Quarter of Coverage Defined
- Before 1978: Workers were credited with one credit for each three-month period in which wages of $50 or more were earned, or self-employed individuals were credited four credits for every year in which $400 or more of self-employment income was earned.
- For 1978: One credit was credited for each $250 of a worker’s total wages and self-employment income, up to a maximum of four credits for the year.
- After 1978: The amount of earnings needed to earn one credit changes automatically based on the national average wage index.
Earning Credits in 2019
Quarters of credit are based on your total wages and net self-employment income earned throughout the year, no matter which quarter during the year you did the work. You can get a maximum of four credits each year, though you might earn enough for all four in a much shorter length of time. In 2019, you must have $1,360 in covered earnings to get one Social Security credit and $5,440 to get all four credits for the year.
Credits are earned only for wages and net self-employment income subject to the 12.4 percent Social Security tax; for employees, the employer pays half the tax.
How Credits Work in Determining SSDI Eligibility
- Disabled before 24 years of age: You must have six credits earned in the three-year period before your disability starts.
- Disabled between 24 and 31 years of age: You may qualify for SSDI if you have half the number of maximum credits possible for working between age 21 and the age you become disabled. For example, if you become disabled at age 25, you would need eight credits out of the past four years, a maximum of 16 credits.
- Disabled at age 31 through 42: You need at least 20 credits.
- Disabled at age 43 through 61: The number of necessary credits increases by one each year, ranging from 21 to 39 minimum credits.
- Disabled at age 62 or older: You must have earned at least 40 credits over your lifetime, with 20 of those earned during the past 10 years.
Do you need help understanding and navigating the process of applying for Social Security Disability? Consider the Good Law Group for your representation. Call #800-419-7606 or complete our form for a complimentary case evaluation today.