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

By / March 3, 2016 / Social Security Disability & SSI Basic Facts / 169 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.

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 2017 the amount increased to $1,300.00 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 What kinds of Social Security disability benefits are there?

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.

How many Social Security-covered work credits do I need to get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits?
2 (40%) 1 vote

  • Dear Frenchriverwine,

    I do not know how much of the claims process is coordinated with Canada, whether you have to file a claim or already have a claim pending with them. I suggest that you ask your local office. If the person you spoke to is not sure, you might ask whether the office has a technical expert who might know or be able to research. Another possibility would be to inquire with the Canadian social insurance system. But, first, you might wait till you get the letter because it might explain the situation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Carolina,

    You might try calling the hearing office and ask whether they can check the status with the judge. Specifically, is the judge still reviewing to decide whether to reopen and approve the SSDI claim or has a decision been made and if so can they give an estimate on when the decision letter to re-open or not re-open would be ready to send to you. Explain that SSA local office and computer system is saying you are approved for SSDI but you have not gotten a medical approval letter. If they say your attorney has to inquire, explain that the attorney has said they don’t represent you for the SSDI claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Frenchriverwine,

    I think that perhaps the $188 benefit is the U.S. portion of your total benefit and that you will receive another payment from the Canadian social insurance system. See the section “Payment of Benefits” in the following reference to totalization agreement with Canada https://www.ssa.gov/international/Agreement_Pamphlets/canada.html.
    Your local Social Security Office may be able to show how your monthly benefit was computed and tell you whether to expect a second payment. If you are not going to get a second payment from Canada, you might ask to see a list of all Canadian and U. S. earnings shown in your earnings records. That way you can check to make sure all your work was considered in the calculation. If it comes to that, it could be a good idea to file an appeal contesting the payment amount.
    .
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Carolina,

    You are right not to count on the Social Security claim being reopened and approved until you actually get the letter from the judge and a Social Security award letter. If you are approved and your earnings record is strong enough for our Family Maximum Benefit to be more than your own Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), the children will be eligible for benefits in the same months as you are up until they turned age eighteen (or nineteen if still in high school). Once an approval is finalized and your monthly benefits are calculated, you can get your FMB by calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213. If the children are no longer eligible due to their ages, they will have to apply for the benefits themselves and the benefits will be paid to them.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Anabel,

    Social Security law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.”

    Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs are both administered by the Social Security Administration. Disability for adults is defined the same for both programs. To be eligible for SSDI, in addition to being disabled, you must also have worked and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes for enough years to be insured for benefits including earning credits equal to half the possible number of work credits in the ten years before you became disabled or in the span between age 21 and date of disability onset. Because three years has not passed since you turned twenty-one, you need only the minimum of six work credits.

    To be eligible for SSI, in addition to being disabled, you must have income and assets below a certain level because SSI is a public assistance benefit, rather than an earned benefit purchased with federal insurance tax payments.

    You could also be eligible for disabled adult children’s benefits. An unmarried adult who becomes disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.

    Contact your local Social Security to file an application. They will help you determine if you qualify for all or some of these programs. Every month you wait, you could lose benefits. Given your young age, if your health permits, you might consider contacting your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitaiton (DVR) to see whether you qualify for training or education to perform work that might be within your physical limitations. You can both file a claim and pursue DVR services.

    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Carolina,

    Payment of your approved SSI claim will not be delayed while the judge decides whether or not to open your older claim for Social Security Disability (SSDI). Probably all you can do on that front is wait, but you could check with the attorney to find out whether there is anything he or you should do.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Carolina,

    It is fairly rare that judges will reopen a closed claim that was not appealed.

    You would have to be approved for SSDI for your children to be eligible for benefits. If you are and benefits are payable to you for months before the children turned eighteen (or nineteen if they were still in high school), they could receive benefits for those months If you have a work history that insures you for dependent benefits in addition to your own benefit.

    Old medical records could help your claim if they show that you were disabled either while you were insured for SSDI or when you filed your SSI application. It is not impossible, but records from 1997-2000 proving that you were disabled in 2011 and continuing up to now may be a stretch.

    You will not know whether or not you will be approved until you get the decision. If you have heard nothing in the six weeks that was referenced, you can call the hearing office for a status report.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dennis,

    No exceptions exist that will make you insured for Social Security Disability. You can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, which does not have a work credit requirement for citizens and some aliens. You can start the application by calling 1-800-772-1213 and requesting an appointment to apply at your local Social Security office or by telephone.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lydia,

    If you do not don so, I suggest you request a copy of your claim file so you can see that all the documentation you want considered is in file. Also, if don’t have an attorney, I suggest that you hire an experienced Social Security attorney to prepare your case for the hearing.

    When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount the attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Ann.

  • Dear Jonie,

    Your benefit will be calculated based on your lifetime work earnings. This means lower earnings result in lower benefits; however, the judge discussing your work history was not related to the calculation of your benefits.

    Discussion of your past occupations and occupations you could possibility do in the future is normal part of a disability hearing because your work history is considered in determining whether you are disabled as defined by Social Security law.

    I am not able to estimate your earnings; however, you can go online and set up a My Social Security account and request an earnings statement (not a benefit statement). The earnings statement will give you an estimate of your benefit.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lydia,

    Please see my response to your prior post. You have provided more information about your health in this post, so I can add that your education and work experience will likely be of some importance in determining whether or not you are eligible. But, again approval is possible although I can’t give you any odds.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Janis,

    You might be eligible for Social Security retirement when you reach retirement age, but you are not eligible for Social Security Disability. There is, however, another federal disability program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for disabled individual’s with limited income and resources (assets) that does not require recent work. You can file an application for SSI at any Social Security Administration (SSA) office or by telephone appointment.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Ann.

  • Dear Ann,

    “Non-disability” refers to the non-medical financial criteria that must be met for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility. Your friend has to have 20 work credits in the 10 years before the date his disability started as established by the judge. The last possible date that he could be insured would be some time in 2014 and the date he was last currently insured for disability could have been before that. Unless his disability date is far enough back to be while he was still insured, he will not receive any benefits based on his earnings record.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Tracey.

  • Dear Tracy,

    I cannot give you a definitive answer for your situation. I can give you some things to think about and perhaps places to start in making decisions.

    It is true in general that a person can amend tax returns back three years and fifteen days, meaning you could in theory change your taxes for 2013 through 2015 if you do it before April 15 this year. However, I recommend that you find out from a certified tax accountant whether it is legal under IRS law to claim fewer deductions than you actually had in the context of doing it in order to claim benefits.

    Regarding the impact on your Social Security claim, the mechanism to try to prove insured status would be to submit a copy of the amended tax returns (if you amend them) and proof of paying your Social Security taxes for those years. You need to submit this documentation when you complete filing your claim. Whether or not they are accepted as valid tax returns with valid earnings would be determined by a Social Security claims representative at the time you filed the claim. If they were accepted as valid, your claim would be sent for a medical review. If you were approved medically, the returns would be reviewed again by a claims authorizer in the payment center before final approval for payment. The question under review would be whether you were falsifying information to get benefits vs. their just accepting the amended returns because the IRS accepted them and you paid the taxes. (The underlying issue is that Social Security Disability is supposed to replace lost earnings and if a person doesn’t have work earnings or very little earnings in the ten years before disability, there is little loss.)

    I reviewed the work credits you listed and have three observations:

    1) You might have the potential of increasing the number of credits by 10 credits as follows: 4 in 2015, 2 in 2014 and 4 in 2013. Required earnings for a single quarter of coverage for those years are 2013, $1,160; 2014, $1,200; and 2015; $1,220.

    2) Based on the information you provided, if you became disabled in 2016, I calculate that you are short 4 credits, not 2, because in addition to being fully insured, you must be currently insured, which is having 20 quarters of coverage (work credits) in the 40 calendar quarters prior to disability (i. e., 10 years, but not necessary exact calendar years if disability began mid-year). The 10-year period for disability in 2016 would be mid-2006 to mid-2016 and that is the period for which I calculated 16 credits.

