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What should I know about work history and Social Security Disability?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits provide much needed financial support to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. To qualify, applicants must meet specific criteria. One area they must meet: work history.

Filling out the application and gathering needed documents to get approval is no easy task. The process is complex and often has specific terminology. When it comes to the work history portion, five important terms to know when navigating the SSD process include the following:

  • Work credits: Workers earn work credits based on employment and payment of Social Security taxes. You can generally earn up to four work credits per year. The number of credits required for eligibility depends on your age at the time of disability onset.
  • Minimum work credits: In most cases, workers need 40 work credits to qualify for SSD. At least 20 of these credits must have been earned in the last 10 years before your disability began.
  • Recent work test: If you are younger, the recent work test considers your work history over the past few years. It ensures that you have been actively employed and contributing to Social Security.
  • Duration of work and the Five-Year Rule: To qualify, you generally need to have worked consistently for at least five out of the last ten years. Exceptions apply for younger individuals with shorter work histories.
  • Significant Gainful Activity (SGA): SGA refers to substantial work activity despite a disability. If your earnings exceed a certain threshold (adjusted annually), you may not qualify.

It is important that applicants understand the work history requirements for SSD. Consult with a legal professional or visit the official Social Security Administration website for additional information. Meeting the criteria helps to better ensure access to vital financial support during challenging times but it is important to remember that a denial is not the end. Applicants can often appeal a denial and may still get benefits. An attorney experienced in this area of law can review your claim and provide guidance.


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