The Law Offices of Sheryl Gandel Mazur
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Work credits and Social Security disability

Let's face it. Suffering an injury is painful. Even something minor can cause very noticeable and distracting pain for weeks at a time. Thus, when an individual in New Jersey or elsewhere suffers a serious injury, he or she is likely to endure much pain that impacts many facets of his or her life. In some cases, an injury could be so severe that it is difficult to lead a normal life and impossible to hold down a job. This can present many financial challenges.

When a person is unable to work because of a debilitating injury, this could open up the opportunity to apply for Social Security disability benefits. However, if an applicant is seeking to qualify for SSDI, he or she must prove that they are eligible. Eligibility is based on work credits. This means that one must have a certain amount of work credit in order to qualify for SSD benefits.

In order to qualify for disability benefits, an applicant must have 40 credits, with 20 of them being earned in the last 10 years and ending with the year that he or she became disabled. However, if a young worker suffers a disabling injury, he or she could qualify with fewer credits. If the injury occurs before 24, one qualifies if he or she has six work credits earned in the last three years. Those between 24 and 31 can qualify if they have credit for working half the time between age 21 and the year he or she became disabled. Those 31 and older need at least 20 work credits.

Applying for disability benefits can be confusing, as it can be a detailed process. It may not be entirely clear if an applicant qualifies, and even if they do, this must be evidenced by documentation. Thus, it can be helpful to have assistance during the initial application process or if an initial claim is denied.

Source:, "Social Security Credits," accessed April 7, 2018

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