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Not enough work credits for SSDI but I cannot work

Claimants are denied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits everyday by the Social Security Administration because they are told they do not have enough work credits. Whether the worker worked for many years, stopped working and waited too long to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or whether they have never worked, if they are disabled and can no longer work they may face a real dilemma. We will discuss the two scenarios in detail below.

 I Worked for years but did not apply in time for Social Security

Claimants who have worked for many years, sometimes "paying into the system" for twenty or thirty years, but who stop working and wait too long, are generally the most upset. If you worked and paid employment taxes for years you may have been under the assumption that disability was similar to retirement benefits and at any time you could apply and automatically receive your Social Security Administration disability payments.

Unfortunately, that is not how the system works. According to the Social Security Administration, in 2012, you earn one credit for each $1,130 of wages or self-employment income. When you've earned $4,520, you've earned your four credits for the year. The amount of work credits you will need to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance will vary based on your age when you become disabled, but most claimants will need 40 work credits to qualify.

The catcher and it’s a big one is that “20 of the work credits you earn must be in the last 10 years ending with the year you became disabled.” So for example, if you are 54 years of age you will need 32 work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and 20 of those must be earned in the 10 years before you became disabled.

Maybe you quit working 10 years ago and all of your work credits are too old. What are your options? You will have to find out what your date last insured was and see if you have medical evidence to prove you became disabled prior to this date. Talk to a disability lawyer for more information if you need help.

I have never worked. Can I get SSDI benefits?

Other claimants who are denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are generally those who have worked sporadically over the years, never earning much and never paying into the Social Security Administration system. The fact that these claimants are expecting to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance is a little more surprising, but it happens.

If you have not worked and have not paid taxes you will not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

What are my disability options?

For the first set of claimants who have not earned work credits recently enough or who are lacking just a few work credits, ideally, they would be able to return to work for a few years and generate enough work credits to qualify. They could also, as mentioned above, work with a disability lawyer to prove their disability started prior to their date last insured (DLI).

Claimants who have never worked will have to apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
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