Harbor City, CA asked in Social Security and Public Benefits for California

Q: SSDI application declined

I've had submitted an on-line application for SSDI, but it was declined because I "have not worked long enough under SS". Even though my SS statement says that I have 40 work credits necessary for benefits, they apparently looked only at the last 10 years of taxable income.

I am self-employed and was forced to put business on hold 2020-22 due to Covid-19, and chose unemployment benefits instead of applying for SSDI back then. Therefore, my SS statement indicates that I hadn't paid taxes since 2017...

Medically, I have all necessary qualifications for disability.

What can I do, what should I do- what are my options? Please advise.

Thank you.

1 Lawyer Answer
Susan Michele Schaefer
Susan Michele Schaefer
  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Prattville, AL

A: To be eligible for SSDI disability benefits, you must meet BOTH a recent work test and a duration work test. The number of credits necessary to meet the recent work test depends on your age. In general, the rules are as follows:

Before age 24 - You may qualify if you have 6 credits earned in the 3-year period ending when your disability starts.

Age 24 to 31 – You may qualify if you have covered credits for working half the time between age 21 and the time your disability began. As a general example, if you have a disability at age 27, you would need 3 years of work (12 credits) out of the past 6 years (between ages 21 and 27).

Age 31 or older - You must have at least 20 credits in the 10-year period immediately before your disability began.

In 2022, you receive one credit for each $1,510 of covered earnings, up to the maximum of four credits per year. The amount earned to receive one credit changes depending on the year. See https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/QC.html#qcseries.

Special rules apply if you were self-employed and had net annual earnings of less than $400. For more information, see https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10022.pdf.

Here is what you can do:

Go to your My Social Security account and review and verify your earnings for accuracy. If you find that the recorded earnings do not match your W-2s or other records, inform Social Security of the discrepancy so that they can correct your earnings record.

If you think that you do meet the coverage requirements, appeal the Social Security decision within 60 days.

You may want to consult with a disability attorney about your particular situation. Many offer a free initial consultation.

Cory Allison DeLellis agrees with this answer

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.