Most adults start working shortly after they finish their schooling, and they continue working full-time until they reach retirement age. Every time that workers receive a paycheck, they make small contributions toward Social Security. Workers can make claims later because of their contributions, often because they are ready to retire.
However, not all adults continue working throughout their lives. Some people choose to leave the workforce temporarily to raise children or take a sabbatical. Others have to leave the workforce permanently because of unexpected medical issues.
If you can no longer work because of a serious medical condition, then you may need Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to cover your basic cost of living expenses. You have to establish a significant work history to qualify for SSDI benefits. How long do you have to work to make a claim?
Most people need at least 10 years of work history
The average person claiming SSDI benefits will need to have 40 credits accumulated on their social security account. At least 20 of those credits will need to be from within the last 10 years for most claimants.
Workers can earn one credit for every $1,510 in income that they pay taxes on, although the Social Security Administration (SSA) will only award someone for credits at most a year regardless of how much they make. There are also no additional benefits available for people who accrue more than the minimum number of credits. What if you don’t have a ten-year work history or 40 credits on record?
Younger workers can qualify with fewer credits
Serious medical issues aren’t just a problem for those nearing retirement. Younger workers can develop medical conditions too, long before they have 40 credits accrued. The SSA has a sliding scale for younger disability applicants.
Workers under 24 can get benefits with six credits earned in the last three years, while workers up to the age of 31 can get benefits if they can show they worked at least half of the time since turning 21.
Having a sufficient work history is only one qualifying factor for those who need SSDI benefits. Reviewing the eligibility criteria for SSDI claims can help you prepare your own application for benefits.