Definition of Quarters of Coverage
Quarters of coverage refers to blocks of three months in the calendar year and is any quarter where a worker is working, paying taxes and is considered insured under the Social Security program. For example, the first calendar quarter would be January 1 and end March 31, the second calendar quarter would be April 1 and end June 30, the third calendar quarter would be July 1 and end September 30, and the fourth calendar quarter would be October 1 and end December 31.
The term quarters of coverage is a bit antiquated and refers to a time when the SSA divided the calendar into three month segments. The Social Security Administration does not currently use the term "quarters of coverage." In 1978, employers started reporting wages on an annual, instead of quarterly basis and now employers are generating work credits.
Now, claimants may only receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if they have worked, paid taxes and earned sufficient work credits to be considered insured by the Social Security Administration. Credits must be earned by the worker and cannot be borrowed from a spouse or bought. According to the SSA, "in 2013, you receive one credit for each $1,160 of earnings, up to the maximum of four credits per year."
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