    3) Social Security’s definition of disability includes the inability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which in self-employment was $1,070 net profit per month in 2014 and $1,090 in 2015, along with other factors such as the number of hours worked per month and duties performed. If your health was a factor in your low earnings in 2015 or 2014 and you have medical documentation of significant limitations from that far back in time, you might be considered disabled in those years. If so, you would have enough quarters of coverage without filing amended tax returns because you could include 2005’s four credits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Greg.

  • Dear Greg,

    If I understand correctly, your wife’s work for the county was not covered by Social Security, that is, no FICA taxes were withheld from her pay. If that is the case, she is not eligible for Social Security because when she became disabled (had to stop work) in 2006 she was not currently insured for Social Security Disability. To be insured she would have to have earned twenty work credits between 1997 and 2006.

    If on the other hand, her county work was covered by Social Security, she can file a claim now; but she will have to prove that she became disabled while still insured. In this scenario, she’d have to prove disability by about 2011. If she is unsure about the taxation of her wages, she can find out when she was last insured by going to http://www.ssa.gov and creating a My Social Security account. Then she can request an earnings statement, which will show all of her Social Security taxed earnings and the date she was last insured for disability if she ever had enough credits to be insured. If she has trouble getting the information, the local office should be able to tell her when she was last insured. As an aside, you might check to see whether she was covered for a public employee’s disability pension based on her county work and, if so, whether she could apply now.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Andy Dikens

    Hello Kay !
    I became disabled last year and collect SSI because I didn’t have enough work credits to qualify . But I did work for 13 of the past 15 years full time out of the country ( in Canada , as I am a dual citizen) . Can those years of work count as credits towards the required work credits for SSDI , and how can I request the SSA take those into account ? Thank you very much !

    • Dear Andy,

      Canada and the United States do have a cooperative international agreement to use work credits for work done in both countries for qualification for retirement benefits. It is possible that the same is true for disability benefits; however, usually the country where the most work has been performed is the country in which the claim must be filed. In other words, you may have to file for Canadian social insurance disability benefits and have them count U.S. work credits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Mary,

    To be insured for Social Security Disability, you must have earned twenty quarters of coverage in the forty quarters (ten years) before you became disabled. Four credits is the maximum that can be earned in a year. When I look at your work history, I actually see only 19 quarters because you earned three in 2009 (one quarter in 2009 = $1,090) and none in 2008.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Katie,

    The minimum number of credits needed to receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) is six. I think you are being told that your local office will be contacting you to update information about your income and assets to evaluate whether you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, which are based on financial need rather than work credits. If you have not been contacted within about a week, I suggest you either go to the office or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment for the financial update interview.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Heather,

    You do not say how much your husband is receiving in workers compensation benefits and Social Security benefits or whether your youngest child is receiving Social Security dependent benefits. If you would like to provide that information, I can give you an idea of whether you and/or your disabled child qualify financially for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    To be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), you must be both fully insured and currently insured when disability begins. Currently insured means having twenty work credits in the ten years before disability begins. For you to be eligible for Social Security Disability based on your own earnings record, you have to prove that you became disabled while you were still insured. Based on dates you provided, you were probably last insured in about 2010 or 2011. (The Social Security Administration can give you the exact date.) If your prior Social Security claim was denied while you were still insured, you could file a new claim with an alleged date of disability after the last decision and before your insured status expired.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ramazan,

    You can receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for yourself. Your wife will be eligible only if she is disabled.

    You can work and earn credits at a rate of four per calendar year. I have listed below the amount of gross wages needed to earn one quarter of coverage (credit). If you spread the work out evenly over the year, your monthly earnings will be low enough that you can qualify financially for SSI, although it would not be the full amount. Also, if you have not done so yet, your family could apply for SNAP (food purchase card) and the family might qualify for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). You can apply for both of these benefits at your local state or county social services office.

    One Quarter of Coverage
    2016 $1,260
    2017 $1,300
    2018 and 2018 = amount to be determined

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Shana Williams

    Hi. I’m currently 46 and have not worked outside the home since I was 38. Before this I was a full time RN. Husband and I decided to have two more children and that I was going to stay home with them until they started school. Unfortunately, after the birth of the youngest in 2011 (I was 41), I became ill. I was later diagnosed with SeroNegative Rheumatoid Arthritis and I have gone down hill since. I applied for SSDI but was denied as I hadn’t worked. I don’t understand though since I had been gainfully employed full time for years and years prior to 2008 with incomes ranging between $30-50 per hour. (I was a travel nurse). What do I do to get disability? I am unable to work in my chosen profession, I need help with housework and daily living activities. I can barely walk our driveway to the bus stop most days, the pain and stiffness are so bad. Help!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shana,

      Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) is intended to replace lost earnings caused by having to stop work due to disability. Accordingly, it requires that you be both fully insured and currently insured. Currently insured for a person age thirty-one or more means earning at least half of the work credits called quarters of coverage that it is possible to earn in the ten years before you became disabled. To be eligible for benefits, you would have to prove that you became disabled while you were still insured.

      I suggest that you either ask Social Security to give you the date you were last insured or that you go online at http://www.ssa.gov, set up a “My Social Security” account, and request an earnings statement, which will show all your earnings by year and give you the date you were last insured for disability. (Note that you are probably insured for retirement benefits at retirement age.)

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the other disability benefit program that Social Security administers does not have a work credit requirement. It does have an income and asset limit for the family. The allowable amount of income your spouse can have depends on whether it is earned or unearned income and the number of minor children being supported.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Charlotte

    Hi Kay,

    Thank you so much for your site. I’m almost 39 and all I want is to live on my own. I became disabled at age 29 and barely had enough work credits to qualify (a year of volunteer work finally put me over the top), so I only receive $757 per month now, plus $133 in food stamps. It’s not enough to live on and I’ve been trapped in Florida and an unhealthy relationship because I can’t afford to live on my own. I’m on more than a dozen waiting lists for Section 8 or public housing, but it’s been over a year and could take 5-10 more. My assets are a bit high for SSI, which wouldn’t add much anyway. Is there anything I can do to increase my SSDI benefit? It’s simply not enough to live on in my condition. Is it possible to increase my benefit by earning more work credits at this point, working part time? If so, how? I appreciate any light you can shed on my dilemma. This system is so dysfunctional and demoralizing.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Charlotte,

      Given that you have a limited work history, it is possible that working part-time might increase your benefits the following year. If you work, you need to report to Social Security that you have started work, the type of job, number of hours per week, and estimated gross work earnings. This information is needed for Social Security to determine whether your earnings will be high enough ($810) for you to use one of your nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months during which full benefits are payable and/or to evaluate whether you are performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), which in 2016 is usually $1,130 gross. You can read about these and other work incentives in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      A solution to your housing problem might be to move to a less expensive geographic area where rents are cheaper and/or the waiting list for government-subsidized housing is not as long. Another would be to find another roommate with whom to share housing costs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Charlotte

        Thank you, Kay. Is it possible to increase my benefits by working freelance from home as an occasional web designer but earning less than the SGA minimum each month? I can’t work for someone else.

        Thanks again,
        Charlotte

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Charlotte,

          Please see my reply to your first post.

          Thank you,
          Kay

  • Gordon Goodwin

    I currently have SSI. According to my case worker, I have 19 quarters of the required 20 in order to qualify for SSDI.

    I have two instances where I can show income where my employer never sent a 1099-Misc form and taxes were not paid. The years for that income are 2008 and 2010. I can show invoices and bank activity to substantiate the work.

    I have had my accountant complete the tax amendment forms for those years; however, the adjustments result in a larger refund. I am not looking for a refund, just credit for the earnings. How can I deal with the IRS 3 year filing limit and pay the taxes required for those quarters of income to count?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gordon,

      You are correct that you need to pay Social Security taxes on earnings in order to get Social Security work credits. Where self-employment (1099 work) is involved, I don’t know that you can go back more than three years because you had the responsibility to file self-employment tax returns and pay the taxes at that time. I suggest that you discuss the issue with your tax accountant.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Steve

    I have been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and have been unemployed for 1 and half years. I have been self employed for ten years prior and have not paid my federal tax for the last 6 years even though I filed. Would not paying SE tax affect my ability to collect SSD?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Steve,

      You do not have coverage for Social Security Disability (SSD/SSDI) because you have not paid your Social Security taxes. If you can pay your taxes, you can get coverage. You have to have twenty quarters of coverage–four of which can be earned per year–in the ten years before you became disabled. This means that you have to pay your taxes for at least four years and that is if you can prove you became disabled when you stopped work. If you can only prove disability now, you may have to pay the most recent five years. See the amounts of earnings that are needed for each quarter of coverage. (Note that you can apply for Supplemental Security Income [SSI] if your income and assets are low enough because SSI does not require work credits.)

