The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for the approval and administration of Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, not everyone will be eligible for SSDI benefits. In fact, in order to be approved for SSDI benefits, you will need to meet very specific requirements, including having the required number of work credits.
Understanding the qualifying criteria and how work credits work can be difficult. But with an experienced SSDI lawyer at Baker & Baker by your side, you can get the help and answers you have been looking for. Schedule your no-risk case review when you call our office at (850) 433-0888.
What are Work Credits and How Are They Earned?
SSDI benefits are known as “insured” because you have paid into the system since you started working. Every year that you earn wages and pay Social Security taxes, you are earning work credits. In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits once you become disabled and unable to work, you will need to have earned a certain number of work credits.
Every person has the potential to earn up to four work credits annually. The number of work credits you will earn depends on national wage trends. For example, as of 2021, you can earn one work credit for every $1,470 in income. As the national wage trends increase, so will the amount that you will need to earn in order to earn one work credit.
How Many Work Credits Do You Need for SSDI Approval?
In order to be approved for Social Security disability benefits, you will need to have earned the minimum number of work credits based on your age. For most people, this means that you will need to have earned a minimum of twenty work credits over the last ten years before you become unable to work. But there are some exceptions to this rule.
If you become disabled before you have earned twenty work credits, you may be able to qualify for SSDI benefits with the number of credits you have. The maximum number of work credits that can be required for a person to be eligible for SSDI benefits is forty. Once you have reached age sixty-two or older, you will have maxed out the number of work credits required to be eligible for retirement benefits.
It should be noted that the number of work credits you have only affects your ability to be approved for SSDI benefits. The amount of benefits that you will receive is not dependent on the number of work credits you have, but is instead based on your average earned income over your lifetime.
What Happens If You Do Not Have Enough Work Credits?
In the event that you do not have enough work credits to be awarded SSDI benefits, you will not qualify for these benefits. This means your claim for SSDI benefits will likely be denied by the SSA. With that being said, not having enough work credits does not mean that there is no help for you.
You may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if you do not have enough work credits for SSDI. There are no work requirements in order to qualify for SSI. Instead, you need only prove that you are disabled and experiencing continued financial hardship.
Other SSDI Requirements
Simply having enough work credit is not going to be enough to get your SSDI application approved. It is not uncommon for SSDI applications to be denied on multiple occasions before eventually being approved. Usually, this is because there is some question over whether the person applying for SSDI benefits is considered disabled.
The SSA keeps a list of qualifying disabilities. If you have one of these disabilities, your SSDI claim should be approved as long as you meet the necessary work requirements. However, if you have a disability that is not on this list of qualifying conditions, you may experience significant trouble in getting your claim approved. Your Pensacola Social Security disability lawyer can help you throughout the appeals process, so you can access the SSDI benefits that are rightfully yours.
Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Pensacola for Help Today
When you suffer from a disability that prevents you from being able to work, you may be entitled to Social Security disability insurance benefits. If you have concerns regarding your eligibility status, reach out to a dedicated Pensacola Social Security disability lawyer at Baker & Baker for help. Schedule your no-obligation consultation when you complete our online contact form. Or give our office a call at (850) 433-0888 to get started on your case as soon as today.