What does Work Credits mean?
To qualify for SSDI benefits a claimant must work, pay taxes and earn work credits. Currently in 2013, claimants must earn $1,160 in covered earnings to get one Social Security or Medicare work credit and $4,640 to get the maximum four credits for the year.
Whether a claimant qualifies for SSDI benefits will depend on their age when they became disabled. For instance, most workers will need 40 work credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year they become disabled. Younger workers can qualify for SSDI benefits with fewer work credits. For instance, if you are 24 years or younger you may qualify for SSDI benefits if you have 6 credits earned in the 3-year period ending when your disability started.
Consider, however, if you have not worked, if you have worked and not paid taxes or you do not have sufficient work credits to be insured for SSDI, you will be denied SSDI benefits. You cannot buy or "borrow" work credits. They must be earned through your own work. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not require work credits to qualify.