      Earnings needed for one quarter of coverage
      2008 $1,050
      2009 $1,090
      2010 $1,120
      2011 $1,120
      2012 $1,130
      2013 $1,160
      2014 $1,200
      2015 $1,220
      2016 $1,260

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Hi I was hit by a truck 6years ago. My back, hip, and shoulder was injured. Iam stil have pain in all areas. I haven’t been see by doctor since about 2011. I put in an application for ssd 2years ago and I was denied. I wanted to know if I can put in another one being that it’s been so long?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Latasha,

          You can file a Social Security Disability (SSD) application; however, if you have not been working, you may no longer be insured for SSD. The Social Security Administration also administers the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program that pays benefits to disabled and aged individuals who have limited income and assets. You can file an application for SSI at the same time as you apply for SSD. If you meet the SSI financial guidelines, your claim will be evaluated medically.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Benita

    Hi Kay.
    I have a question I’m hoping you can answer. I receive SSI at the time social security said I had 24 points, credits, but I need 29 for SSD. My sister says even though I worked for my brother who at the timed owned his own flooring company, I should have credits for this well he has since passed and I don’t know how to go about proving I worked for him (wife wont help) what can I do, if anything?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Benita,

      If your brother gave you a W-2 form showing that you and he paid Social Security taxes on your wages or you received a 1099 and you paid your own self-employment tax, your tax records would prove that you worked and paid Social Security taxes, thereby earning Social Security quarters of coverage.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Nancy

    Hi, a family member just became a resident. He used a Tax ID number from 2006 to 2012. Prior to that he used a false SS number but still did his taxes. He is 74 years old, ,is he eligible ? He does not have enough credits under the official Tax ID number, what is he eligible for?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nancy,

      The family member can go to Social Security with the false Social Security number and a list of the employers where he used that number and ask to have his earnings record straightened out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • John D Pangburn

    I am currently awaiting a decision on my SSDI benefits.. My girlfriend is on SSI. Will my benefits affect hers if I move in with her even though we aren’t contemplating marriage?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      Your income does not affect your girlfriend’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) even if you live together. However, if you pay more than your share of shelter expenses and/or of food if you share food, she would be getting income from you and that would cause her SSI to be reduced.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • T.R.V

    My wife was tentatively diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001 at age 31. Through two years of tests, they could not prove it was MS, but they ruled everything else out so they decided it had to be MS. She immediately decided she couldn’t work anymore so she quit and we tried to get SSDI for her, but were denied. About six years later, the diagnosis was withdrawn because she had shown no signs of progression and her symptoms were inconsistent. Later that year, she had a severe psychotic break and the real disease became obvious.

    She was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder, but refused to accept that diagnosis. She has been hospitalized three times, one of which was after an attempted suicide. Now after eight years of dealing with escalating abuse, I have decided to divorce her. She is non-compliant with all medication or treatment of any kind. She hasn’t worked a day in 14½ years, so I know she doesn’t qualify for SSDI. If I had to guess, I’d say she has less than 20 quarters worked in her entire adult life all before she was incorrectly diagnosed with MS.

    Is there anything for her to supplement her finances if we divorce besides what she gets from me after I get raked over the coals? I’m hoping to reduce my spousal support payments based on her ability to have additional income.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear T.V.R.,

      Depending on the amount of spousal support your wife is receiving, she may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The maximum $733 federal payment would be reduced by all but $20 of the spousal support, so if the spousal support is $753 or more per month, she will not be eligible for SSI unless her state offers a higher SSI state supplement.

      Later when you retire and receive Social Security and when she is at least age sixty-two, she will be eligible for divorced spouse’s benefits because you were married ten years. (Her spousal benefits will not reduce your benefits.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Robin R Minor

    Hello Kate. I am so confused. I have had high blood pressure for over 20 years. But it has got worse in the last 4 years. I’ve had a stroke and slight heart condition attack. My blood pressure is over 200 everyday. Even with medications. I’m 50 years old, I have headaches, dizzy spells and fainting spells. My vision stays blurry. I have chest pains everyday also. Some days not bad. I do believe I have enough creditts also. But I don’t know which one to apply for. I’ve been under 2 specialist care and hospitalized more than once. And for days at a time. I’ve been out of work now since February. But I applied in December. Which is best for me? SSID OR SSI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robin,

      Apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) and ask to be financially screened for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If your income and assets are within the SSI limits an application will be taken for both benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • J.K.

    Hello Kay, I really need some clarification. I’m confused and discouraged right now. I am a 29 year old male who has been permanently disabled from a severe spinal cord injury since the age of 15. I am wheelchair bound and unable to walk. I am now engaged and about to marry within the next two years. I do not want my fiance/future wife to be the primary breadwinner. I DO receive SSI but that can be compromised once we marry if her income is taken into account. My benefits will likely be lessened and add more strain to our situation. And we want children soon after marrying. With SSI I can’t get benefits for our kids, but with SSDI this is possible.

    I want to contribute and build a life with the love of my life. Taking care of me and my issues is already a challenge. Financially straining her or taking away from her earnings because we want to marry is not acceptable. I was not able to work earlier in my life because I was put in a nursing home very soon after being hurt. I remained there with no prospect for a better life up until 2 1/2years ago.

    Since I have no work credits and I am receiving SSI is it possible for me to start working now with a part-time job (I have a prospect for a great part time, work from home deal) to become eligible for not only SSDI but eventually Medicare and retirement?

    I was talking it over with my fiance and she said from what she was reading it seems that I needed to have worked within three years of my injury to be eligible for these things. However I was so young the summer I got hurt, I turned 15. So, which would be the better option? Should I completely stop accepting disability and just work a part-time job for a few years to become eligible for these benefits or should I apply for the Ticket to Work Program? My concern about the ticket to work program is that since I am still eligible to receive SSI through that program I will not be able to put into retirement or qualify for Medicare one day, (which I really want to be able to do) or even qualify for SSDI. See we want to have children and I figure if I work hard enough should I need it one day I’ll be able to claim SSDI.

    I’m also in college right now and working on a degree. I hope to have a career once I’m done but I will not be finished for another 3 years or so because I’m pursuing my Master’s. So in the meantime I figured I need to see what I can to do to become eligible for SSDI if at all possible given my unique circumstances. It’s not that I didnt want to work it’s just that I never had the chance until recently. Side note, I also wonder if I voluntarily quit SSI after securing a job, which truthfully will only pay about as much as my SSI but its independent…would I forfeit eligibility for Medicaid and supplemental foodstamps. Please advise because the information on the web sites don’t really address my particular situation thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear J.K.,

      You can work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn Social Security quarters of coverage (work credits) while receiving SSI if your earnings are not too high for SSI eligibility. Medicaid will continue if you are eligible for at least $1 a month SSI. Depending on your earnings, shelter costs, and medical expenses, you might be able to get Medicaid even if your SSI stops because your earnings are too high.

      You have to be both fully insured and currently insured for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Fully insured means having one quarter of coverage for every year between age twenty-one “when disability begins.” Because you became disabled before were twenty-one, the minimum number of six quarters applies. To be currently insured, you need six quarters of coverage of a disability date starting before you are age twenty-one. You can claim that original date as long as you do not perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) while you are earning your quarters of coverage. Currently, earnings below $1,130 gross per month are not usually considered SGA. The quickest you can earn the six quarters is sometime next year. Currently $1,260 gross earns one quarter. To earn the maximum four quarters in 2016, you would need to gross $5,040 this year or $720 average per month, which would result in an SSI reduction of about $317 a month unless you apply for and have a PASS approved. (See below about a PASS).

      The amount of your SSD benefit, once you are insured, is based on your total earnings, so initially your benefit might be quite low and low enough that it would not provide dependent benefits. It might even allow continuing reduced SSI, although Social Security plus part-time earnings would likely result in no SSI.

