A worker who can no longer do their job in Houston, Texas, due to physical or mental impairment may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. SSD is a program governed by the Social Security Administration that provides disabled workers monthly compensation. It differs from Supplemental Security Insurance, and workers must meet certain requirements to be eligible for benefits.
Work credit requirements for SSD
Before Congress changed the law in 1978, employees had to earn at least $50 in every quarter to count as a credit. The new law changed so that the employee only has to make a set amount in one year to total four credits per year. The amount a worker has to earn changes each year; in 2021, workers must earn $1,470 per year to earn these credits.
To qualify for SSD, the employee needs 40 credits, and the employee needs to earn 20 of the credits in the last 10 years. The final year has to end with the date the employee became unable to work.
Younger workers commonly don’t need as many credits as older workers. For example, a 24-year-old would only need to earn six credits per year based on the age they became disabled.
Workers must also have an eligible disability found in the Blue Book published by the SSA. The condition must keep the worker from performing at their full capacity for one year, and they are not expected to heal. Some conditions and illnesses covered by SSDI include respiratory conditions, musculoskeletal conditions, skin conditions, digestive disorders, digestive disorders, sensory issues, and several syndromes. If the condition is not listed, the worker may still qualify under the same rules.
Workers with low vision or blind workers must meet the SSA’s definition of blindness, which under the SSA means that vision in the better eye cannot be improved to 20/200. The SSA may determine if the worker can perform other tasks at the same job or find a less strenuous job elsewhere.
SSD claims commonly have a high initial denial rate at 67%, but the worker should get a letter explaining the denial. A lawyer familiar with SSD benefits may be able to help them file an appeal.