If you apply for Social Security disability insurance, the Social Security Administration will confirm that you have enough work credits to qualify. The amount of credits you have depends on how many years you have worked at an eligible job.
Review the factors that affect work credit eligibility and how the agency calculates your benefits.
Earning work credits
You earn up to four work credits each year as a self-employed individual or an employee at most businesses. Each year, the SSA updates the amount you need to earn for a single work credit. In 2022, for example, you will get four work credits once you reach $6,040 in annual earnings. Each work credit is worth $1,510, so you would get two credits for a year in which you earned $3,020.
Qualifying for benefits
You need at least 40 work credits to be eligible for SSDI in most cases, with 20 credits earned in the decade before you became disabled. Younger people need fewer credits as follows:
- 24 or younger: Six credits in the three years before the disability began
- 24 to 31: You must have enough credits to show that you worked at least half the time between turning 21 and becoming disabled
- After age 31: You typically must have at least 20 credits in the past decade.
The amount of SSDI benefits depends on your earning history, up to a 2022 maximum of $3,345. The average monthly disability payment for 2022 is $1,358. SSA uses a formula to average your monthly earnings and determine the benefits you will receive.