SSDI credits: earning, using and losing them

by Feb 19, 2016

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If you have experienced a serious illness or injury recently, you are likely struggling with figuring out how you will take care of yourself and your family. Between your condition and the fact that you may be unable to work because of it, money can be extremely tight.

In many cases, you could qualify for Social Security disability benefits. However, in order to do so, you must determine whether you have sufficient credits. These credits are earned over time and will dictate whether SSDI benefits are available or not. 

Earning credits is done through work hours and paying Social Security taxes. The longer you work, the more credits you earn. According to the Social Security Administration, you will need to earn $5,040 to get four credits a year, which is the maximum. 

When you become disabled, the SSA will look at how many credits you have earned to determine your eligibility. The number of credits needed depends on how old you are when you become disabled. The older you are, the more credits you need. For instance, if you are 56 when you are disabled, you will need to have earned 34 credits; if you are 36 years old, you only need to have 20 credits.

However, it is possible to lose these credits. In order to qualify for benefits, at least 20 of your work credits must have been earned in the last 10 years. What this means is that you may think that have earned enough credits, but if you haven’t worked in the last 10 years, you actually may not have enough recent credits to collect benefits.

This can be a very frustrating, confusing system, and on top of all the other complications that can arise when seeking disability benefits, it is easy to get overwhelmed. In order to learn more about the disability benefits system and your options for applying for them, it can be crucial to discuss your situation with an attorney.