Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits are available to workers who have become disabled and are not able to work. The determination as to whether you qualify is based upon being able to prove you are disabled, and having worked long enough to qualify. The second prong of this test; working long enough to qualify, can become confusing. It is easy to look at your work history and believe you qualify because you have paid in a certain amount to the social security system. But, it is not the amount you have paid in that is considered, but the length of time you have worked. This is not to say your income does not come into play, because your benefit payment amount does depend on how much you have earned. This is true because people with higher salaries have more held out of their checks, so a larger benefit amount accumulates over their working life.
The number of work credits you must have to qualify for SSDI benefits is 40. Those credits are earned as follows:
• 20 of the required 40 credits must be from work performed in the last 10 years. So, if you need to take time off for family matters or have some slow periods of work, you may be better off asking for a freeze of credits during those times so you are not punished later with a lower benefit payment due to less work being done.
• The credits are directly tied to earning a certain amount, and the threshold figure changes annually.
• In 2019 you earn one credit for every $1,360.00 made. This formula remains in place until you earn a total of 4 credits for the year. You can see that if you are paid at a higher salary, you will earn your 4 yearly credits much faster than a worker at a lower wage. Thus, there is really no “making too much” to qualify, because applications for SSDI benefits are not granted or denied based on your income. While your income will determine how much your benefit amount is, it does not come into play when a decision is made as to whether you are disabled and qualify for benefits based on that disability.
If you are young when you become disabled and have not yet earned 40 credits, you can still qualify for SSDI. The process will become more complicated, but we can help. You also have the option of seeking Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you do not make enough and your SSDI benefits do not provide what you need to pay all of your bills.
If you have questions about the benefits offered by social security, call an experienced attorney for help. Contact us online today for more information. We can also be reached at 855-727-6353.