work creditsTo be eligible for benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program you first must first prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you have a disabling impairment that prevents you from working at any job. Then you must show that you have enough work credits to qualify. In basic terms, work credits are calculated on how long you have worked in recent years and how much money you have earned.

Like many things associated with Social Security disability, sorting out how exactly how many work credits you have and how many you need to qualify for SSDI benefits gets complicated. If you are not sure of either of these numbers, our video “Do You Have Enough Credits to Qualify for SSDI?”  and blog post “Non-Medical Requirement for Social Security” can help you answer these questions.

You can track your earnings record online by signing in to your personal my Social Security account. (If you don’t have a my Social Security account you can create one in just a few minutes.)  You should review your earnings carefully every year and confirm them using your own records, such as W-2s and tax returns.If, after calculating your work credits, you don’t have enough to qualify for SSDI, you still may be able to qualify for disability benefits. However, you will need to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSI is a needs-based program designed for aged, blind, and disabled Americans with little or no income. It provides a monthly benefit to individuals who are unable to work due to a disabling injury or illness, but is not based on past earnings. Instead, it is based on your income and assets.  Social Security looks at the earned and unearned income for your household to make sure you do not make too much money to qualify.  And they look at your assets.  To qualify you are limited to $2,000 in countable assets for an individual and the limit for a couple is $3,000 in countable assets.

The road to winning Social Security disability benefits is long and difficult to navigate. Work credits are just one confusing aspect of the process. If you are considering applying for disability benefits or have been denied benefits, we can help you untangle the confusion. Contact the experienced disability attorneys at Cuddigan Law for a free evaluation of your case. At Cuddigan Law you have a team of professionals in your corner who understand the system and who will fight for your rights.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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