Published on: February 2, 2016
If you or a family member cannot work because of a disability, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. Unlike some programs that pay benefits to people with short term or partial disability, Social Security only allows benefits to people with medical conditions that are expected to last more than one year or result in death.
What is the earnings requirement for Disability Benefits?
There are two earnings tests that you must meet in order to qualify, the "recent work" test and the "duration of work" test. The "recent work" test is based on your age at the time you became disabled. The calendar is broken up into four quarters. Use the table below to determine the calendar quarter in which you turned a certain age.
First Quarter: January 1 through March 31
Second Quarter: April 1 through June 30
Third Quarter: July 1 through September 30; and
Fourth Quarter: October 1 through December 31
The "Recent Work" Test
If you become disabled...
- In or before the quarter you turn age 24 then you need 1.5 years of work during the three-year period ending with the quarter your disability began.
- In the quarter after you turn age 24 but before the quarter you turn age 31, you will need to have worked during half the time for the period beginning with the quarter after you turned 21 and ending with the quarter you became disabled.
- In the quarter you turn age 31 or later then you will need to have worked during five years out of the 10-year period ending with the quarter your disability began
The “Duration of Work” Test
The second test, known as the “duration of work” test, determines whether you worked long enough under Social Security. Some special considerations are given to blind workers, who are only required to meet the qualifications of the “duration of work” test. The calendar is only divided into quarters regarding your age but does not apply to the "duration of work" test.
If you become disabled...
|Before age 28, you will need ot have worked 1.5 years under social security||30 - Worked 2 years under social security|
|34 - Worked 3 years under social security||38 - Worked 4 years under social security|
|42 - Worked 5 years under social security||44 - Worked 5.5 years under social security|
|46 - Worked 6 years under social security||48 - Worked 6.5 years under social security|
|50 - Worked 7 years under social secuirty||52 - Worked 7.5 years under social security|
|54 - Worked 8 years under social security||56 - Worked 8.5 years under social security|
|58 - Worked 9 years under social security||60 - Worked 9.5 years under social security|