What If I Do Not Have Enough Work Credits For Social Security Disability Benefits?

If an individual is applying for Social Security Disability, they have to be insured for the program. Insured status for Social Security Disability is earned through work activity prior to becoming disabled. Each year, an individual has the potential of earning four work credits, or quarters of coverage, toward insured status.

Social Security guidelines state that an individual must be both "fully insured" and "disability insured" to be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Fully insured status simply requires that an individual have one quarter of coverage (i.e. a work credit) for each year from their twenty-first year until the time they become disabled. Disability insured requires that an individual have earned work credits or quarters of coverage for twenty quarters of the last forty possible quarters.

Basically, an individual must have worked five out of the last ten years. There are special rules that require fewer quarters or work credits to meet disability insured status to help younger disabled workers who are 31 years old or younger to qualify to receive disability benefits.

If an individual cannot meet both the fully insured and disability insured requirements, are there any other Social Security benefits they can file for? Fortunately, there is another disability program administered by Social Security that offers disability benefits for those who do not have enough work credits for Social Security Disability benefits. This program is supplemental security income disability (SSI), and it is based upon need rather than insured status or work credits.

However, like other social need-based programs, SSI does have income and resource limits that determine if an individual is eligible for the program. Currently, the resource limit for individuals is two thousand dollars and for couples it is three thousand dollars. Resource limits exclude the highest valued vehicle that an individual or couple owns and the house/land they live on. Other resources (i.e. land, vehicles, bank accounts, etc.) are counted toward the SSI resource limit.

Resource limits have remained the same for many years, but they are subject to change at anytime. For the most, part SSI resource limits are fairly black and white; income limits are more subjective because they are affected by an individual or couple's household composition. For more information about resource and income limits for this need-based program, individual wishing to file for disability should check with their local Social Security office.

If an individual meets the income and resource limits of the SSI disability program, they may be eligible for disability benefits even if they have no work credits.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability in North Carolina

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Tips to Prepare for Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI

Advice to Win SSD and SSI Benefit Claims

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

Related pages:

How long does a Social Security Disability judge have to make a ruling?
Denial by an ALJ at a Disability Hearing
How long does it take a disability judge to make a decision?
How Many Work Credits Do You Need To Have For SSI or Social Security Disability Eligibility?
How many work quarters do you need to qualify for disability?
How Can I Get Social Security Disability If I Have Not Worked For A Long Time?
How does social security define work quarters?
Not enough quarters for Social Security Disability
What Determines If You Are Covered for SSDI - Social Security Disability Insurance
How does work qualify you for disability?
Disability lawyers - basic questions for Social Security help
How to file a disability appeal in New Jersey
If you apply for disability in in New Jersey

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

How to file for disability, tips