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-- M. McV.
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-- J. L-C.
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-- R. M.
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-- M. McG.
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-- P. B.
Payroll contributions paid over your working lifetime are used to establish eligibility for disability benefits. Basically, you’re eligible if you’ve worked long enough and recently enough and have paid Social Security taxes.
For most wage earners, the requirement is to have 40 work credits, 20 of which were earned in the 10 years prior to your becoming disabled. Work credits are based on your yearly salary or self-employment income; you can earn up to four work credits per year. (The amount you need to earn work credits changes each year - for 2010, you must earn $1,120 for one work credit, or $4,480 for four work credits).
Disability benefits are also available to people in need who have little or no work experience. The definition of disability both for workers and for “persons in need” is the same. A person in need must have limited or no income and meager financial assets (less than $2,000 for individuals, or $3,000 for couples).
Young adults (over 18) are eligible if they become disabled before age 22, if they are disabled according to the same test used for older adults, and if they have at least one parent who is receiving either retirement or disability benefits, or else is deceased.
Children under 18 are eligible for benefits if either or both parents are disabled, regardless of whether they are themselves disabled. Child benefits normally stop at age 18; for full-time students, the cut-off is age 19.
Children under 18 can receive disability benefits if they are “persons in need” and have a medical condition that results in marked and severe functional limitations that are expected to last for at least one year.