The attorneys at Powell Law have represented the disabled in Social Security Disability cases since 1956 when President Eisenhower first made disability insurance available to Americans. At Powell Law, we effectively assist clients throughout the entire Social Security Disability claims process.
It is helpful for potential claimants to know some important information about the process of making a claim for disability benefits before filing an application. Once it has been determined that a claimant has a disability, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires him or her to meet a two-part test to be considered eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Thus, claimants must satisfy not one, but two, distinct earnings tests before they qualify for benefits.
What are these two different earnings tests required by Federal law? The first is known as the recent work test, which is based on the age of claimants at the time they suffered the disability. The second is the duration of work test, which provides proof that the claimant worked long enough to receive credits under the Social Security Act.
The Recent Work Test
This test requires a claimant to have worked at least five out of the last 10 years and earned enough work credits during this period to qualify for benefits. One work credit is earned for each quarter of work where Social Security taxes were paid on such income. Thus, an applicant must have a minimum of 20 work credits in the last 10 years to satisfy the recent work test for the SSDI earnings requirement.
The threshold dollar amounts necessary to earn one work credit is calculated annually by the SSA. It makes no difference in which quarter the claimant actually performs the work. In the year 2019, claimants needed to earn $1,360 for each Social Security work credit, or $5,440 to get the maximum four credits for 2019. In the year 2020, claimants need to earn $1,410 for each Social Security work credit, or $5,640 to get the maximum four credits for the year.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) bases its rules for the work tests on the calendar quarter in which the claimant turned or will turn a certain age. The calendar quarters are:
First Quarter: January 1 through March 31
Second Quarter: April 1 through June 30
Third Quarter: July 1 through September 30
Fourth Quarter: October 1 through December 31
The older a claimant, the more work credits he or she needs to qualify for benefits. If a claimant becomes disabled on or before the quarter, he or she turned age 24, then 1.5 years of work is needed during the three-year period ending with the quarter the disability began.
If a claimant becomes disabled in the quarter after turning age 24 but before the quarter the claimant turned age 31, then he or she needed to have worked during half of the time for the period beginning with the quarter after first turning 21 and ending with the quarter that the disability began.
Example: If a claimant becomes disabled in the quarter, he or she turned age 27, then three years of work out of the six-year period ending with the quarter the disability began is necessary.
If a claimant becomes disabled in the quarter, he or she turned age 31 or later, then the claimant needed to have worked during the five years out of the 10-year period ending with the quarter the disability began.
Duration of Work Test
The following table shows the requirements for how much work a claimant needs for the duration of work test based on the age of the claimant when the disability began. Qualifying workers who are blind must only meet the duration of work test.
Examples of work needed for the duration of work test:
|If you become disabled at…||Number of credits needed||Number of years worked needed:|
|Before Age 28||6||1.5 years of work|
|Age 30||8||2 yrs.|
|Age 34||12||3 yrs.|
|Age 38||16||4 yrs.|
|Age 42||20||5 yrs.|
|Age 44||22||5.5 yrs.|
|Age 46||24||6 yrs.|
|Age 48||26||6.5 yrs.|
|Age 50||28||7 yrs.|
|Age 52||30||7.5 yrs.|
|Age 54||32||8 yrs.|
|Age 56||34||8.5 yrs.|
|Age 58||36||9 yrs.|
|Age 60||38||9.5 yrs.|
|62 or older||40||10|
Some claimants are eligible for disability benefits even if they do not meet the requirement of the duration of work test. Therefore, claimants should never be dissuaded from making a claim even if unsure as to whether they qualify. Powell Law provides a foundation of over sixty years of experience in all types of disability cases, including Social Security Disability, long-term disability, short-term disability, state retirement, as well as workers’ compensation.
Our decades of experience make us the clear and obvious choice for representation in Social Security disability matters in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE, and you don’t pay unless we win!