Work Credits | Social Security Work Credits
Unlike Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) rely heavily on work credits rather than income alone. Work credits are simply a way Social Security determines if you have paid enough income taxes into the system through your paychecks.
To qualify for DIB, a claimant must have earned 20 work credits of the last 40 available (up to 4 work credits can be earned each year). This means that if you have worked approximately 5 of the last 10 years, you will probably qualify.
If you are unsure if you have enough work credits, apply for disability anyway. Since Social Security will check your work credits, it doesn’t hurt to try. They will let you know if you do not qualify. If you have a low income level, few assets, and have difficulty working, you may still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
To find out which program to apply for, and to make sure you have completed the paperwork correctly, check with a disability attorney before submitting the initial application.