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How Many Work Credits Do You Need For SSDI?


Not everyone qualifies for Social Security benefits. To be eligible, a person must have 40 credits, which amounts to 10 years of work. This is not the same for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) though. People can qualify with fewer credits based on their age.

For example, if you are under the age of 24, you just need six work credits within the past three years. You earn four work credits each year, so six credits would be 18 months of qualified work. But you also need to meet the disability test, which is even harder to do. Your disability must be long-term (lasting one year or longer) or terminal in nature.

If you are older than 24, you will need more credits. If you are ages 24 to 31, you must have worked in qualifying employment for at least half the time since age 21. For example, if you become disabled at age 27, you would need three years or 12 credits of work (since 27-21 = 6, and half of 6 is 3). If you are 31 or older, you will need 20 credits, or five years of work, in the past 10 years.

You also need to meet the duration of work test, which measures how much work you did over the course of your life. The Social Security Administration uses a sliding scale for this. For example, if you become disabled at 42 years old, then you need just five years of work. If you are disabled at 50, then you will need seven years of work. The most you will need is 9.5 years at age 60.

You do not need wages or salary pay to qualify for SSDI benefits. If you’re self-employed, you can still meet the requirements. For 2022, every $1,510 in self-employment income equals one credit. So once you earn $6,040, you get your four credits for the year. These amounts vary from year to year.

Keep in mind that the amount of benefits you will receive is based on your income. Even though you need only 40 credits to qualify, having more does not increase your benefit amount in any way. The only way that will happen is if you earn more income.

If you meet the qualification for a disability but have not worked enough and do not have sufficient credits, you may be able to receive Supplemental Support Income (SSI) benefits. Contact the Social Security Administration to learn more.

Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits 

You can get SSDI even if you don’t have 40 work credits. Since a disability can occur at any time, it is based on your age.

Get help understanding the rules and processes involved with help from a White Plains Social Security Disability lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon. Client commitment is a top priority. Schedule a free initial consultation by calling (914) 228-1770 or filling out the online form.



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