Tennesseans who are disabled and who want to apply for Social Security disability benefits must have earned a qualifying number of work credits and meet other work requirements to be eligible. The Social Security Administration requires workers aged 31 and older to earn a minimum of 20 work credits in the 10 years preceding their application, and they must have worked at least five years out of those 10 years. If people do not have enough work credits or do not meet the work requirements, they might still be eligible for Supplemental Security income. Social Security disability lawyers might review the work history of applicants to help them determine whether they should apply for SSDI or SSI.
Qualifying Work Credits
For SSDI, work credits are calculated according to the amount of money that the worker earns. In 2018, one work credit is worth $1,320. The maximum number of work credits that can be earned in one year is four. As people age, they need more work credits to qualify for SSDI. The Social Security Administration applies a recent work test for people who are older than age 31. Under this test, workers must have worked at least five years out of the past 10, which equates to earning 20 work credits in the past 10 years.
People who are between the ages of 24 and 29 when they apply for SSDI are required to have worked at least 50 percent of the time since they reached age 21. People who are younger than 21 must have worked enough to have earned at least six credits in the past three years.
Not Enough Credits?
Disabled people who have not earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI may still be eligible for SSI. Unlike SSDI, SSI does not depend on an applicant’s work history or past earnings. The program provides a minimum amount of monthly benefit payments to people who are disabled and can demonstrate financial need. Both programs are designed to help people whose disabilities prevent them from working.