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Am I eligible for Social Security Disability benefits?

If an injury has made you unable to work in Missouri, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. As long as you are over 18 have earned sufficient “credit” in your work, you can apply for these benefits, but many workers do not understand the Social Security credit system.

Social Security credits are not the same as financial credit. Rather, these are abstract values attached to your work to measure how long and how recently you have worked — and how much money you have earned.

How many credits you need

How many credits you need to be eligible for disability benefits depends primarily on your age, income, years of work and how recent those years were. Most workers over 31 need at least twenty credits earned in the previous ten years. Those younger have more relaxed requirements as the government assumes less time in the workforce. After you pass 42 years of age, the number of credits you need increases by two every two years for most individuals.

How you earn credits

In short, you earn credits by working. Most workers, including those self-employed, receive one credit for approximately each $1500 they earn. This dollar amount varies based on inflation and income averages. Most workers cannot earn more than four credits per year, regardless of their salary. Special credit incentives or requirements may apply to military service members, farm or church workers and domestic workers.

Some workers are not eligible for Social Security disability benefits regardless of how much they have worked. For example, many federal, state and government workers are ineligible for benefits, nor are many workers without a record of their pay.