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Not enough work credits for SSDI, what does this mean?

Many disability claimants who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance do not understand that not only must they have a severe mental or physical health condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months and not be able to perform work at a “substantial level”, they must also have worked long enough and paid enough in payroll taxes to be considered “insured” by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Earning Work Credits for SSDI

Many claimants are denied SSDI, not because they are not disabled, but because they do not have sufficient work credits to qualify. So what does it mean to earn work credits and be insured?

To be “insured” means that the claimant has worked, paid employment taxes and earned what the Social Security Administration calls “work credits”. How many work credits does a claimant need to be “insured”? It will depend on the age of the claimant at the time of their disability, but some general guidelines from the Social Security Administration website are listed below.

• If you become disabled before age 24, you generally need 1½ years of work (six credits) in the three years before you became disabled.
• If you are 24 through 30, you generally need credits for half of the time between age 21 and the time you became disabled.
• If you are disabled at age 31 or older, you generally need at least 20 credits in the 10 years immediately before you became disabled.

The Social Security Administration states that workers, in 2011, can receive one credit for each $1,120 of earnings, up to the maximum of four credits per year.

What are my options if I do not have enough work credits for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Many workers are discouraged when they realize that either they do not have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or they had enough work credits at one point in their work lives but stopped working and paying taxes and the work credits they do have were not earned recently enough.

What are your options if you do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance? Unfortunately, this answer may be the most discouraging for many claimants. If you do not qualify for SSDI, you have two options:

• Go back to work and attempt to earn more work credits so you can qualify for SSDI.
• Apply for Supplemental Security Income.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is another cash assistance program offered by the Federal government. SSI is for individuals who are blind, disabled or aged (65 years or older) and who cannot work for at least 12 continuous months.

What is the bad news? Supplemental Security Income is only offered to individuals who have VERY limited income and resources. Many disability claimants will not meet the requirements.

Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you would like a Social Security Disability attorney to review your claim you can fill out the FREE evaluation form and a disability advocate will call you to review your disability claim or you can call our office at 1-800-641-3759 to talk to someone now.