Duration of Work Test

SSDI Lawyers in Chicago

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal insurance program that offers benefits to those who aren’t able to work because of serious, continuous disabilities. SSDI benefits are offered based on whether you meet strict medical requirements and whether you worked for a specific period of time before you claimed disability. You will need to pass the duration of work test if you hope to obtain SSDI benefits. Even if you meet this test, you may struggle to qualify for benefits, and it is helpful to retain a skillful Chicago Social Security attorney to represent you through the application process and any subsequent appeal.

Work Credits

Whether you can obtain SSDI benefits depends on your work credits. These are credits you earn each year you earn wages and pay FICA taxes into the Social Security system. You can get up to 4 work credits every year, but how many credits you earn in a year depends on how much you work and earn. Generally, to obtain SSDI benefits, you need to have earned a total of 20 work credits, and if you’re over age 31, you need that many credits earned over the last 15 years.

Duration of Work Test

SSDI applicants need to pass two tests related to work credits to get benefits. The older an applicant you are, the more work credits you’ll need to qualify for SSDI. Two tests need to be passed to determine work credits and eligibility. Under the recent work test, you must have worked for a specific number of years in the period just before you became disabled. If you’re under age 24, you need to have worked at least 1.5 years before you turned 21 in order to pass this test. However, if you’re between 24-31, you need to have worked for half the required time starting when you turned 21. If you are 31 or older, you need to have worked for 5 out of the 10 years before you became disabled. The second test is the duration of work test.

The duration of work test measures how much work you did over the course of your life. Usually younger beneficiaries who pass the recent work test also pass the duration of work test, but the requirement gets more difficult for older beneficiaries, particularly for beneficiaries who are 42 or older.

Even if you haven’t earned a sufficient number of work credits to obtain SSDI, you may still be eligible for disability benefits under the Supplement Security Income (SSI) program, which doesn’t have a work requirement. An experienced Social Security lawyer can help you pursue either SSDI or SSI benefits.

Self Employment and Work Credits

The Social Security Administration uses the amount of money you make in a calendar year to calculate how much time you have spent working. This means that a self-employed person or a seasonal worker can also obtain SSDI benefits based on how much was earned, rather than serving as an “employee.”

Most people, over the course of their lifetimes, earn more credits than the minimum needed to become eligible for benefits. The additional credits don’t increase how much the benefit is. Rather, the earnings averages over your years worked determine the amount of the disability payment.

Consult a Skilled SSDI Attorney in Chicago

If you have become disabled and want to apply for SSDI benefits in Chicago, the duration of work test will be important to your claim for benefits. Working with an experienced SSDI lawyer can be helpful in preparing your initial application and making any needed appeals. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent clients in Quincy, Aurora, Rockford, Springfield, and Champaign, as well as Kane County, Cook County, Sangamon County, Winnebago County, and Adams County. We will also look closely at your situation to determine whether other relief, such as damages in a personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation benefits may be available. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online.