      If you become entitled to SSD based on part-time earnings and continue to earn less than $1,130 a month, you could continue to gradually increase your Social Security benefit while receiving SSD. You would become eligible for Medicare after twenty-four months of SSD benefits.

      You can request and develop a Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) with the help of the Social Security Administration. If the PASS is approved, you can have your work earnings excluded if you need them to pay for school costs or for other expenses that would move you toward financial independence such as a specially equipped van so that you can later drive to work. To have a PASS, you need a specific occupational goal that your education is leading to.

      Another possible scenario is that you will complete your degree, start working full-time and earn too much to be considered disabled, and continue working until retirement age or, if health problems worsened, apply for SSD later in life.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • My name is Rebecca I worked for government for 17 years and I put ss in for work before that I have 38,000 in social security from 20 years ago why can’t I get my money that I put into

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Rebecca,

          The Social Security taxes you paid are not refundable. You may have worked enough to receive Social Security Retirement benefits when you reach retirement age even though you do not have recent credits needed for disability benefits.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • JOHN KLEPSIC

    Dear Kay I have a question I have been disabled since 1996 my kid gets 608 off my benefits she is now 18 and the money she gets I count on for the bills in the household does that go back to my or do I loose that amount and can I request a raise or what should I do.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      Dependent benefits are paid extra in addition to your own benefit to cover the cost of supporting the child. Once your child is not longer a minor and a dependent, the dependent benefits stop. Your benefits will not increase.The idea behind this is that the adult child can support himself or herself at that point. Note that if the child is under nineteen and still in high school, the child is considered to still be dependent. If that is the case, you can submit form SSA-1372-BK completed by the school for continuation of benefits until the earlier of age nineteen or graduation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Leslie GARNER

    I’m 42 years old and I have my 40 credits in so can I retired at age 42 on the credits I have?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Leslie,

      You can apply for reduced retirement benefits at age sixty-two. The reduction is permanent. To receive full retirement benefits, you have to wait until age sixty-seven. Your forty credits insure you, but the amount of your retirement benefits is based on your thirty-five years of highest earnings. If you are disabled, you can apply for benefits now and the benefit will be comparable to the unreduced retirement you would get with the same work history.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Luis J Tavarez

      How can I find out that info

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Luis,

        I can’t find what you are referring to. If you let me know what information you are looking for, I will see if I can assist.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Christina

    Hey
    My son has cerebral palsy and has been in ssi and he had medicaid. His died and he started getting death benefits but they dropped his medicaid. He will be 19 in October and he is still in high school. Can he get back on medicaid and his ssi for his disabilities after the death benefits stop? Also is there anyway we can go through a different ss office because they really messed us up and told me I had to repay monies. When I got a lawyer to look into it they could even tell her why they was withholding money or how much they had withheld or how much more they thought he still needed to pay.. thanks fir your help. Alabama is where we live.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christina,

      You can go to any office you want. The SSI program requires that your son receive all other benefits possible so that SSI is the payer of last resort. Accordingly, if he applies for SSI, he will be required to apply for Social Security Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) that are paid to surviving children who became disabled before age twenty-two. This will likely mean that he will continue to be ineligible for SSI and possibly Medicaid. I suggest that he apply for CDB benefits now because it takes two to five months to get a decision. Put on the application that he received SSI until he got survivor SS benefits.

      After two years of CDB benefits, your son will receive Medicare insurance. In the meantime, if his Medicaid stopped less than sixty days ago, he can apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and may qualify for a government subsidy to help with the premiums. If it has been more than sixty days, he can apply during the next open enrollment period in November and December. More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Geri

    I am receiving SSI right now because I became disabled in 2015 or that is what SS back oayed me for. On the web site where u log in your own personal page it says you have enough credits if you become disabled right now, apply here. So I applied and SS denied me saying I didn’t have enough credits but the web site says I do. What do I do??? Really confused

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Geri,

      It may be that you were denied because your 2014 and 2015 earnings were not yet posted. Request and print out an earnings statement (not a benefit statement) through your online “My Social Security Account.” It will list all your earnings on file with Social Security except possibly 2015. File an appeal if you are within sixty days of the insured status denial. If you are outside the appeals period, make a written request for Social Security to reopen the decision based on evidence that you were or are now insured. Submit a copy of the earnings statement and your 2015 W-2s if your 2015 earnings are not on the statement. The basis of your appeal or reopening request is that Social Security now shows you as being insured.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jeremy

    I was disabled at 16. Paraplegic. At 30 I currently get the child benefit which is about 390 then combined with the SSI allowable. How would the Social Security Credit situation work in my situation. I would like to earn my own Social Security but how many work credits would i need at this point. Starting from 0 and disabled at 16.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jeremy,

      The rule is that you have to have earned credits equaling half the calendar quarters between age twenty-one and the age at which you became disabled, except the least required is six. This presumes that disability occurs after age twenty-one. For disability occurring before age twenty-one, six quarters is required, but it is assumed that that work occurred before disability.

      There are several scenarios about how work activity could play out and too much to try to go into in this written correspondence as related work return to work incentives.The maximum quarters that can be earned a year is four, so you would need to work in at least two calendar years. You would also have to work a short enough time or earn less than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level in order not to lose your CDB benefits because you stopped being disabled continuously before age twenty-two, as evidenced by work above SGA for six months or longer).

      I will provide a few bits of related information.
      1. It does not matter how long or short of time you work in each year to earn the four quarters.
      2. Right now $1,260 gross wages or net self-employment earns one quarter.
      3. Currently, Substantial Gainful Activity earnings level is $1,130.
      3. Your SSI will be reduced or terminated by part of your work earnings.
      4. Depending on your remaining income, you might lose your Medicaid if SSI is terminated.
      5. If you become insured for Social Security on your own earnings record while continuing to be disabled as defined by Social Security law, you can receive both CDB and SSDI.
      6. Your SSDI may not be more than the CDB.
      7. If your parent(s) is living, your CDB benefit may go up when your parent(s) pass away.
      8. You can request a Ticket to Work and take advantage of the return to work incentives for your CDB benefits. The incentives are described in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • dawn

    Hi Kay, I came across this website doing some research and I see you have a lot of knowledge regarding SSI/SSDI benefits.On 10/14/2015 my husband was in MVA causing major trauma. He broke his neck,left shoulder and has brachial plexus injury to his right arm with paralysis. He underwent 3 surgeries to his left shoulder which all have failed. His occupation was a truck driver and heavy equipment operator. He was on his way home from work when the accident happened. My question is I pulled his SS statement and for the past 10 years he has worked but probably 4 out of the 10 years he made low income because of other reasons. Some years he made 30 40 thousand a year. It was very hit and miss with the income range. Does this sound like he may have a possibility of teceiving SSD?? I figured up his credits and my calculation he has 24 credits over the past 10 years. He is 45 years old. Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dawn,

      It is the number of credits that determines eligibility. (Earnings determine amount of benefits.) Based on the twenty-four credits in the past ten years, your husband is currently insured for disability. He has to also be fully insured. If he worked prior to the ten years you reference, he may also be fully insured. The earnings record you reference should say whether or not he insured and give a benefit estimate. If you are still in doubt, I recommend that he file a claim to get a formal determination.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kay-
        I have been on disability since April 2005. I receive approx 2300 a month and my daughter receives 1100. What would our family’s max Amt be per month(approx) should my spouse have been receiving benefits… If so now we are getting divorced whose money would it be.. I am assuming we would split it since we were married and we have to split everything 50/50. Would he be entitled for his benefit after we are divorced.. Final question would be regarding back pay

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Perri,

          You can find out the amount of your family maximum benefit (FMB) by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. If your benefit and your daughter’s benefit combined are less than the FMB, your spouse is eligible for benefits if he had your child under age sixteen in his care or he is age sixty-two.

