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How to earn work credits for Social Security Disability benefits

Workers in Washington who have suffered injuries or illnesses that left them unable to return to work will likely have significant financial concerns. They might also have questions about Social Security Disability and their eligibility for benefits. Individuals will be considered for benefits if they worked in occupations that are on the Social Security list of covered jobs, and their medical condition must meet the disability definition of the program. Furthermore, the disability must be permanent or of a nature that will prevent the return to work for at least one year.

Along with the above criteria for eligibility, the applicant for benefits must have enough Social Security work credits -- based on the number of years worked and contributing to Social Security. The total annual wages earned, or income from self-employment, will determine how many credits were earned -- no more than four credits per year. The amount of income required to obtain one credit varies from year to year.

In 2018, every $1,320 earned will provide one credit, and earning $5,280 in one year means earning four credits. The required number of credits to make anybody eligible for Social Security benefits will depend on his or her age at the time of becoming disabled. How recently the credits were earned are also considered. The typical requirement is 40 credits, of which 20 had to be obtained within the 10 years prior to the incident that caused the disability -- including the year of becoming disabled. However, exceptions exist because fewer credits could be required for younger workers who have worked for limited years.

Washington workers who find themselves in such dire circumstances might want to consider consulting with an attorney who is experienced in dealing with Social Security Disability matters. A lawyer can answer questions and explain the client's rights to benefits and also assess eligibility. If the client qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits, the attorney can assist with the navigation of ensuing proceedings.

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