The Vastness of the Law

How Much Will Your SSDI Benefit Be Affected By Your Past Work?

If you can no longer work at your job due to a medical or mental condition, you may be eligible for a government benefit program from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Whether or not you get benefits vary according to several factors so read on to learn more about what to expect.

Historical Earnings Record

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for people who have worked in the past. You must have earned the minimum number of work credits to qualify for benefits. The check of your previous work income is the first step in the SSA determination. When you receive paychecks, some of your earnings are deducted under what is known as FICA. This money goes toward either your disability benefits or your retirement benefits, whatever comes first. When you collect SSDI, you are collecting on the insurance you put aside while you were working.

Understanding Work Credits

The way the SSA calculates work credits is a bit complex and applicants are not expected to know how many they have when they apply for benefits. The SSA will do the math for you and provide you with both eligibility and a monthly benefit to expect. If you are curious, though, workers earn a work credit for every $1,410 they make in income. To get benefits, workers must have a certain number of work credits depending on their age. If you are disabled, unable to work, and don't have enough work credits to earn SSDI, you might want to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is based not on work credits but on how little you own in assets.

Checking Benefits Online

The SSA also offers applicants another way to quickly check whether or not they have enough work credits online. In the past, the SSA sent people statements each year but security concerns have put a stop to that. You can access your SSA account on the web by registering and logging in. Be sure to review your work record for errors before you apply.

The SSA can turn you down for benefits and work credit issues are just one of many problems applicants may encounter. If you do get a turn-down letter, don't give up. The SSA gives all applicants another opportunity to get the benefits they need and that is with an appeal hearing. You must act quickly and ask for the appeal, however. No matter what the reason is for your denial, a Social Security or disability attorney can help and with no upfront money needed. Speak to a Social Security lawyer about your SSDI application and find out how you can get approved at your appeal hearing.