SSDI, which stands for Social Security Disability Insurance, is a federal program that provides benefits to Gwinnett County workers who become disabled and unable to engage in meaningful employment for at least a year. This program is run by the Social Security Administration (SSA) who has established numerous qualifications for eligibility.
Although there is a great deal of discussion about demonstrating medical qualifications, it is necessary to keep in mind that the agency also imposes work credit requirements. These requirements vary somewhat according to the applicant’s situation. Gwinnett County SSDI work credit requirements are explained below, but it may be helpful to have an experienced SSDI attorney review your case to determine whether you qualify.
Because SSDI is an insurance program, it is designed to pay benefits to workers who have effectively paid insurance premiums through Social Security tax. Therefore, to have adequate work credits to qualify for benefits, the work must be in a position covered by Social Security.
Essentially, if a worker is paying FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) tax regularly, they are paying into the insurance system. Self-employed workers in Gwinnett County who pay self-employment taxes are also covered.
The Social Security Administration requires workers to earn a certain number of work credits to be eligible, and this means working for a long enough period to acquire those credits. A worker earns one SSDI work credit after earning a set amount of money that may change annually. For example, in 2019, an employee must earn $1,360 to acquire one work credit.
However, a worker may only earn four credits per year. This means it will take at least ten years to earn the target level of 40 work credits that the SSA uses to establish eligibility for retirement and SSDI benefits.
However, the number of credits required for benefits varies according to the age of the individual at the onset of the disability. While the full number of work credits for eligibility is 40, the number is less for those who become disabled before the age of 62. A local attorney can explain how age will affect SSDI work credit requirements in Gwinnett County.
In addition to acquiring enough work credits during a career, an employee must also have worked sufficiently close to the time of the onset of the disability. Specifically, for a worker with 40 work credits, at least 20 of those credits must have been earned in the 10 years before becoming disabled. In other words, an employee must have worked during five of the past 10 years.
For workers who are disabled at younger ages, the rules regarding the recent nature of employment are adjusted. For example, a worker who becomes disabled at age 24 must have earned six work credits which equal one and half years of work, and those credits must have been earned in the three years before the onset of the disability.
Children or young adults who became disabled before the age of 22 could qualify for SSDI benefits regardless of whether they have earned any work credits. In these cases, benefits could be available based on the work history of the child’s parent.
A disabled child could receive SSDI if one of their parents is receiving SSDI benefits. Otherwise, a child can receive SSDI benefits for their own disability as long as their parent has sufficient work credits.
When a disabled worker qualifies for SSDI benefits, their loved ones might also be entitled to benefits of their own. This is true in some cases where the children or spouse of the disabled worker are not disabled themselves. These are known as auxiliary benefits.
Neither the spouse nor children of a disabled worker must fulfill work credit requirements to obtain auxiliary benefits. This is because a family’s member’s entitlement to SSDI benefits is based on the disabled recipient’s work history. Auxiliary benefits would be awarded in addition to those that the disabled worker receives, meaning the total monthly income awarded through SSDI could be greater for a household compared to a single beneficiary.
Many of the rules regarding eligibility for SSDI are complex, and that includes those governing the work credit requirements. While it is reassuring to know that money paid through FICA taxes can support us when we become disabled or reach retirement age, it can be frustrating to determine how and when we become eligible to apply for those benefits.
An SSDI lawyer can provide assistance applying Gwinnett County SSDI work credit requirements to your situation. To learn more, call now.