Suffering from a disability or a serious injury that results in an inability to work is only part of the equation of qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. California employees need to have also earned the minimum amount of work credits before they can apply for SSDI. 

Out of every paycheck earned, an employer withholds payroll taxes. These withholdings help fund the nation’s disability insurance program. Employees who regularly pay into the program earn credits toward their eligibility to receive SSDI benefits. As noted by U.S. News & World Report, four is the maximum number of credits that an individual may earn by working and paying taxes throughout an entire year. 

Filing for benefits — time frames and work credits required 

To qualify for SSDI benefits, an individual must have accumulated a minimum of 40 work credits. To begin receiving benefits, an employee must also have earned 20 credits within the 10 years before his or her disability began. 

An employee may need to show proof that his or her disability began at least one year before a benefits application. Maintaining records of doctor visits, treatments received and prescriptions purchased may help prove how long an individual has suffered from a disability. 

Facing financial hardships 

Employees without substantial savings may feel they have no option but to continue working if they are unable to receive SSDI benefits. When a doctor’s note shows that an individual cannot carry out certain tasks, however, an employer may place the worker on a leave of absence. When an employee can neither work nor receive benefits, he or she may face severe financial hardships. 

Appealing a denial of benefits 

Even after earning the necessary work credits and submitting medical records to prove a disability exists, an individual who applies for SSDI may receive a notice of denial. The application process is oftentimes complex, and the Social Security Administration requires substantial details during its approval procedure. When the SSA denies an individual with a disability from receiving benefits, he or she has the right to an appeal.