When considering options for income after a serious injury or illness, many individuals assume that they may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) based on their current health condition. They may not realize, however, that qualifying for benefits requires more than just a physical disability. Potential applicants must also have worked enough hours in a paid position to qualify for SSDI. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our Social Security attorneys can help Massachusetts residents evaluate their work history and determine whether they may be eligible to apply for benefits.Understanding Work History and Work Credits
In order to qualify for SSDI, a potential applicant must have worked enough hours over the course of his or her lifetime to have contributed a minimum amount, or more, to Social Security through payroll taxes. The amount of money you have paid in payroll taxes is converted into work credits by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Depending on your age, you must have a certain amount of work credits to apply for SSDI.
The amount of money you must pay to earn one work credit is adjusted yearly. In 2015, a worker earns one credit for every $1,220 received in salary. A worker can obtain a maximum of four credits each year, for a total of $4,880 in earnings. This is not a significant amount, and most workers who engage in at least part-time work, even at a minimum wage, can qualify for the maximum four credits a year.How Many Credits Are Needed for SSDI?
The number of credits needed to qualify for SSDI depends on an applicant’s age and time in the work force. First, if an applicant is 31 years old or more, he or she must have earned at least 20 credits within the 10 years before his or her application. This is called the “recent work test,” and it requires that an applicant has worked at least five of the 10 past years. If a worker is between the ages of 24 and 31, the test is adjusted slightly, and the individual must have worked at least half of the years since turning 21. This means that if you are 27, you must have worked at least three years out of the last six. If a worker is younger than 24 when applying for disability, he or she must have worked at least half the time in the three years before applying for disability, or one and a half years total.
In addition to the recent work test, applicants must also qualify under the duration test. This means they must have worked a certain number of years total, over the course of their lifetime, depending on age. For the youngest of applicants, who are individuals between 21 and 24, the requirement is that they have worked at least 1.5 years total, prior to applying, also known as six credits. This number then increases so that 50-year-old applicants must have worked at least seven years (28 credits), and 60-year-old applicants must have worked at least 9.5 years (38 credits).Discuss Your Government Benefits Application with a Massachusetts Attorney
If you are an individual who has recently become disabled, or you are considering the possibility of applying for benefits, it is important to determine whether you have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits to be eligible for SSDI. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our government benefits lawyers can help Massachusetts residents suffering from a mental impairment or a medical disability identify the applicable work credit requirements and determine whether their work history qualifies. If you have insufficient work credits, we can also help you explore alternative options for financial assistance, including Social Security Insurance (SSI). From our Boston offices, we assist people throughout the state as well as in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. You can contact us for an initial consultation at (800) 367-0871 or online.