mileage to compensate me for what i invest in gas, mileage and meals and which is NOT taxable but yet the IRS is made aware of that payment portion. To include the gas, mileage and meals places me over the 1070.00. I dont think or i hope this does not injure my chances for my ssdi application….What is your thought on this?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mills,

      You need to report all the income to the Social Security Administration (SSA) now while your claim is pending. They will make a determination of whether the per diem counts toward earnings used to evaluate substantial work. Be prepared to provide proof of your start date also.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  5. mills says:

    Hi again….i forgot to mention….In addition to what ive already mentioned, i also receive snap and general assistance that began this past August. I have only been working for one month. All these monies …state assistance, snap, the perdiem stuff, and the gross $ 942.00….how does it play into ssdi approval? At the end of the month…its not much. I had a well providing professional job in my recent past so i know i am ssdi. My projected income is adequate….
    TY, Mills

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mills,

      Please see my response to your prior question.

      If you have not already reported your work income to the office that authorizes your general assistance and SNAP benefits, you need to do so right away because you may no longer be eligible for the general assistance and may be ineligible or eligible for less in SNAP benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  6. mills says:

    Hi…I called the SSA today and told them I was working. They basically asked the questions rather than me giving them all info. So they asked and I told them my hourly rate and that I average 8 hours per week. I also wanted to update them on my medical stuff but I cant get my case manager at the local office to answer my calls. So the SSA didnt seem interested in anymore info than hourly rate and amount of hrs per week. Is there another way to get my medical stuff updated besides the local office who is not listening, and the main SSA denied my med. info because they insist it must go through the local office? The perdiem and mileage are itemized separately in the paystub and being that I was only able to find work two hours from my home, a fair portion of what i make goes right back into trying to have funds for the following week so the income is almost…..just not much at all. I understand the ssa does not care about that but how or why would they view the perdiem and meals as income if, without it, I really could not even bother working? So, i told them i was working but they dont know about the meals because i could barely get that in. I have not called about the snap and GA cuz, honestly, i would be in the street without it. I dont understand what they want from us. How should i handle this? How does snap and ga play into the $1070 gross figure?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mills,

      Mail the medical information to the Disability Determination Services (DDS), which is the agency Social Security hires to make the decision on your claim. If you don’t have the address and phone number you can get it from the call center or local office. The call center number is (800) 772-1213.

      You are responsible for reporting all the work compensation you get to Social Security. They will then have to determine whether the per diem counts as income. If you are having trouble getting the information across by phone, to protect yourself against future overpayments that you would have to repay, mail in a statement via certified mail to your local office explaining your work situation and work compensation, including the per diem, and that it is reimbursement for expenses related to working so far from you home. Include a the date you started and a pay stub. Save a photocopy of what you send and the proof of mailing.

      With regard to SNAP and the cash assistance you are getting from the local welfare office, the benefits you are receiving are public welfare assistance and eligibility is based on the amount of income you have. If you do not report that you are working and receive more than you are eligible for, you could be prosecuted for fraud.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • mills says:

        Hi there….Yes, I will take care of reporting the ga and snap. Thank you. I had written you a note asking how my medical plays into this and how can i get the ssdi folks to see it as part of what i have to pay per month. I underztand there is a way for the ssdi folks to consider the med cann so as to increase the amount U can work. I have read the ssa is accepting this new reality because there are now so many states with medical cannabis program (mcp). Would you please explain what steps i can and must take to have the ssdi consider my mcp, please?

        Ty, Mills

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Mills,

          You need to make a written request to the Social Security Administration asking that they consider your medical expenses, which you would list in the letter, to be required expenses to be able to work for the purposes of reducing the amount of your wages that count toward the substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you make a written request, you then have a right to a formal decision. Once you get the decision, if it is not favorable, you have the right to appeal.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  7. mills says:

    Hi again…One other thing, please. I understand the 1070 can be increased for certain necesities if these are medically necessary…..I am on the medical cannabis program….its the only thing that kinda works so I need it after being on a list if meds that did not work so its medically indicated. How can I get this on record so to possibly increase the base of $1070? Now, I did list the medical cannabis on my activity sheet sent to me by the ssa.
    TY, Mills

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mills,

      I suggest that you discuss this with Social Security. Certain medical expenses required to work will sometimes reduce your countable gross earnings when determining whether you are performing substantial gainful activity.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • mills says:

        Hi…thanks for the rezponse. I dont understand……what is countable gross earnings? Does that mean they would increase how much one can make, gross? And how does one get this considered and approved?

        Ty, Mills

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Mills,

          Please see my response to your other posting that I posted a few minutes ago. Gross earnings are earnings before taxes. Part of work earnings are not countable. Specifically, the first $65 and half of the amount above that. In some circumstances expenses incurred for things that you must have to work and that are related to your disability can further reduce the countable income portion of your earnings.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>