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What are work credits for disability benefits?

When a Philadelphia resident takes a new job, they may earn employment benefits over time. For example, they may not be able to take vacation time during their first few months, or not be able to participate in certain retirement benefits. And, individuals are often required to qualify for certain benefits through work by demonstrating that they are going to stay in their jobs.

Similarly, individuals who wish to apply for Social Security Disability benefits generally must earn work credits to qualify. A person earns work credits by holding down a job and paying, through their paychecks, to the Social Security Administration. The longer a person works, the more credits they acquire.

For example, imagine a 29-year-old individual who suffers a disabling injury and can no longer work. They must qualify for disability benefits by showing that their ailment meets the definition of the term under the Social Security Administration's instructions. But, they must also have sufficient work credits to receive support.

Individuals between the ages of 24 and 31 must work for half of the years between the age of 21 and the age at which they are disabled. In this situation, the 29-year-old applicant would need to work for 4 years, with 4 being half of the 8 years that passed between the applicant turning 21 and becoming disabled at 29.

Understanding how one's work credits may impact an application for disability benefits is confusing. It can benefit individuals in the disability benefits application process to talk about their questions with legal professionals who make disability benefits their business. Individual claims should be reviewed on their own merits to ensure that applicants receive the best possible guidance.

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee