Social Security Disability benefits come from the Social Security funding maintained by the U.S. government. These funds come from taxpayers. You have paid them directly out of your paychecks under your Social Security tax deductions.
The Social Security Administration explains that you need to earn work credits to be eligible for SSDI. You earn work credits when you pay your Social Security taxes.
Work credits are the way that the SSA determines your eligibility for benefits, but they do not impact how much you can receive. You need to earn a specific number of work credits to qualify for SSDI. You can earn up to four credits each year based on how much money you earn.
The SSA may change the number of dollars that equal one credit each year. For example, in 2020, it takes $1,410 to earn one credit.
To qualify for SSDI, you will need to have a certain number of credits based on your age. If you are 31 years old or older, you will need to have 20 credits. If you are under the age of 24, then you will need six credits.
If you are between the ages of 24 and 31, the calculation for the credits you need is a bit more complicated. You will need to have at least one credit for half of the time between your age now and age 21.
When you earn your credits also is a factor. You need to have earned them within the last ten years before you file for SSDI benefits.