How can I check my work credits for SSD?

When trying to understand your Social Security Disability credits, there are a few things that will factor in to determine your eligibility. In this article, we will discuss the necessary steps you will need to take to secure your SSDI and what to expect in the process of checking your work credits.

Do I have to have insured status to qualify?

The first step to ensuring your eligibility for Social Security Disability (also known as SSD or SSDI), is to have insured status for Social Security. In layman’s terms, this means that you must have worked enough during the years before you filed to have contributed a specific amount to the Social Security system. This would be where FICA taxes were deducted from your paychecks. The Social Security Administration is who determines if you have acquired enough hours of work to actually qualify for SSD. They do this by converting your earnings into actual work credits (also known as “quarters”). The dollar amount required to secure one work credit is calculated each year. For instance, in 2018, you would have to have earned $1,320 to secure one Social Security work credit, or $5,200 to get the maximum four credits for the year. Honestly, it will not matter which quarters you complete the work, as long as you have accumulated the required hours and finances to qualify.

What if I don’t have enough hours to qualify?

By now you’re probably asking how much you have to pay into Social Security to acquire your disability benefits? Well, you only need to have earned a minimal amount of money to receive your credits for a single year of paying into Social Security. The real question to ask is, “How many years do you have to have of working to be able to qualify for disability?”. Age has a lot to do with this, and this will be the next step we unpack.

As you age, you will require more work credits for benefits qualification. There will be two Work Tests you will be required to pass that involve work credits: the first one being the “Recent Work Test”, and the second, “Duration Work Test”. When you are 31 years old or older, you'll be required to have worked at least 5 of the previous 10 years to pass the Recent Work Test. Simplified, you will need to have earned 20 work credits, or one quarter of work which equals one credit, in the 10 years immediately before you became disabled. Additionally, when you are between 24 and 31 years old, you must have worked at least half the time since turning 21. For instance, if you are 29 years old, you will have had to work at least 4 years out of the last 8 years, or earned 16 credits in the last 8 years. Finally, if you are under 24 years old, you will had to have worked a minimum of one and a half years in the 3 years prior to disability, or have earned 6 credits in the last 3 years. It is important to note that there are special exceptions to these rules when navigating certain blind applicants.

What if I still don’t qualify?

So what happens to those who have not earned enough to qualify for Social Security Disability? Well, it is still possible for you to become eligible for disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program. SSI does not require you to have worked, but does require each applicant to be able to demonstrate financial need.


Finally, for family members of workers who are eligible for Social Security Disability, they are equally eligible for Social Security Disability. An example would be, a medically disabled adult child of someone who receives SSD can also receive benefits even if the adult child has never worked. Others include spouses, ex-spouses, and minor children are also eligible for benefits. These particular family benefits are called Auxiliary Benefits.

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