Social Security Disability Insurance requires individuals to show a history of employment to qualify for benefits. According to the Social Security Administration’s website, applicants must have earned a certain number of work credits.
Based on what age an applicant became disabled, the required number of years worked will change. For example, individuals who became disabled at age 30 need to show two years of employment. Individuals over 60, however, generally need to have worked for a minimum of nine-and-a-half years.
Calculating earned work credits
The SSA requires applicants to complete a recent work test, which evaluates the number of credits needed. Each year, an individual working full time may earn a maximum of four work credits.
If an applicant has not yet reached age 24, he or she may only need to have earned six credits in the three years preceding a disability. An applicant older than 31, however, must have earned at least 20 work credits during the 10 previous years.
Determining eligibility for SSDI
Employees contribute to the SSDI trust fund through their paychecks. As noted by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, contributions typically appear as FICA payroll tax withholdings. A review of past paystubs or W-2s will generally determine the amount withheld. Contacting the SSA may also prove helpful.
At least 156 million U.S. employees have had their FICA taxes withheld from their wages. With enough earned work credits, an applicant may qualify for SSDI when he or she shows symptoms of a disabling medical condition. Individuals must, however, present medical records with their applications. The SSA may also request verification of employment history.
SSDI benefits may provide income for individuals experiencing hardships when they can no longer work. Because employees contribute to the fund through payroll taxes, the SSA maintains strict work criteria when determining eligibility.