Qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance

If you have an illness or injury and are thinking of applying for Social Security disability, the first thing you need to do is to confirm that you are “insured” in accordance with the agency’s requirements. This insurance status is also required for people who are applying for retirement or survivors benefits as well.

Social Security measures eligibility by quarters of coverage (QC) or credits. A quarter is a three-month period.  In 2019, for example, you must have earned one credit for each $1,360 in wages or self-employment income. When you’ve earned $5,440, you’ve earned your four credits for the year. However, you cannot earn any more than four quarters of coverage in one year, no matter how much you actually earn in dollar amounts. The agency begins counting quarters of coverage after a person turns 21 years of age.

For the purposes of disability, in order to reach insured status, a person needs to have at least one credit for each year after they turn 21 years of age and the year they become disabled. They must have earned a minimum of six credits.

In order to be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be fully insured and have earned credits, with at least 20 credits earned over the prior 10 years. The agency does make exceptions for claimants who are younger than 31 years old.

  • Before age 24: Applicant needs six credits earned in the three-year period ending when their disability starts.
  • Age 24 to 31: Applicants may qualify if they have credit for working half the time between age 21 and the time they become disabled. For example, if they become disabled at age 27, they would need credit for three years of work (12 credits) out of the past six years (between ages 21 and 27).

According to agency rules, a person is considered fully and permanently insured if they have earned the maximum number of 40 credits. There are other conditions that Social Security will also consider a person permanently insured that your attorney can go over with you to see if you qualify.

There are many complicated rules and regulations that the Social Security Administration has in place regarding eligibility for disability insurance. For example, once you are fully insured and stop working, your fully insured status will eventually expire. An experienced disability attorney can answer all your questions regarding your potential claim.

Call a Social Security Disability Attorney for Help

If you have suffered an injury that has left you with a permanent disability that is hampering your ability to work and earn a wage, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, many applicants find the process of applying for benefits complex and frustrating, since many are denied upon their first application.

A qualified disability benefits lawyer can help you present your case to Social Security and, if they still ignore you, appeal to the appropriate court. Even if you have already been denied benefits, our firm may be able to help. Contact a lawyer, like a social security lawyer in Memphis TN to speak with an attorney today about your case.

Thank you to Darrell Castle & Associates, PLLC for their information on qualifying for social security disability insurance.