          Social Security law governs payment of benefits, not state law or divorce rulings. Your benefits will be paid to you as will your daughter’s if she remains in your care. If you have been married at least ten years, your husband can apply for divorced spouse’s benefits when he reaches age sixty-two and his benefits will be paid outside the FMB, except in some cases remarriage terminates eligiblity.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Deborah L Dey-Ermand

    I just found out I am short my working credits. I quit my job to work with my husband (Joint owners of a business). I don’t understand why I don’t have credits for that? Is there anything I can do to recoup that, or do presently to get credits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deborah,

      I suggest that you check with the business’ tax accountant to find out why no earnings show up for you. it may have to do with how the business reported its profits and whether or not you drew a salary. If an error has been made, maybe the tax accountant can file amended tax returns for the most recent years.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • David chavez

    I have a question I was receiving my benefits both social security and ssi for years and then I got into some trouble and had to go away to prison for a few years…so upon my release I applied to have my benefits reinstated and yes they reinstated the social security ONLY ($504)but the ssi. I had to reapply as per ssi rules that if u are incarcerated longer than 11 consecutive months u must file a new app.OK I did that and have been denied twice,had to hire an attorney, and next is a hearing b4 an alj.what I don’t understand is why they denied me ?!? I was already on it.and doesn’t it contradict itself due to the fact that I am receiving only partial benefits ? I di dnt work enough in my life to receive full SOC.sec benefits which is why I need the ssi cuz $504 iis clearly not enough to live on.what I’m saying is if I would have never got locked up I would still be receiving my benefits to date correct?it doesn’t make sense to me that I can only receive the $504 …please help me w a response because I feel like it’s almost a big mistake on their part or misunderstanding …SOC.sec declared me full disability in 2001.and now they’re saying I only qualify for a part of that …hmmm…not even my attorney has EVER seen a case such as mine…thank u so much

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear David,

      You and your attorney are correct. If you are medically eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI), you are medically disabled for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The same criteria apply.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Pat Braley

    I am 58years old trying to get Disability from social security. I don’t have enough work credits of my own. My husband is 64 and receives social security. If I can prove I am disabled, can I file for spousal benefits off his work credits. Thank you for help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Pat,

      Your question was already asked under the name of Diane Braley. Please see my response to that question.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Deborah Carman

    What are the credits required at age 42? If somebody has been denied their own SSDI after working 10 years in a facility that assisted with people with cognitive deficits, is it only possibly to apply for SSI during the appeal period or is it possible to apply under his parents for their insured benefits? (They’re retired, not on disability) My last question is what are the special rules to take a case to federal court past the allotted time? Thank you so much!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deborah,

      For disability beginning at age forty-two, you have to have forty quarters of coverage (work credits) and twenty of them have to be in the ten years prior to becoming disabled. If you do not have the required work credits, there is no point in appealing.

      You can file a new application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at any time.

      To be eligible for disabled adult child benefits on your parents’ earnings records if you have been continuously disabled since prior to age twenty-two. Your work activity is taken into consideration in determining whether disability has been continuous since before age twenty-two. If in the years that you worked you earned less than Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) earnings levels and you are unmarried, you might qualify for disabled adult child benefits. I have listed below the amount of gross earnings that usually is considered substantial; however, because you worked in a sheltered workshop, your work might not be considered SGA even if you worked over SGA levels. I suggest that you file a claim to get a formal decision. Be sure to submit a clear statement of the nature of work you have done, special help or supervision you have received, and the fact that you are working in a sheltered workshop.

      SGA
      In calendar year 2016, $1130
      In calendar year 2015, $1090
      In calendar year 2014, $1070
      In calendar year 2013, $1040
      In calendar year 2012, $1010
      In calendar year 2011, $1000
      In calendar year 2010, $1000
      In calendar year 2009, $980
      In calendar year 2008, $940
      In calendar year 2007, $900
      In calendar year 2006, $860
      In calendar year 2005, $830
      In calendar year 2004, $810
      In calendar year 2003, $800
      In calendar year 2002, $780

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Therese Malbrough

    Am 48 years old. I’ve been sick on and off more off than on I have a severe pain in both of my hips shoulders neck and back I have severe migraines and high blood pressure I also find myself talking to myself and it has esculated into answering myself I am constantly crying and laughing. At the same time I work for the sips as a mail handler now for three years and it seems every month or so am calling in sick and have been wrote up even with doctor statements to back it up can you please tell me if you think I have a case

    Thanks in advance

    Therese

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Therese,

      If you either earn less than $1,130 gross or you lose your job, I suggest applying for Social Security Disability. If you do, try to submit documentation that you lost your job for excessive absenteeism and any other problems that might have occurred on the job. In the meantime, I suggest that you see a psychiatrist and possibly a therapist for evaluation and possible treatment of your emotional swings.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Elizabeth

    I applied for Social Security Disability and i was denied saying I did not have enough work credits to qualify. I stop working 6 1/2 years before I became disabled in June of 2015. I don’ understand how I don’t have enough credits to still qualify for disability benefits when I worked for 24 years of my life and made 25,000 -30,000 a year? I have diabetes now and have severe nerve damage to both of my feet, I have what is called charcot and both of my arches are collapsed I can barely walk and also have eye problems I am 53 years old & married. I don’t understand how I can pay into the system all those years and I don’t qualify for any benefits when I really need the help with so many medical bills.
    Thank You!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Elizabeth,

      Your work has earned you a retirement benefit when you reach retirement age.

      Disability benefits are intended to replace lost earnings. Your disability did not cause you to lose earnings (it had been six years since you had earnings), so you are not eligible. Under the law, to be considered to have lost earnings, you had to have worked and earned a minimum of half the work credits possible in the ten years before disability, which you didn’t because you didn’t work for more than half of those ten years.

      With regard to medical bills, sometimes hospitals will write off part of a bill based on financial need, if you apply for such help.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sanja

    Hi,I would to ask you is my spouse can give me a 1 credit become I have 19 credits.To cvolifay for SSDI I need to have 20 credits.I am heart at work and I can’ do any work .My question is how I can get that one credit if I’m enabled to work.For SSI I’m not qualified because my housband earns enough.What to do. My housband work for school sistem as I did before I was heart.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sanja,

      Your husband cannot give you a work credit. If your health would allow you to work in some sedentary, undemanding work to earn $1,220 gross in 2016, you can earn a credit that way. If the timing is right with the other work credits, the work could insure you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • San

        First thank you for your response on my question . What if I have paper from Doctor that say I’m unable to work in any capacity.What to do I need your best advice. Thank you again

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear San,

          If you have not filed a disability claim and your doctor expects you to be disabled for at least a year, you should file a Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income disability claim. You should submit the letter to support your claim and keep a copy for your records. Information about how to file a claim can be found under the “Apply for SSD” tab on the navigation bar at the top of each page on this website.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Sanja kos

            Hi this is Sanja again.Do you know anyone in Annapolis area or surrounding that will help me get a hearing with a judge about my 1 work credit that’s needed. I have a letter from the doctor that states I cannot work in any capacity. I got a letter back from school disability they denied and they said I had 30 days to appeal and had to write a letter to the director of the retirement agency. But I’m not sure what or how to do that or how to compose the letter? Can you please help

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sanja,

              Check with the Maryland Bar Association for attorneys in your area who have a practice that includes Social Security. As far as the “school disability” with the thirty-day appeal period, this sounds like something other than Social Security, so I am unable to offer guidance.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Sanja kos

            Can I earn one working credit as self employment or household worker.For example I work for my brother and he pay me $600 monthly.Can I earn w.c. On this way, and if I can what I need to do end what kind of paper I need to fill.If you have any idea it would help me a lot.(this options is because I have paper from Doctor thet I’m unable to work in any capacity.With all my respect..thank you

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sanja,

              If your brother withheld Social Security taxes from your wages and paid both your withheld taxes and the employer’s portion of the Social Security tax to the Internal Revenue Service, your work for your brother has earned you work credits. When you file a claim, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will check your earnings record to see if you have enough credits to be insured. Even if you do not have enough work credits, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you have low income and assets. (SSA) processes SSI claims also.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Paul

    Hi I have a question . my uncle is over 65. They took his ssi away because he was missing g three months of work. How does he get it back. My grandmother is supposedly his caregiver and she is supposedly trying to help him get it back. But he had 4 life insurance checks and she cashed one for 8 grand without his consent and is redoing his kitchen with the money and he didn’t consent to it. Because he lives with his mom and supposedly they’re doing it to help her see better. Does he have to spend all this money before he can get his ssi back. He did not want to spend the money he didn’t plan on cashing the checks in. But my grandmother has power of attorney so she just cashes his check without his knowing and decided to do this kitchen. Her husband wulill be getting the house after his mother passes. Doea this have anything to do with getting ssi back. She is saying he can’t have the checks in order to get it so she is spending them on remodeling the house when he lives there and had no say on what the money got spent on. I just want to know how he can get his ssi back . I feel bad for what he is going through I feel like she is going to spend his money then he is not going to get ssi

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Paul,

      The only way your uncle will become insured for Social Security Disability or Retirement is to work and earn the missing three credits.

