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Social Security Work Credits in Butte: How You Obtain Them and How Many You Need

It’s possible to meet Social Security’s standard for disability while not qualifying for disability benefits under the agency’s SSDI program. Part of the qualification process involves examining your prior work history to determine if you’ve worked for a long enough period within a certain window of time.

Have you paid into the system?

Whether you work for an employer or are self-employed, Social Security work credits are calculated from your earnings as part of the taxes you pay on your income each year. Each year, it is possible to earn up to four credits—one for each quarter of the year. It is not possible to earn more than four credits in one year.

How much do I need to earn to qualify for a credit?

The amount of income needed to obtain one work credit is adjusted each year to account for the national average wage index, so every year it can be different. For example, in 2010, the amount needed for a work credit was $1,120; as of 2013, it is $1,160.

Once you’ve earned $4,640 of reported income, you will have earned your four credits for 2013.

How many work credits do I need to receive SSDI disability benefits?

The required number of credits is directly related to the age you became disabled. If you file for disability at age 62, you will need to have 40 work credits, half of which were earned in the 10 years before you became disabled.

However, younger applicants will need fewer credits. For example:

  • Younger than 24 years of age – You will need at least six credits earned in the three-year period prior to becoming disabled.
  • 24 to 31 years of age – You will need to have worked half the time between being 21 years old and becoming disabled. For example, if you became disabled at age 25, you would need 8 credits, accounting for two years of work for the four years between ages 21 and 25.
  • If you are between the ages of 31 and 61 – credits are adjusted for each year. For individuals in this age group who are not blind, it is necessary for them to have earned at least 20 of their qualifying work credits in the decade before becoming disabled.

It’s important to know how many work credits you have with the SSA before attempting to file for disability benefits in California. To learn more about your options, file a stronger initial application, or appeal a denied claim, talk to the skilled team at Ledgerwood Law Group today. Call 888-761-7383 or fill out our online form.


Thomas Ledgerwood
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