Skip to Content

What Are Work Credits and How Do They Affect My Disability Claim?

March 31, 2022 Social Security Disability

People facing long-term disability turn to SSDI benefits to help them pay their bills. To receive your benefits, you must file an application with the Social Security Administration (SSA), which will then decide whether or not your application will be approved. Many people who are obviously disabled (i.e. totally unable to work) often assume that their application will definitely be approved. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and it often has to do with work credits. If you are suffering from a long-term disability and unable to work, a Tampa Social Security disability lawyer can help you navigate these issues. 

Work Credits Explained

Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is like any other type of insurance in the sense that you have to pay into the system in order to receive your benefits. Work credits are the SSA’s representation of how much you have paid into the SSDI system. You can earn up to four credits every year that you were employed, based on your total annual income. If you are self-employed or are unsure whether you have sufficient work credits, a Tampa Social Security disability lawyer should be able to help. 

The Work Credits Calculation 

The total annual income threshold can be confusing. One reason is that the income threshold changes every year – for 2022, you need to earn $1,510 in order to earn a credit. Once you have earned at least $6,040 you will have earned four credits. If you earned only half that amount, you would earn only two credits. However, it is important to emphasize that you cannot earn more than four credits per year. 

Generally speaking, you will need 40 credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. Half of those credits must have been earned in the last 10 years. A Tampa Social Security disability lawyer can assist you with this calculation to determine whether you qualify for benefits. 

Younger Workers Can Qualify with Fewer Credits

However, younger people can qualify for benefits with fewer credits. Workers between the ages of 31 and 42 and younger need only 20 credits, and then the number of credits increases by two for every two years after that. For example, a 44-year-old worker needs 22 credits, while a 46-year-old worker needs 24, and so on until age 62. 

The number of years required is similarly adjusted. Workers between the ages of 31 and 42 and younger need to have accumulated half of those credits within the last five years. The increments increase six months for every two years of age. If you are younger and disabled, a Tampa Social Security disability lawyer will be able to determine precisely how many credits you need to qualify for benefits. 

Contact Tampa Social Security Disability Lawyer Mike Murburg Today

If you’re wondering if you qualify for SSDI benefits, Tampa Social Security disability lawyer Mike Murburg can answer your questions and help you navigate the application process. We are a national practice with offices in Tampa, Dade City, Hudson, and Inverness but only a phone call or email away. Call us today at 877-SSI-ATTY to schedule a free consultation.