      I think that your grandmother is referring to trying to get him Supplemental Security Income (SSI) based on his age and on having countable income and assets below a certain limit. If he has certain kinds of life insurance that have countable value over $2,000, he is not be eligible for SS. She may be trying to spend down so he can become eligible; however, spending the money on a house he does not own is like giving it away (even though he lives in the house), which could still bar him from getting SSI. Transfer of $8,000 could bar eligibility for about eleven months. That said, if he is living in the house rent free, then the $8,000 might be considered payment of rent.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michelle

    Hi! I responded to the wrong article prior. My close friend suffered a stroke at 40. She had not worked the previous 10 years because she was raising her children. She had worked for over 20 years prior to having her children. She spent an average of at least 16 hours a week volunteering at their school every year. She had planned on going back to work soon to start saving. She was denied SSDI due to lack of current work credits. This seems pretty unfair as she had worked, was caring for children, and providing services to our government through volunteer work. Is there a clause for parents caring for dependents? Also, is there a way for her to quantify the hours she worked as a volunteer to act as work credits? I did the math and at 10 dollars an hour, she saved our government about 7,000 dollars a year. This all seem very unjust for her and her family. She worked hard and took care of her family. Could a lawyer help her, or is this pretty cut and dry denial? Thanks!!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michelle,

      Please see my response to your first post.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rebecca

    I’m a little confused about the work credits. What is the amount needed to earn these credits for tax year 2015? I can’t determine if they use the amount from 2015 or from 2016.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rebecca,

      A person can earn up to four quarters of coverage (work credits) per year. In 2015 and in 2016, $1,220 gross earns one credit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Natalie Braxton

    Hi Kay,
    I am concerned about some money that SSA should be sending me.
    I started out my social security disability claim with an advocator helping me out. Then later on after I didnt get much from the advocator I switched to an attorney that had more experience. I ended up winning my case. But after I won my case and received my backpay, I received one particular letter that advised me that 10k of my backpay was being held because the judge needed to determine whether or not the attorney or the former advocator would get the full 6k. I just found out from my attorney’s office that they received their payment from SSA last month after seeing the judge. My attorney told me that he got $4000 and the judge granted the advocator $2000. My attorney told me that I should receive that remaining 4K that was held. So I have been waiting and still have not received anything from SSA. I am hoping that you have some advice for me. I recently called SSA and the rep I got told me that she did not see anything in the system showing that the 4k was being processed. Do you happen to know anything about how this works? I greatly appreciate you in advance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Natalie,

      If you have not received the remaining $4,000 by about January 20, ask your local office to send a memo to the payment center asking for a status on the payment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Natalie Braxton

        Thank you Kay! You are so helpful and I really appreciate your advice! =)

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Natalie.

  • Jason Bavaro

    Im 37 years old I called the office they said I have 34 work and credits and the last time I worked was November 2013 I develpoed PTSD,anxiety, depression, after my 23 brother kill himself after trying to kill me.I have a lot of physical issues too like 6 herniated disks one fractured disc.hepititus c,copd,sleep apnea.when do they consider you disabled when the incident occurred or when the doctor declares it and am I eligible with the work facts I gave you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jason,

      Dear Jason,

      If twenty of the thirty-four work credits were earned in the ten years before you became disabled, you have enough work credits to be insured. I suggest that you file a claim and get a formal decision. Usually,the established disability date is the date that you first have medical evidence of your condition. If there is lag time between the incident and when you got medical and psychiatric treatment, include a description of any functional problems you were having during that time frame. If anyone observed the problems, they could write up what they observed being sure to give the time frame.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Valerie J. Gamble

    Hi,
    I would like to know what kind of benefits from ssi is going to give me when I have already been approved for ssdi and I had enough credit points already. The amount for my ssdi is well over the amount for ssi. So I thought if you have enough credit points for ssdi then you can’t get ssi. They said it was back pay for the time I became disabled in 2013. I will receive back pay for my ssdi. Please explain. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Valerie,

      You will receive SSI for months between the month of application and the first month you receive a Social Security benefit. Your Social Security back pay for the same period will be reduced by the amount of SSI paid for that same period.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Susan

    What dose it mean that my last insured date is DEC 31 2015 dose that mean my disalitity will end

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susan,

      Your disability has to have begun on or before your last insured date in order to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Benefits do not end on the date last insured.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • beckie

    If you are single with no dependants and you are approved for disability do you receive the full family payment

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Beckie,

      Dependent benefits paid under the family maximum are paid to support dependents. If you have no dependents, only your own benefit is payable.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • I am a newton wijesinghe, I am 67 years old, I don’t have any income, My wife fast away, she not put my name survivor benefit and life insurance. I lost both, I was apply my social security, I have a only 38 point, I am now 3 month behind my mortgage, can I get any help.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Newton,

        If your wife worked and was insured for Social Security survivor benefits, you can draw benefits on her account without her “putting your name on survivor benefits.” You just have to present a marriage certificate to Social Security. You can also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) based on your age. The Social Security Administration accepts applications for and administers SSI. You can learn more about SSI by reading the articles under the “SSI” tab on the navigation bar at the top of this website page.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Janice Marie Aguilar

    Hi Kay, I am very confused and really didn’t have any one to turn to for answers but I thought of you. You have been so helpful to me during these difficult times. I was approved for my ssdi in June of this year (2015) but my approval letter stated that I have to have a medical review this coming December 2015, which would barely be my 6 month mark of receiving benefits. My friend was telling me she never heard of that because she thought medical reviews were only done every 3-5 years. I also got a letter today that is called a “Work Activity Report” It is asking me about all the income I have made at my previous jobs in the past since my disability onset date of 06/2012. It wants me to break down the income I brought in for each month since then or to send in old paycheck stubs. I worked at 3 jobs during the time I was first getting sick in order to pay all my bills, but each job I had to quit because I was too sick to continue working. I even told the judge this during my hearing. I was wanting to know if this form has anything to do with that upcoming medical review I have in December. I am so confused, exhausted I thought I was finally at a place of rest and now this. I think the most stressful part of this all is that I don’t even know where all my old stubs are from that far back. It says I only have 15 days from today to get this to them or they stop my benefits. Thank you so much in advance, your help is greatly appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Janice,

      Some continuing disability reviews are set for short period of time after the approval because the information indicates that the person might improve by then. The form is probably part of that review. Complete as much of it as possible estimating how much per month you earned. Be as accurate as you can in your estimates of when you started and stopped and be sure to say that each time you stopped because of your illness. Also, be sure to put on the form that all of the work was before your hearing and the judge was aware of the work when he approved you and that you have not worked since the hearing. Submit any pay stubs or W-2s you have for the work. If you are missing some, put on the form that you no longer have the missing stubs and that you are trying to get them from your former employers (and do try to get verification of stop and start dates and total earned in that time).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Janice Marie Aguilar

        Thank you so much for your help Kay. I greatly appreciate your response. I am going to get started on this form now.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Janice Marie.

  • Sarah

    I became disabled in 04/2015 and filed for SSDI and was denied benefits because I didn’t have enough work credits ending in year 2014. My question is can I use 2 work credits earned in the last 2 quarters of year 2005 and use the first 2 quarters of 2015 for my work credits? Thank you for any help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sarah,

      You cannot use the quarters earned in 2005 because 2005 is not in the five-year period before your disability began. You can, however, use the quarters earned in 2015. You may have to claim your disability date as the first of the month after the month in which you earned the necessary quarters of coverage.

