Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays out monthly benefits to individuals who have suffered a disability prior to reaching retirement age and no longer have the ability to work. You are required to have worked a set number of years in a job where you paid Social Security (FICA) taxes in order to be eligible to receive SSDI benefits. This translates into earning a specific number of work credits. In any given year, you are eligible to earn a maximum of 4 work credits. If, when you become disabled, you have not worked the required length of time, but also have a low level of income and assets, you are eligible to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) instead.
Work credits required to qualify
The SSA converts your earned income into work credits. This is how the agency determines if you have worked enough to qualify for SSD. The amount of income it takes to earn 1 work credit is calculated every year. For example, in 2019, you must earn $1,360 to receive one work credit of Social Security. Or, you must earn $5,440 to receive the maximum available for work credits for the entire year. It does not matter in what portion of the year you earned the income.
As your age increases, the number of work credits required to qualify for SSD benefits also increases. The SSA provides two tests you must pass related to work credits. These are: the “duration of work test” and the “recent work test.”
SSDI eligibility for family members
Family members of workers who qualify for SSDI are eligible to receive dependents benefits through the program. For example, an individual who receives SSDI and also has a medically disabled adult child is eligible to receive benefits for the adult child, even if the child has never worked. These dependents benefits are also provided for spouses, ex-spouses, and minor children.
How much can you receive in SSDI?
If you qualify for SSD benefits, the dollar amount you receive each month will be calculated based on your average lifetime earnings prior to the start of your disability. Your benefits are not based on how much income you have or the severity of your disability.
If you are receiving disability benefits from a private long-term disability insurance policy, your SSD benefits will not be reduced. If you receive disability benefits regulated by the government, such as temporary disability benefits from the state or workers’ compensation benefits, your Social Security Disability benefits may be reduced.
Your SSD and other disability benefits afforded by the government cannot exceed more than 80% of the average amount you earned prior to becoming disabled. However, your SSD benefits will not be reduced on account of any SSI or VA benefits you receive.
If you have suffered an injury that has left you disabled, our Maryland Social Security Disability attorneys at Plaxen & Adler, P.A. are here to help. We can represent you if you are facing a denied SSD claim and help you secure the benefits you deserve. To schedule a free consultation to go over your case, please call us today at 410.988.4449 or complete our contact form.