What is the Earnings Test in Social Security Disability?


DollarThe staff at Disability Professionals realizes that a lot of the legal jargon a disability claimant hears can be confusing and want to offer our help in sorting through the legalese so claimants understand exactly what is happening with their claim.

When you file a claim for Social Security Disability Benefits, the agency will first determine if you are disabled. After proving disability, the agency will look at your recent work and the duration of your work to qualify you for benefits, referred to as “earnings test.”

The “recent work” is based on the age of the applicant at the time of the disability, which will determine how long the applicant needs to have worked in order to qualify. The “duration of work” test proves that the applicant worked and paid Social Security taxes for a long enough period of time to qualify. Disability eligibility is based on “work quarters,” or three-month periods during which the applicant needs to have worked.

In general, however, once the disability is determined, an applicant needs to have worked 20 quarters of coverage out of the last 40, or five out of the last 10 years. Applicants need a specific amount of “credits” in order to establish eligibility for disability. In 2013, for a quarter to count, the applicant needs to have earned at least $1,160 in a three-month period. Persons younger than 24 need to have worked six quarters over three years, and those between the ages of 24 and 30 need credit for half the time for the period beginning with the quarter after turning 21 and ending with the quarter in which you became disabled. In other words, if you are 29, you would need to work four of the eight years between 21 and 29, ending in the quarter that you became disabled.

The calculations for disability benefits can be confusing, but the good news is the staff at Disability Professionals is waiting to help you.

Getting Legal Help

If you or a loved one needs to pursue a disability claim or wishes to discuss claim eligibility, give Disability Professionals a call at 855-201-9569 or email DisabilityProfessionals to set up your appointment today.



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