Disability Work Credits

"Credits" are what the Social Security Administration uses to measure the amount of work you have done in your life and whether or not you are eligible for any benefits from them. The SSA keeps track of credits throughout your employment, and it doesn't matter if you change jobs or take time off because they accumulate over time. Credits are essential to getting disability benefits.

The Coye Law Firm is an experienced disability law firm that can help you understand the best strategies for receiving benefits. If you have questions about your employment history and qualifying for disability, call our firm to speak with a knowledgeable member of our staff.

Before determining what it takes to earn a credit, you should know that:
  • An employee can earn no more than four credits per year, or one every three months.
  • For 2010, the minimum income to receive one credit is $1,120.
  • Based on these two limits, the minimum earnings for a year to receive four credits is $4,480.
Your credits do NOT determine the amount of your benefit. Instead, that is determined by your average earnings during the course of your work history.

The earnings minimum to receive a credit changes each year. The SSA keeps track of these changes so employees can calculate their past credits. Consult the chart here .

The number of credits you need to earn disability benefits depends on the age at which you become disabled. For example, a person disabled at 35 years old has less time to pay taxes than a person disabled at 45 years old. Therefore, older workers are required to have more credits before they are eligible to get disability benefits.

If you born after 1929, use this list to find out how many credits you need based on the age that you became disabled:
  • Age 31 through 42: 20 credits
  • Age 44: 22 credits
  • Age 46: 24 credits
  • Age 48: 26 credits
  • Age 50: 28 credits
  • Age 52: 30 credits
  • Age 54: 32 credits
  • Age 56: 34 credits
  • Age 58: 36 credits
  • Age 60: 38 credits
  • Age 62 or older: 40 credits

Once you've estimated the amount of credits you have earned, apply for disability if you meet the requirements. Call the Coye Law Firm for experienced guidance through the disability application process. Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you at any step in applying for disability.