Experienced Disability Lawyers

How many work credits do I need to qualify for SSD benefits?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2024 | Social Security Disability

Workers who cannot work due to a medical condition often struggle to support themselves and their families financially. Fortunately, Indiana residents who are unable to work due to a serious disability may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Generally, you may qualify for these benefits only if both of the following conditions are met:

  • You worked jobs covered by Social Security in the past and accumulated enough work credits.
  • Your condition meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of “disability.”

How do I earn work credits?

If you work at a job covered by Social Security, you are entitled to receive up to four work credits per year. The number of credits you earn will depend on your yearly wages or self-employment earnings. For example, in 2024, you may earn one credit for every $1,730 earned. If you earn $6,920, you will earn all four credits.

Certain jobs have special rules for earning credits. If your job falls under any of the following categories, refer to the SSA website or contact the SSA directly to find out more about how you can earn credits:

  • Military service.
  • Domestic work.
  • Farm work.
  • Work for nonprofit or religious organizations (organizations that do not pay Social Security taxes).

How many work credits do I need to qualify?

The number of work credits you will need to qualify for SSD benefits will depend on how old you were when you first became disabled.

Generally, if you developed your disability before the age of 24, you would need to earn six credits (meaning, at least 1.5 years of work) in the three-year period prior to the start of the disability.

Persons between the ages of 24 and 30 will need the number of credits for half the time between age 21 and the age the disability began.

Persons who are 31 years old or older will need 20 credits in the 10 years prior to the start of the disability. For example, if you developed your disability at age 35, you would need 20 credits (5 years of work). If you developed your disability at 56, you would need 34 credits (8.5 years of work).

Earning the correct number of work credits is just one aspect of qualifying for SSD benefits. You will also need to have a qualifying disability. However, if you meet the criteria, you will likely be awarded benefits to help you support yourself if you can no longer work.