Basically, there are three qualifications you must meet to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD):
- You must be younger than retirement age, which is currently age 65.
- You must have worked jobs that are covered by Social Security, and earned enough work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability.
- You must meet the disability requirements as set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
1. Younger Than Retirement Age
Typically, Social Security Disability is available to people who are younger than retirement age, i.e. 65 years old. Once a person who is receiving SSD reaches retirement age, that person’s Social Security Disability transitions into retirement benefits – and the amount remains the same.
2. Earning Social Security Work Credits
Work credits are based on an annual dollar amount; more specifically, the Social Security Administration bases these work credits on your total yearly wages or income from self-employment.
According to the SSA, you can earn up to four credits each year; however, the monetary amount needed for a work credit changes yearly.
Generally, in order to qualify for Social Security Disability, the number of work credits depends on your age. Typically, you need 40 credits, and 20 of those credits must have been earned within the last 10 years leading up to you becoming disabled.
However, there are some provisions for younger workers who have fewer credits. For example, the SSA currently states that if you’re younger than 24, you can have up to six work credits.
People between the ages of 24 and 31 can qualify if they have worked have of the time between 21 and the age at which they become disabled. For example, if you’re 21 and become disabled at 27, you must have worked at least three years.
NOTE: Over the years, many people earn more than the required number of credits to qualify for Social Security Disability. It’s important to understand that this doesn’t increase the amount of SSD benefits you receive.
Don’t worry too much about these ever-changing work credit specifics; a skilled Social Security Disability attorney can explain every up-to-date detail to you and how it applies to you.
3. Meeting Disability Requirements
If you meet the age and work credits requirements, you must now meet the disability requirement as set forth by the SSA.
Simply put, in order for the SSA to consider you disabled, you must meet each of the following requirements:
- You can’t perform work you previously performed.
- You can’t adjust to other types of work because of your disability.
- Your disability is expected to last at least one year or to result in death.
These are pretty strict guidelines, and your Social Security Disability attorney can help you gather the documents and other proof you need to prove your qualifying disability to the SSA.
Start Your Social Security Disability Case Today
If you believe you’re eligible for Social Security Disability, contact the Social Security Disability attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, PA today. With law offices in North Palm Beach and Port St Lucie, Florida, we can help you better understand your situation and work toward getting you the highest amount of compensation you deserve, as well as help you appeal any Social Security Disability denials. Call us today at (561)-845-2510 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.
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