33 N. Dearborn Street, Suite 1130, Chicago, IL 60602

5 Convenient Locations

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Youtube


call us312-999-0999fax312-999-8999

Understanding Social Security Work Credits

Posted on in Social Security Disability

b2ap3_thumbnail_social-security-work-credit-earnings.jpgAccording the Social Security Administration (SSA), more than one in four of today’s young adults will become disabled before the age of 67. It can difficult to imagine not being able to work or provide for your family, especially without the luxury of significant financial resources or savings. For many, their only option is to pursue disability benefits through the federal government. Known as Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, these benefits can help replace income lost due to a qualifying condition.

Social Security Funding and Work Credits

The Social Security system is primarily funded through payroll tax contributions from workers across the country. As a type of insurance, only those who have paid into the system are eligible for primary benefits. A worker’s contribution is measured by the SSA in terms of “work credits,” which are given based upon an individual’s earnings in a given year. Each of the various SSA benefit programs, including disability, require a worker to have a minimum number of work credits in order to qualify, depending on his or her age and the specific benefit program.

Earning a Work Credit

For every year that you work and contribute to the Security System through FICA taxes, you are able to earn work credits. A credit is earned by exceeding a specified dollar amount in earnings each year, and a worker may receive a maximum of four credits per year. In 2015, a worker will receive one work credit for each $1,220 in earnings. Once earned, work credits remain on your record, regardless of employment changes or extended periods of no earnings. Special rules may apply for those with extremely low income, farm workers, and those who work for organizations that do not pay Social Security taxes. A Social Security attorney can help you determine your eligibility for credits in situations like these.

SSDI Requirements

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, the number of work credits you will need is dependent upon the age at which you became disabled. For most workers, 40 credits are required, 20 of which must have been earned in the ten years immediately prior to the disability. Younger workers are required to have fewer credits in order to qualify:

  • Under age 24: Six credits earned in the three years prior to disability;
  • Age 24-31: Cumulative average of two credits per year for each year between age 21 and the disability. For example, if your disability began at age 30, 18 credits would be required in the nine years of work; and
  • 31 and over: Required credits are based on a sliding scale, beginning with 20 at age 31 up to 40 by age 62.

Of course, work credits are just part of the qualification criteria for receiving SSDI benefits, and individual consideration may be granted based on the circumstances of your situation. For assistance with understanding the full application and approval process, contact an experienced Social Security Disability attorney in Chicago. Our law firm is committed to helping you get the benefits you need, and we will provide the high-quality representation you deserve. Call Pearson Disability Law, LLC at 312-999-0999 to schedule your free consultation today.

You are not alone. Call now for a FREE consultation 312-999-0999

Unable to travel to my office? No problem! No office visit required.

dupage county bar association Chicago abr association nosscr Super Lawyer
Back to Top