An illness or injury does not automatically qualify you for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. But how can you find out if you qualify for SSDI? Qualification for this benefit program is focused on two main aspects, whether your disability qualifies under the rules and whether you have enough work credits for the program. At Harbison & Kavanagh, we understand that this may be a confusing process and are here to help answer any questions you may have about qualifying for SSDI benefits.
Does Your Disability Qualify?
Even if you are unable to work due to an illness or injury, you may not necessarily qualify as disabled under Social Security Administration standards. In order to be qualified as disabled for the purposes of SSDI benefits, you must be suffering from the illness or injury for at least twelve months or be permanently disabled from performing any substantial work activity whatsoever. The Social Security Administration publishes a “Blue Book” that lists all medical issues that qualify for SSDI benefits. If you can prove that you possess one of these medical problems or that your issue is as serious as one in the Blue Book you may qualify for the SSDI program.
It is important to note that in order to qualify, your disability must prevent you from performing any substantial work activity, not just the work activity you were engaged in prior to the illness or injury. If the Social Security Administration finds that your disability prevents you from performing your old job but that you could still perform a new job, you may not qualify for benefits.
Do You Have Enough Work Credits?
The other major qualification for the SSDI program revolves around work credits. Social Security work credits are based on self-employment income or total yearly wages. You can earn up to four credits per year, and the amount needed to qualify for a credit changes annually. For example, in 2018 a person needed to earn $1,320 in self-employment income or wages to qualify for a credit. At $5,280, a person earned their four credits for the year.
The number of credits needed to qualify for SSDI differs depending on the age at which you suffered the disability. Usually, a person needs forty credits to qualify for the program, with twenty of those credits earned in the last ten years. However, in certain situations younger workers may qualify for SSDI benefits with a smaller amount of credits. If you are 23 years old or younger, you need six credits, including three in the year the injury occurred. Illnesses or injuries occurring to someone ages 24 to 31 you may qualify if you have credit for working at least half of the time between the age of 21 and the time you became disabled.
Our Office Can Help
If you have questions about whether your injury qualifies you for SSDI in the Richmond area, our experienced attorneys are here to help. Call the office or contact us now to schedule a review of your claims today.