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What are "work credits" and how do they affect SSDI benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a tremendous boon to any Houston resident who has been totally disabled by an injury or illness. Many of these same individuals are mystified by the application process that is required to receive SSDI benefits. This post has frequently discussed the definition of disability and the factors that make a disability total. In this installment, the concept of "work credits" will be explained.

In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, a person must have accumulated enough work credits to pass the minimum threshold established by the Social Security Administration (SSA). A person earns one work credit for a calendar quarter when he or she earns at least $1,320 during the quarter. A person can earn up to four credits per year. The amount of earned income necessary for one work credit is changed -- usually upward -- by the SSA every few years.

Eligibility for SSDI disability benefits depends upon the number of work credits a person has earned by date on which the disability occurs. Generally, a person must have earned a total of 40 credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the last 10 years prior to the occurrence of the disability. The exact amount of credits depends upon the claimant's age on the date of disability and the years of work. Younger workers may need fewer credits depending upon the age at which they became disabled. Accumulating the required number of work credits is not difficult for most people.

Anyone having difficulty with the work credit requirement for SSDI benefits may wish to contact an attorney who handles SSDI cases for assistance. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide useful advice and help in completing the application. If an SSDI application should be denied, the same attorney may be able to help with filing and pursuing an appeal.

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