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SSD benefits and your "work credits"

Navigating the Social Security Disability benefits process can be tricky, but there is some basic information everyone should know to help them understand the system.

To qualify for SSD, you must be unable to work due to a condition that is deemed to be fully and permanently disabling. For purposes of SSD you may be considered disabled, if you are unable to do the work that you had done previously, your current medical condition keeps you from being able to do other types of work, and your condition is such that it has or will last for at least one year, or is expected to result in death. There is an extensive list of conditions that may qualify for SSD, including, but not limited to, respiratory disorders, neurological disorders, mental disorders and various types of debilitating injuries, such as spinal injuries.

Once you have determined if you qualify for SSD, you will of course want to know how much you will be able to receive. Determining the dollar amount of SSD benefits will be based on the amount worked, and will be calculated through work credits. In 2017, in order to qualify for one work credit you will need to have $1,300 in earnings. You can earn a maximum of four work credits per year; therefore, if you earn more than $5,200 a year you will be eligible for the maximum of four credits. The number of credits needed to qualify for SSD will vary depending on your age. As a general rule, you will need at least 40 credits to qualify. Younger workers may be able to qualify with fewer credits For instance if you are 35 years old, you may qualify if you have a total of 20 credits.

It is quite common for first- time claims to be denied, and many people are not approved for the full amount they need and deserve for the long-term care required by their condition. There are a number of options to pursue if your claim has been denied. It is helpful to have the assistance of an attorney experienced in SSD claims to help you throughout this challenging process.

Source: The Motley Fool, "Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability?" Wendy Connick, Nov. 26

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