SSD has different requirements than the SSA’s retirement benefits. The SSA uses work credits as a benchmark to determine who is eligible for its programs, including SSD.
To qualify for a work credit, you must earn a certain amount of money. In 2017, $1,300 of earnings equals one work credit. You can only get a maximum of four work credits each year, no matter how much money you make.
To be eligible for retirement benefits, you only need 40 work credits. But to qualify for SSD benefits, you might need to get disability benefits before retirement age, which means the work credit requirement takes into account your age when determining eligibility.
Next, the SSA defines a disability as a condition that is totally and permanently disabling. There are three guidelines to determine whether your condition is totally and permanently disabling. One, you cannot do the work you did before. Two, you cannot take other work because of the limitations of your condition. And three, your condition must have lasted or be expected to last at least a year or result in death.
It can take months for a disability claim to be processed. That is why it is important to file a claim as soon as possible. Equally important is relying on the legal advice of a trusted SSD attorney who can help you get the benefits you deserve.