The Seelig Law Offices

Why Does Social Security Disability Care About My Past Jobs?

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2019 | SSDI |

The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages two government disability programs. One program is based on work history, and the other program is a need-based program for low-income individuals. To determine if you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits under SSDI, the SSA must review your work history. A New York disability benefit claims lawyer can provide guidance and legal advice regarding the disability programs and assist you in applying for SSDI and SSI disability benefits.

Social Security Disability Programs

If you are unable to work because of a disability, you may be entitled to receive disability benefits under SSI or SSDI. SSI or Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based disability program for low-income individuals who have not worked enough in the past to be eligible for SSDI. The SSDI program or Social Security Disability Insurance is a disability benefits program for workers who are unable to continue working because of a disabling condition.

The SSA always reviews disability applications first to determine if the person qualifies for SSDI based on their previous work history. If an applicant does not have the work history to qualify for SSDI, the SSA reviews the disability application to determine if the individual meets the income requirements for SSI benefits.

What Are Work Credits for Social Security Disability Benefits?

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have earned a specific number of work credits during your lifetime. A total of four work credits may be earned each year. The amount of wages or self-employment income earned by an individual throughout the year determines the number of work credits awarded for that year.

The amount of wages or self-employment income needed to qualify for a work credit changes each year. In 2019, you are awarded one work credit for each $1,360 in wages or self-employment income earned. Once you have earned a total of $5,440 in 2019, you have earned the maximum four work credits for 2019.

How Many Work Credits Do I Need for SSDI Benefits?

Job history is important because you must have earned a minimum number of work credits to qualify for Social Security disability benefits under SSDI. In general, an individual must have earned a total of 40 work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. Twenty of those work credits must be earned within the 10 years immediately before the person became disabled. However, there are exceptions.

Younger individuals do not need as many work credits to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. For example, if you are under the age of 24 years, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits with only six work credits. The credits must have been earned during the three years before you became disabled.

Applicants between the ages of 24 and 31 years may qualify for benefits if they have credit for working at least half the time between age 21 and the time they became disabled. The number of work credits required for applicants 31 years of age and older born after 1929 is prorated based on the individual’s age. For instance, a person who is 45 years of age would need a minimum of 23 work credits to be eligible for SSDI benefits.

Contact a New York Disability Benefit Law Attorney for Help

Work history is just one of the requirements for Social Security disability benefits. You must also meet other requirements, including the definition of being disabled according to the SSA. If you have questions about disability benefits or you have been denied disability benefits, contact our New York SSDI lawyers today for assistance.