Social Security Disability
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Do I qualify for social security benefits ?
To qualify for Social Security benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Then you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability. In general, SSA pays monthly cash benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability.
Benefits usually continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. There are also a number of special rules, called “work incentives,” that provide continued benefits and health care coverage to help you make the transition back to work.
If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.
How much work do I need to qualify?
In addition to meeting SSA’s definition of disability, you must have worked long enough–and recently enough–under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits.
Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year.
The amount needed for a credit changes from year to year. In 2005, for example, you earn one credit for each $920 of wages or self-employment income. When you’ve earned $3,680, you’ve earned your four credits for the year.
The 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.
IMPORTANT: Remember that whatever your age is, you must have earned the required number of work credits within a certain period ending with the time you become disabled. Your Social Security Statement shows whether you meet the work requirement at the time it was prepared. If you stop working under Social Security after the date of the Statement, you may not continue to meet the disability work requirement in the future.
The rules for how you need to work in order to qualify for disability benefits are as follows:
* Before age 24–You may qualify if you have 6 credits earned in the 3-year period ending when your disability starts.
* Age 24 to 31–You may qualify if you have credit for working half the time between age 21 and the time you become disabled. For example, if you become disabled at age 27, you would need credit for 3 years of work (12 credits) out of the past 6 years (between ages 21 and 27).
* Age 31 or older–In general, you need to have the number of work credits shown in the chart below. Unless you are blind, you must have earned at least 20 of the credits in the 10 years immediately before you became disabled.
Born after 1929,
Become Disabled At Age Number of Credits You Need
31 through 42 20