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How long must someone work to qualify for SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2023 | Social Security Disability

Taxes consume a significant portion of people’s paychecks, and one of the biggest deductions each week goes to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Workers from all industries make contributions and then have the option of applying for the benefits programs administered by the SSA later on. There are both retirement and disability benefits available to qualified applicants that are funded by individual payroll contributions.

If employees have to stop working because of medical issues before they qualify for retirement benefits, they may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The SSDI program provides a crucial form of financial support to those unable to work because of disabling medical conditions. Unfortunately, not every injured or ill worker qualifies for SSDI benefits, as there are requirements for how long they need to have been employed before they can collect benefits. How long does a worker need to keep a job to qualify for SSDI benefits?

Workers generally need a decade of employment history

How much someone earns determines how many credits they receive for their contributions to social security. The SSA will generally grant one credit for each $1,640 in wages earned, although workers can only accrue four credits per year.

Typically, applicants need at least 40 credits to secure full SSDI benefits, which means they will have to have at least a decade of employment history. The SSA usually also requires that at least half of those credits are from within the last 10 years. Of course, younger people fall ill or even get hurt on the job and find themselves unable to keep working. Those under the age of 31 who have remained employed for at least half of their adult lives may still be able to receive SSDI benefits thanks to a sliding scale for credits that applies to those making a claim earlier in life.

The SSA keeps track of someone’s credits

Those who are unsure about how many credits they have can potentially log in to the SSA website if they have already established an account there. They can also contact their local SSA office if there are technical issues preventing them from checking their credits on the website.

Simply being eligible in terms of work history is only the first of many standards a worker will need to meet to receive SSDI benefits. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about SSDI claims may help people preparing to apply because they can no longer work.