      I suggest that you take in your proof of 2014 quarters (your W-2 form or self-employment tax papers) and your pay stubs from 2015 or proof of self-employment profit in 2015 to Social Security. If the proofs make you insured on the date you originally claimed, appeal the denial. If they do not and you have to claim a later date of disability, file a new claim. Before filing the claim and asserting a date, ask Social Security to tell you the first date that you were insured and make your disability date after that. (Hopefully, moving the date will not cause your earliest countable quarters to fall out of the five-year period because of the later disability date.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mandie

    Hi Kay,

    I’m 32 years old, never been married, no children and have a Bachelors of Science degree. I have not been employed since 2010. From 2010-2014, my SS statement shows $0 in earnings. I do have reported earnings beginning in 1998-2003. In 2004, $0 in earnings. In 2005-2009 I do have reported earnings. If you’d like the dollar amount of my working years, I have no problem providing you.

    On my SS statement re: Disability:
    “To get benefits if you become disabled right now, you need 20 credits of work. You had to earn these credits in the last 10 years.
    Your record shows you do not have enough credits in the right time period.”

    If I file today for benefits with a disability date of 2010/2011 (for physical injury sustained from non-fault car accident in 2009) and also include my mental health disabilities (had since age of 14, documented til this day, but irrelevant), that have affected my ability to obtain gainful employment combined with my physical injury since 2012 or so, would I meet the credits needed in the right time period?

    I have had my own doctors (psychiatrist and orthopedic surgeon, pain management doctor, PCP, etc) who have seen me for more than 5 years, maintained private health insurance the entire time and I see each regularly. I have thousands of medical records to send SS from my own doctors documenting my health and care.

    In my case, do you advise me to hire an attorney from day one? Do you recommend having my psychiatrist and my other doctors add to my file their opinions on my work ability? I have discussed this with my psychiatrist, but not my other doctors. I’m ashamed to tell my PCP, Ortho doc, pain management doctor that I may apply for disability. My PCP issued me a disability placard years ago. Should my psychiatrist go ahead and administer the functioning test now? Any other advice Kay?

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.

    Respectfully,

    Mandie

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mandie,

      You may have been insured at the time you became disabled. It depends on how much you earned in each of years you listed. I have inserted a list of the amount needed for one quarter of coverage (four can be earned per year) at the end of this response. Also, becoming disabled before age thirty-one means that the required number of credits is less than twenty and depends on the age you became disabled.

      You can file for disability and list the date that you became disabled (2009 or 2012–I couldn’t tell when you thought you became disabled). When you file the application, ask for the date you were last insured. It is good that you have medical records back to those years because you have to prove that you became disabled when you were last insured and preferably that you have been continuously disabled since then. List all your medical and mental health conditions and, yes, get the mental function test if that is an issue. Provide a chronology of the onset of each of your conditions, what kind of treatment you got and when, how your conditions responded or didn’t respond to the treatment. List all your health care providers with their contact information and submit any medical records you have.

      When talking with your doctors about filing for disability, let them know that you have other conditions treated by other doctors and that the combination of symptoms is keeping you from working.

      If you are denied, appeal using an experienced Social Security. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before sending your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kristan

    Hello, I turned 19 this year in July and I’m wanting to get on disability because in the year of 2012 I got into a four-wheeler accident but it also wasn’t my fault; hence I wasn’t the one driving. Anyways, it made me get a curve in my spine and I have serious issues with working, walking & sitting for a long period of time. I have a limp and my shoulders & hips are out of place due to what my previous doctor explained. I’ve worked before but not very long due to multiple reasons. I’ve got x-rays and prescription medication for the pain I’ve had. The total amount of x-rays is probably 3 times and I’m going to go to my next one in November. My last job I’ve worked for 3-4 weeks and quit. I’ve also worked at a a children’s care company in the past that lasted 4 months as a internship but still getting paid for it. The mistake was that my family didn’t take me to the hospital as soon as the wreck happened. We didn’t talk about disability this serious until this year. I’m going to get a brace soon as well. Now.. I’m sure I don’t have 6 credits for this because I’ve had no luck getting another job. I wanted to know if I could still get approved or have any way to help the situation. I’m worried I won’t get income at all do to my situation. Please help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kristan,

      You can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, which is also administered by the Social Security Administration. It requires low income and assets rather than work credits. Information about SSI can be found under the SSI tab on the navigation bar of this website. I suggest that at the same time you contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see if you qualify for training services to learn a type of work that you can perform with your limitations.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Janice Marie Aguilar

    Hi, I got my approval for my ssdi. When I read the letter it says this: “the claimants earning record shows that the claimant has aquired sufficient quarters of coverage to remain insured through December 31 2017. Thus the claimaint must establish disability on or before that date in order to be entitled to a period of disability and disability insurance benefits. ”
    Can you please help me? I do not know what this means. Does it mean I can only get ssdi till 12/31/17? Thanks in advance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Janice,

      You only have to be insured on the date that disability began. The reference to the date is to show that you were insured when you became disabled. It does not mean that your benefits will stop at the end of 2017.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Janice Marie Aguilar

        Thank you for your response. That information greatly helps me. I also got a letter today explaining my back pay and my monthly amount. But in this letter it didn’t mention anything about my 11 year old son and benefit payout for me for him. I was really hoping I would get a payout for the fact that I have a child. Should I do something? It seems like they totally forgot I have a child. I really thank you so much for your help. because I am sooo stressed out, behind on all my bills, depressed because this illness had been trying to destroy my life. Now, I am thankful to have been approved I just don’t want to leave anything I am entitled to on the table. I really don’t know how this all works and not many people to turn to so I can’t stress how much I appreciate you right now!

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Janice Marie,

          Your son’s claim is handled separately from and after yours, and you will get a separate award letter for him if he is approved.

          I suggest that you call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to find out whether your family maximum benefit is greater than your monthly benefit. If it is, your son is eligible for benefits. If he is eligible, then contact your local office to find out if you need to submit his birth certificate or file to be his payee to get his benefits started.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Janice Marie Aguilar

            Kay,

            Thank you sooo much for your direction. It is so confusing not knowing how this all works & what to expect next. I sure do appreciate you greatly!

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Janice Marie.

  • my son who just turned 26 has been on disability for 5 years and receives no Ssi because his wife just make the minimum to not do so . He received only 463. a month . He worked on and off in high school and summers . It took 3 years to get disability .It that a correct amount for someone with this work history . And is there some agency that can help them financially.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kim,

      I believe that you are saying that your son receives Social Security Disability (SSDI) in the amount of $463. The amount could be correct given the limited work history you describe. Your son can request a copy of his earnings record to make sure that all his work is posted. If it is, then the payment should be correct.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • zak

    HI , I AM APPROVED FOR SSDI AMOUNT IS 739 . IALSO APPLIED SSI AMOUNT IS 199 . IM IN NEWYORK , I M CONFUSED WITH AMOUNT 739+199 = 938 . I THINK THEY MADE MISTAKE IN ACCOUNT , I MEAN THEY PAY MORE THAN I SHUD ,, NOT MY MISTAKE IF THEY PAID THIS AMOUNT , SHUD I GO TO SSA AND ASK THEM,.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zak,

      I believe that the maximum amount in New York for one month should be $820. You should contact Social Security to get an explanation of the payment. (It is possible that the payment is for more than one month of state supplement.) You are aware that the payment may be wrong so you would be at fault in accepting it and would have to repay the amount of the overpayment when the error is caught as it eventually would be.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Quintina Holmes

        I get ISS 733 I tried applying for social security and they told me I only have 22 credit. I’m disabled to work I don’t understand it

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Quintina,

          Social Security is a government insurance program that requires you to work a certain amount and pay Social Security taxes on those earnings. The amount of work required varies depending on how old a person is when she becomes disabled. To be fully insured, depending on your age, you need from six to forty quarters of coverage to be fully insured. It appears that you needed more than twenty-two credits to be fully insured.This requirement is in addition to being currently insured, which requires a certain portion of the credits (six to twenty depending on age at disability) to be in a specified current period of time.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Ralph

    I am going to apply for ssdi in the near future.
    If I filed tax returns but owe taxes, do those years qualify as ‘countable income’ towards ssdi?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ralph,

      If you were an employee, your employer should have withheld your Social Security taxes and sent them into the IRS and the years you owed income taxes would still be counted in your work earnings. If you were self-employed and you are referring to Social Security self-employment tax, then you might not get credit for those years earnings until the self-employment taxes are paid. If you are self-employed, check with the IRS about what they report to Social Security when taxes are filed but not paid and/or check with the
      Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tonnette

