How Long Do I Have to Work to Be Eligible for SSDI?
For workers in high stress jobs where injury or disability are a possibility, one of their ever present concerns is eligibility for SSDI benefits. SSDI provides payments for workers who have been disabled and are no longer able to work providing them crucial financial support. However, to be eligible for SSDI you must have reached certain benchmarks during your professional career, without out which you will struggle to get access to the benefits that you need. Keep reading to learn how long you need to work to be eligible for SSDI and how a social security disability attorney can help you get the benefits you need.
How Your Work History Determines Work Credits
When seeking SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will determining eligibility by examining what is known as your work credits. Your work credits are directly based on your earnings, with $1,260 in earnings equalling one work credit in 2016. In a calendar year you can earn a maximum of four work credits—$5,040 in earnings. As you age, you will need to possess an increased amount of work credits to be eligible to receive SSDI benefits. You will also be required to pass two work tests before the SSA will grant you benefits.
Work History Tests
One of the tests you will need to pass to receive SSDI benefits is known as a recent work test, which examines how much you worked while you were still able to. Generally speaking, from the time you turned 21 until the time of your injury you will need to have worked half of the time to receive eligible benefits. For example, if you are 27 at the time of your disability you will need to have worked three out of the last six years—the equivalent of twelve work credits—to be eligible for SSDI. The only exception to this rule is for applicants who are blind.
The second test you must pass is the Duration of Work Test, which is focused on how long you have worked and your age. If your disability occurs between the ages of 21 to 31 you will need anywhere between six and eighteen work credits. The work credits for SSDI between the ages of 31 and 42 is twenty credits. From age 42 to 62 the number of required work credits will increase by two with every two added years of age.
If you are no longer able to work due to disability but have not earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, you may be able to receive Supplemental Social Security (SSI) payments. SSI payments are provided to disabled individuals with financial need who don’t have adequate work experience.
Benefits for Your Family
Qualifying for SSDI benefits may also entitle certain family members to payments, provided that they fall under certain categories. The most prominent instance of a family member who may also receive SSDI payments is an adult child with a disability. Along with that, it is also possible for non-disabled children and current or ex-spouses to be eligible under certain criteria. If you have questions about a family member’s eligibility, or your own, then you should seek advice from a social security disability attorney.
Consult a Social Security Disability Attorney
After suffering a disabling injury or condition that prevents you from working it can be hard to know how you’ll support yourself. However, if you have a long enough work history then you may be eligible to receive SSDI benefits. If you need help securing your SSDI benefits, or you have already been denied, then you need the help of a social security disability attorney like the ones you’ll find at the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour. Our expert legal team knows the ins and outs of applying for SSDI benefits and would be glad to assist you throughout the application process. Schedule a consultation with us today.