How do you earn credits for Social Security Disability?

I came across a question which was, "Can you purchase social security credits?"

Of course, the answer is no, you can't. The only way to build up enough credits to qualify for either social security retirement or to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits prior to retirement age is to gain them through work activity. This work activity can come through employment or through self-employment. But in either case, credits must be a reflection of one's work activity.

What happens if you do not earn enough work credits by the time you reach retirement age? Well, you really only have two choices. File for SSI or attempt to engage in further work activity for the purpose of building up work credits.

For an individual who becomes disabled and does not have enough work credits to qualify for disability, the only solution is to file an application for SSI based on disability. Theoretically, an individual in this position could also engage in work activity in an attempt to gain insured status for Social Security Disability benefits. However, most individuals who would need to file for disability would, likely, not be in the position of being able to do this.

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.

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