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Understand Social Security disability credits and your age

One of the hardest things to deal with as a young worker is the thought of being unable to work because of a disability. You are only in your twenties, but your first job resulted in a serious accident. As a result of that accident, there is a possibility that you will never be able to work again.

One problem is that you think you have not paid into the Social Security program long enough to obtain benefits.

You must earn work credits to obtain Social Security disability. The good news is that the number of credits you need varies based on your age. If you are under the age of 24, you only need to show that you have six credits to obtain Social Security disability. That adds up to only 1.5 years at work.

If you are 25 to 30 years old, you will need between eight and 18 credits to obtain Social Security disability. That is only between two and 4.5 years on the job to qualify.

I thought you had to have 40 credits...why don't I?

If you have heard that you need 40 credits to qualify, you may be confusing Social Security disability with Social Security retirement benefits. For Social Security retirement benefits, credits are based on your earnings and time worked.

Older workers may need 20 or more credits to qualify for Social Security disability, but it is impossible for younger workers to obtain this many credits. As a result, the Social Security Administration has designed the credit program to allow those under the age of 31 to apply for Social Security disability with fewer credits.

How do I know how many credits I have?

You know how many credits you have by looking at your income for the year. As of 2018, you have to earn $1,320 to earn a single credit. For the year, you need to earn $5,280 to get the maximum four credits allowed.

If you are hurt on the job and receive workers' compensation, that compensation will eventually likely become Social Security disability benefits if you qualify. It's important to discuss this with your attorney if you're younger, because you want to make sure your workers' compensation settlement or payments are enough to support you if you were not old enough to qualify for Social Security disability and cannot work because of the injuries you suffered on the job.

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