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green lock security thumb

green lock security thumb



2 min read

FICA Work Credits and Social Security

As individuals move through their work career, work credits (WCs) are earned each year during which an individual earns wages and pays Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes into the Social Security system. These credits are ultimately banked so that individuals will be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in the event that the individual becomes disabled or otherwise unable to earn a living.

Complicated and Confusing

In many cases, work credits are complicated or confusing especially for individuals who are also dealing with recently becoming unable to work. To help apply for SSDI benefits, a seasoned disability attorney is often essential to help an individual.

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The Social Security Administration measures work history in three month periods which are called “quarters”. A person earns a quarter for each period that they work and earn above a certain amount of income. The maximum number a person will need over their lifetime is 40 work credits. Income information for a calendar year is due to the Social Security Administration by January 31 of each year. In 2016, a worker was required to earn $1,260 for each work credit.

The Number of Work Credits Earned

The maximum number of WCs that an individual worker can receive are four credits per year. The exact number of work credits that an individual earns depends on their employment activity and the amount that is earned.

Age Classifications

The total number of quarters a worker needs to be eligible for SSDI benefits depends on the person’s age at the time that they become disabled. These groups include the following group:

  • Individuals under the age of 24. These individuals must have accrued a minimum of six work credits to be entitled to SSDI benefits.

  • Individuals who are 24 up to 31 years old. Individuals in this group must have at least one-half of the total amount of credits that they could have earned from the time they turned 21 until the time they became disabled.

  • Individuals who are older than 31. The minimum number of work credits for individuals to receive SSDI benefits in this group are 20 work credits.

  • Individuals over the age of 42. For individuals in this age group, the minimum number of work credits to obtain SSDI benefits increases by two every two years until the age of 62.

  • Individuals who reach the age of 62. Individuals in this age group must have an overall maximum of 40 credits.

Lack of Work Credits

If an individual does not have enough WCs to be insured for SSDI benefits, the SSA offers another disability program that is based on need rather than work credits. Individuals who are not able to obtain SSDI benefits, as a result, are sometimes eligible for Supplemental Security Income disability benefits.

Obtain the Assistance of an Experienced Disability Lawyer

Navigating work credits is a particularly complicated process. If you need assistance with this process, it is often wise to contact an experienced attorney. Do not hesitate to contact Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC or its disability arm, Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group today. Our law firm can be contacted at (303) 534-1958 or by filling out our quick and convenient online form.