In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits you need to have an illness or condition that meets the Social Security Administration's definition of "disability." You also must have worked long enough and recently enough in a job that is covered by Social Security.
When determining if you have worked long enough to qualify for SSDI, the SSA looks at the number of work credits that you have earned over the years. Work credits are issued based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. It is possible to earn up to four work credits per year.
Each year, a work credit is worth a different amount of earnings. For the year 2015, a work credit is worth $1,220, and you must earn $4,880 over the course of the year in order to get the maximum four credits.
Now you may be wondering how many total work credits you need in order to qualify for SSDI. The answer depends on your age.
Generally speaking, you need 40 credits to qualify for SSDI, and you must have earned half of those credits in the past 10 years ending with the year you became disabled. What that means is that you must have worked five out of the past 10 years.
But how do you know how many work credits you have earned?
The Social Security Administration sends workers an annual earnings statement saying whether or not they have enough work credits to qualify for disability benefits in addition to how much they have earned each year and how much Social Security retirement they will be eligible for at retirement age.
If you don't want to look for the statement, you can also find the information online at www.ssa.gov.
Of course, even if you have enough credits to qualify for SSDi benefits and you have a qualifying disabling injury or condition, that still doesn't mean that you will be successful with your claim. Keep reading to find out why.