    Hi,
    I can not get SSI because my husband exceed the amount for the household. I am trying to figure, how can I get SSDI without having enough work credits ? I have been issues since 2010 and have been getting worst since then. We stay in a different state and the living cost is a little more here. So I decided to file for SSDI but, I am missing 8 work credits and I am not able to work. Me getting a job makes me an un reliable person because of my condition. To go out and try to work and can cause more damage to myself. I do not know what to for more finincial help. So my question is, can you get ssdi without having enough work credits? I was thinking what do people do who they get disable while working but not on the job. What kind of help do they get? If they have a veteran spouse as I do that get benefits for the government but it only barley make ends meet. What do they do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tonnette,

      You cannot get Social Security Disability (SSDI) without the required work credits. I suggest that you check with your local state or county social services department to see if your family qualifies for SNAP (food stamps). Also, some power companies have energy assistance programs for which you might qualify.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tonnette

        We had SNAP the cut benefits of because they seen I was approve for SSI. They said that the money my husband gets form the VA makes us exceed the amount. So my question is are they not suppose to count VA money?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Tonnette,

          I think the VA benefit is probably countable for SNAP; however, you might ask to see a list of income that is excluded from counting to check to see if VA benefits is on the list.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Dawn Hancock

    I am still awaiting a decision on my disability claim. I am 59 years old have been a widow vor 25 years, worked sporadically over the years are my work credits over a lifetime or at a certain age.I know that when I turn 60 I can take early ss .How do I figure my work credits for my disabiity claim

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dawn,

      To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you must be both fully and currently insured. Fully insured at your age means have forty quarters of coverage. Currently insured means that at least twenty must have been earned in the last ten years before you became disabled. At the end of this message I will include a list of dollar amounts that earn a quarter of coverage. Four is the maximum number of credits that can be earned in one year. You can go to http://www.ssa.gov and set up a My Social Security account. Then you can request your earnings record, which will tell you whether you are insured for retirement and disability. Alternatively, you can request your earnings record by calling 1-800-772-1213. Be sure to make clear you want a record of your earnings and benefit estimates, not a benefit verification letter.

      You can draw reduced widow’s benefits at age sixty if your spouse had enough work to provide survivor benefits. You can receive Social Security retirement benefits on your own earnings record at age sixty-two if you have enough work credits (forty).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Greg

    I am pretty confused with all of this and possibly will be out of luck with this one, but when i was very young my dad got paralyzed and I know we were supposed to get disability but i have never seen any kind of money from it, also he has passed 4 years ago. I have just turned 19 and the topic was brought up again and im wondering, what, if anything can be done. Am i owed some sort of money or am i just out of luck now because it has been pushed aside for so long. Very confused and upset about it all.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Greg,

      The first possibility is that your mother or other parent responsible for you received your benefits because you were a minor and used the money for food and housing and other basic needs. If no benefits were paid and if your father was insured for Social Security survivor benefits, you might be able to receive survivor benefits on his earnings record for some months while you were either under age eighteen or under nineteen and in high school. If he was receiving only Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, there are no dependent or survivor benefits payable.

      If you have been eighteen or age eighteen and attending high school in any of the last six months, your first step is to take your father’s Social Security number to a Social Security office and attempt to file a survivor’s claim. Get the claim started before the end of March to avoid potential loss of benefits. You will need your birth certificate and your father’s death certificate, but you don’t have to have them to start the claim. If he was not insured, the Administration will let you know

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sarah

    Hi Kay!
    I wondered if you could help me out or point me in the right direction. I’ve asked multiple attys and have received multiple answers lol. In 2010, I had work quarters, so I filed for SSD. I was denied, but based off the fact they didn’t have enough information to decide. I didn’t realize what this meant and did not appeal it. I continued to get worse with the same condition and was finally starting to get diagnosed. My dr recommended I refile. I did, but I no longer had enough work quarters, so I filed for SSI. I was awarded SSI in 2014, and they agreed that my disability date went back to 2008. Is it possible to Reopen the 2010 case? My reason for looking into this is that it would provide insurance and possibly some more back pay to cover past medical expenses.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sarah,

      At this point, you have no appeal rights on the 2010 Social Security Disability (SSDI) application. However, because the SSI program requires that you apply for all other benefits possible, you might try making a written request for reopening of your denied Social Security application based on the SSI determination of your date of disability. It is an extremely long shot, but you have nothing to lose.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • smith

    My question is I thought when u get disability they look at your whole work history to determine your credits? An sec how many credits do u have to have for your children to get benefits from you. the system seems twisted to me or I’m just missing something s.I’m 32 with 2 kids ages 8/4 my check741$ how is Tht. An I only had this for 2years now.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Smith,

      A person becoming disabled at an age under thirty-one must have one quarter of coverage (work credit) for each two calendar quarters between age twenty-one and his age when he became disabled. If a person is insured (has sufficient work credits), then the benefit is based on the person’s earnings, not on the number of credits. For a young person, all earnings would be used on the calculation. The higher the past earnings, the higher the benefits. Dependent benefits are not based on the number of work credits; they are based on the family maximum benefit earned by the worker. Low primary benefits earned by the worker mean either no or low benefits for dependents because the family maximum is the same or only slightly more than the worker’s benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • JoAnna

    My daughter is turning 24 this month and does not work or go to school. She has had degenerative bone disease in her knees since 2008, along with depressive disorders and most recently substance abuse, which we have gotten her treatment for and now she is on Prozac and Ridlin. She has only worked a few months at a “donut shop”, earning approx. 450 in 2013, her only SS income which paid into the SS insurance. In the past, I have never received any type of government benefits, but I lost my job this past year and we were instructed for file for SSD/SSI for her. My question is this, since she hasn’t paid anything into SS, how would she qualify for SSDI? Should she try to work this year to start earning credits, then wait to apply in two more years? I have a feeling she will never be able to hold down a full time job, but I also know that I won’t be able to continue supporting her since I’m going to have to start working part time to my own medical conditions (which do NOT qualify as disability under SSDI).

    Thank you for any advice on this.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear JoAnna,

      Your daughter can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which does not have a work-credit requirement for citizens and some aliens.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • alisha2673

    i recieve ssd and ssi. i got my award letter for my ssi in 2000 and they kept telling me i didn’t have enough credits for ssd. after fighting with them that i did they finally approved my for ssd in 2010. my two children also recieved a award letter but it said they could not recieve a check because it was all being paid to me. since then my oldest son recieved a letter stating his benefits were going to end (even though he never got a check) because he was turning 18. and i have a daughter that is 4 yrs. old now. and i only get 20.00 over what ssi pays a month. which is very hard to live off of let alone 2 kids also. how can i get more credits or what do i have to do for them to be able to recieve a check?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alisha,

      Your children are not receiving dependent benefits because your total work earnings before you became disabled were low, allowing only a payment to you. Your maximum family benefit “was used up” paying your benefit. Another way to say this is that your benefit and the family benefit you earned were the same.

      To have a raise in your Social Security benefit, you would have to work and earn enough to allow an increase. This may not be possible if you are disabled. Such increases would be small and likely you benefit would not reach an amount that would allow a dependent benefit for your daughter. You can read about Social Security Disability work incentives in Social Security’s Red Book, accessible at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook. Any amount you earn above $65 a month will reduce your SSI one dollar for each two dollars earned. I suggest that you contact your state or county health and human services department to see if you are eligible for cash assistance for families with dependent children. If you do work, be sure to report it to the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • mills

    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

      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

        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

          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

  • mills

    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

      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

        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

          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

  • mills

    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

      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

  • mills

    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

      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

  • Dee

    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

      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

          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

  • Wes

    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

      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

  • Suzanne

    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

      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

    • Christie Thompson

      Question
      Can you explain “disabled adult child” criteria in more detail, please? And how can I determine exact number of work credits? Thank you.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Christie,

        A disabled adult child does not have to have any work credits. A disabled adult child is an unmarried person who became disabled before age twenty-two. To receive benefits, at least one of his or her parents must be deceased or receiving Social Security benefits on his or her own earnings record and the the parent’s family maximum benefit must be high enough. The number of work credits the parent has depends on the type of benefit.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

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