Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

How Many Work Credits Do You Need To Have For SSI or Social Security Disability Eligibility?

Many people are confused as the eligibility criteria for the two disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration. The confusion most likely occurs because both disability programs use the same medical determination process. However, it is the non-disability criteria that separate the two programs: Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability.

Social Security disability, not SSI, is dependent upon insured status that is earned through work activity. The minimum amount of work credits (quarters of coverage) needed for insured status is six and the maximum needed to be fully insured with Social Security is forty quarters of coverage. An individualís age at the time they become disabled determines the amount of credits they need to be "fully insured".

Social Security applicants must cross one more hurdle to be entitled to Social Security disability. They must also be "disability insured". Disability insured status requires that an individual be fully insured and have twenty quarters of coverage in the past ten years to be disability insured. This means an individual must have worked five out of the last ten years prior to becoming disabled to be insured for Social Security disability.

There are exceptions for individuals who are under the age of thirty-one and certain other cases. Work activity also determines the amount of an individual's disability benefitS and if there is any extra money on their record to pay their dependents (i.e. children, spouses, and in rare instances parents).

Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI), on the other hand, has no insured status requirement. In fact, an individual could potentially be eligible for SSI even if they have never worked. Additionally, SSI disability allows eligibility to children who are disabled themselves. But if you are an adult who receives SSI disability, your children will not receive benefits simply because they are your dependents.

SSI eligibility depends upon an individualís income and resources, because it is a need-based disability program. Currently, the resource limit for an individual is $2000.00 and the coupleís limit is $3000.00. Resources are cash on hand, bank accounts, land other than where an individual or couple reside, vehicles other than the highest valued, heir property, 401Ks, stocks, bonds, etc.

If an individual meets the resource limit (i.e. asset limit), they still have to meet an income limit. Income is defined as wages, pensions, unemployment benefits, short or long term disability benefits, rental income etc.

Income limit amounts vary depending upon family composition. Parentsí income and resources are counted against children until they are eighteen. Additionally, the SSI benefit amount is set by Social Security each year and there is no possibility of additional money for their dependents. In a nutshell, Supplemental Security Income disability has nothing to due with insured status, so there is no connection with work credits and SSI eligibility.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

How many work quarters do you need to qualify for disability?
What If I Do Not Have Enough Work Credits For Social Security Disability Benefits?
What Determines If You Are Covered for SSDI - Social Security disability Insurance?
How does social security define work quarters?
Not enough accumulated quarters for Social Security Disability, what do I do?
SSA Medical Exam and your own Physician

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria