The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires an applicant has worked a certain amount of years and paid into Social Security taxes before they qualify for SSDI. The SSA calculates this by awarding “work credits” to workers based of their income in a given year. Since 2015, one work credit is awarded for every $1,220 earned by the worker; an individual can earn up to a maximum of 4 work credits per year. Generally an applicant needs to have earned at least 20 credits in the past 10 years but this does vary depending on the age of the applicant.
Here are the guidelines for work credits:
- Under the age of 24: An applicant must earn at least 6 credits in the previous 3 years before the disability surfaced.
- Between ages 24 and 31: An applicant must earn credit for working half the time between age 21 and the time their disability surfaced. Here is an example: If an individual’s disabling condition appears at age 29, they would need 4 years of earning max credit (16 credits) out of the past 8 years.
- Age 31 and older: An applicant will need to have earned the credits necessary for their age. However, at least 20 of those credits must have been earned in the past 10 years.
Listed below are work credits needed per age.
|Became Disabled at Age||Credits Required||Years of Work|
|21 - 24||6||1.5|
|24 – 31||6 – 18||1.5 – 4.5|
|31 – 42||20||5|
|62 and older||40||10|