Are You Insured?
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or disability benefits, you must be "insured" under the Social Security program. In simple terms, this means that you must have paid a certain amount of Social Security taxes through your work wages for a sufficient amount of time. When determining whether or not you are "insured," the Social Security Administration will consider the number of quarters of coverage you earned while you were still working.
Sometimes referred to as work credits, you earn a quarter of coverage (QC) for a certain amount of work and taxes paid. You may earn up to four credits per year, which the SSA will compute by looking at your work history and tax information. In order to receive benefits, you typically need to be fully insured, but other requirement may also apply.
Criteria to Be Fully Insured
You will be considered fully insured when you have at least one QC, or credit, for each calendar year after you turned 21 and at the earliest of the following:
- The year before you attain age 62
- The year before you die
- The year before you become disabled
The minimum number of QCs needed is six. The maximum number needed is 40. Any year (all or part of a year) that was included in a period of disability is not included in determining the number of QCs you need.
You will be permanently insured if you are fully insured and you will not lose your fully insured status when you stop working under Social Security covered employment. This means you have accumulated a sufficient amount of work credits, which can be proven by your work history and tax information. For example, if you have earned the maximum 40 QCs, you are permanently, and fully, insured. If, however, you earn less than 40 credits, you will not be considered permanently insured.
With the exceptions of applicant under the age of 31, and in certain other cases, you will be granted disability-insured status if you:
- Have earned at least 20 QCs during the last 10 years
- Are fully insured
Learn More About Your Eligibility
Our firm understands that the concept of work credits can be complicated. It is, however, one of the most important qualifying criteria used by the Social Security Administration during your disability application process. At Adams Law Group, we are prepared to walk you through the process and can clarify all work credit eligibility issues. We can also address any extenuating circumstances or exceptions involved in your claim. If you would like to discuss your personal case with an experienced and attentive attorney from our firm, contact Adams Law Group today.