Having the appropriate work history is necessary to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Yet, this is not as well understood as the medical condition requirement. Unfortunately, the possibility of becoming disabled is very real, as studies reveal that one in four 20 year olds will become disabled prior to turning 67, which is why these benefits can be of critical importance.
Social Security disability (SSD) may be extremely important for those who are disabled and unable to work, as the compensation received through this program may help offset medical costs and lost income. In order to qualify for SSD benefits, though, a disabled individual needs to not only meet the definition of “disabled,” but he or she also needs to have earned sufficient work credits. The number of work credits earned depends on the disabled individual’s earning amount and employment activity. Up to four credits can be earned per year.
To meet the work credit requirement, the disabled individual must have accrued a baseline amount of credits. The baseline amount of credits is calculated based on when the applicant became disabled. If approved, the disabled individual’s benefit amount will be based on their average lifetime earnings. There is a waiting period to receive benefits, so disabled individuals should apply for benefits as soon as they know they will need them.
In addition to meeting the work requirements, disabled individuals must also meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability, which means that the disabled individual is unable to work because they suffer from a medical condition that is expected to last for 12 months or longer or result in death. Because of the complexities associated with qualifying for benefits, it is important for disabled individuals to understand the full application and appeals processes for SSD benefits.