How Do I Meet the Earnings Requirement for Disability Benefits?

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance, which means that, like other forms of insurance, its purpose is to protect the insured against certain adverse events. In the case of disability insurance, the insured is entitled to a payout in the event that they become disabled. To pay for this insurance, a special tax, called a Social Security tax, is automatically deducted from your paycheck in most cases.

In addition to having a qualifying disability, people who apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration must also meet earnings requirements. These requirements differ, depending on whether you currently receive benefits or are currently paying into the system.

Work credits

When you become eligible for disability and begins receiving payments, the amount you receive depends on how many work credits you earned throughout your working life. Each time you earn a certain amount, you receive a work credit. A maximum of four credits may be earned each year, so a higher income doesn’t necessarily mean a higher disability payment.

In addition to having enough work credits, a person must have enough recent work to qualify for SSDI. If a person works a lot in their twenties but hasn’t worked in the last ten years, they’re likely ineligible for SSDI payments.

Working while receiving disability

Once you receive SSDI, you will probably keep it until your condition improves. However, you can lose eligibility if you work and earn more than the cutoff amount, which is $1,220 as of 2019. Each month that you earn over this amount is considered a “trial work month,” and you can only have so many of these before your benefits will be cut off.

Working and receiving benefits can be tricky, but many people are better off, even if they eventually lose their benefits as a result. If you’re interested in returning to work but you don’t know if it’s right for you, we can help you decide. Katherine has worked on many disability cases, and she’s helped many people at every point in the process, including returning to work. Call, email, or text us to get help today!