When you start your career, the goal is to hone your skills so that you can make better wages in the future. Whether you work as a teacher or a truck driver, your title and pay should improve as the years pass. By the time you retire, you should command a competitive wage and have resources set aside for your golden years.
Unfortunately, some people find themselves unable to work long before they are ready to retire. The onset of a genetic condition in middle age or a car crash could be all it takes to end your professional career far earlier than you expected.
Social Security Disability benefits can help those who have to leave the workforce because of a medical issue. However, you need to have enough credits accumulated if you want to get disability benefits.
Whenever you receive a paycheck, a portion of it goes to the Social Security Administration (SSA). You can make a claim against those contributions later when you retire or when you apply for disability benefits.
To receive benefits, you need to have made enough contributions through payroll withholding to qualify in addition to having a medical condition that the SSA agrees is extreme enough. Most applicants need 40 credits to get disability benefits. At least 20 of those credits will need to be from within the last 10 years when you apply.
Workers can accumulate up to four credits a year. They receive one credit for each $1,510 in income they earn. If you have worked for at least 10 years, then your chances of having enough credits is relatively strong. Younger adults who have medical issues can potentially qualify with fewer credits.
Plenty of people have enough credits to qualify but do not actually meet the medical standards established by the SSA. The more pronounced the impact of the condition on your life or your work, the easier it will be for you to gather documentation that helps support your benefits claim. Some qualified applicants may need to appeal if they don’t receive an approval right away after applying.
Reviewing the rules for Social Security disability claims can help prepare those who may need benefits.