Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Financial Eligibility

To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits (SSD or SSDI), you need to have sufficient contact with the workforce. You must have worked long enough - and recently enough – to qualify under Social Security’s rules.

Social Security work credits are based on your total income. You can earn up to four qualifying credits each year. These credits re referred to as a “quarter of coverage” or “QC.” The amount needed for a credit changes from year to year. In 2010, one credit was earned for each $1,120 of income. If you earned $4,480, regardless of when you earn them during the year, you earned your four credits for the year.

You need to be “fully insured” in order to qualify for SSD. Social Security refers to this test as a “duration of work” test. You need at least one QC for each calendar year after you turned 21 through the earliest of:

  1. the year before you become 62;
  2. the year before you die; or,
  3. the year you become disabled.

You do not need to earn your QCs in each of the applicable years. You just have to have enough QCs to equal or exceed the number required by your age.

You must also meet a “recency of work” test. This test is frequently referred as the “20/40 test.” Under this test, the total number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.

If you have question about whether you are financially eligible for SSD benefits, the lawyers at Warren & McGraw are here to help. Contact us. Consultations are free.