To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s strict definition of a disability. But also, you must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security. This translates into work credits. Read on to discover how work credits apply to SSDI and how a seasoned New Jersey SSDI attorney at The Law Offices of Sheryl Gandel Mazur can help you navigate this.

By definition, what is work credit?

Put simply, you earn work credits when you work and pay Social Security taxes. And so, Social Security work credits are based on the calculated total of your yearly wages or your self-employment income. This calculation will show how recently and for how long you worked.

Notably, you may earn up to four credits each year. And generally, you may need 40 credits to qualify for SSDI benefits; 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years, ending with the year your disability began.

How are work credits calculated?

Firstly, in 2022, the amount you need to earn for one work credit is $1,510 in wages or self-employment income. And when you have earned $6,040 in one year, then you have earned four credits.

Next, the number of credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits depends on your age and when your disability begins. So, to further ensure that your work credits qualify, you must meet a recent work test and a duration work test. The eligibility rules for the recent work test are as follows:

  • Before age 24: six credits earned in a three-year period, ending when your disability started.
  • Ages 24 to 31: credit for working half the time between age 21 and the age your disability started.
  • Age 31 and older: 20 credits in a 10-year period, ending when your disability started.

With that being said, the eligibility rules for the duration work test are as follows:

  • Before age 28: one and a half years of work.
  • Ages 30 to 33: two years of work.
  • Ages 34 to 37: three years of work.
  • Ages 38 to 41: four years of work.
  • Ages 42 to 43: five years of work.
  • Ages 44 to 45: five and a half years of work.
  • Ages 46 to 47: six years of work.
  • Ages 48 to 49: six and a half years of work.
  • Ages 50 to 51: seven years of work.
  • Ages 52 to 53: seven and a half years of work.
  • Ages 54 to 55: eight years of work.
  • Ages 56 to 57: eight and a half years of work.
  • Ages 58 to 59: nine years of work.
  • Ages 60 and over: nine and a half years of work.

However, everyone’s situation is different. So if you require further guidance on how to determine your work credits, consult with a skilled New Jersey SSDI attorney today.