How to Get Extra Credit


Every time you work and pay taxes, you earn work credits. These credits add up and make you eligible for SSDI.

If you have been told that you are not eligible for SSDI, it’s a good idea to check and see how close you are to becoming eligible.

Sometimes people are very close to having the right amount of work credits. They may just be one credit short. Or half a credit.

In this situation, many disability lawyers recommend that a person tries to earn the credits they need and then apply.

Why Don’t I Have Enough Credits?

🌸 Possibly you did not work enough

🌸 Possibly you waited a long time to apply and some of your credits expired

🌸 Possibly you did not pay enough Social Security tax or Self Employment tax.

🌸 Possibly you need to check and correct your Social Security earnings records.

How Many More Credits Do I Need?

🌸 Here’s where you can figure out  how many more credits you need.

🌸 To figure it out, you’ll also need to know how much it takes to earn a work credit (by year)

How Do I Get Credits?

🌸  You get credits by working and either paying Social Security tax or Self Employment tax.

🌸  If you are homebound or too ill to work a regular job, some people with disabilities start small at-home businesses a few hours per week.

🌸  Some people with disabilities who are not able to work outside the home have small jobs they do online a few hours per week.

🌸 The U.S. Small Business Administration offers loans and resources to help people with disabilities start businesses. Even if you are severely disabled, there may be some type of business you can do a few hours per week. For example, some people start businesses selling their art or other items they make, or offering other services they are able to do (such as housesitting when people go on vacation or providing companionship to an elderly person). Many people who start small businesses begin by reaching out to friends and family, and asking them to become customers.

🌸  Social Security will determine your work credits by looking at how much Social Security tax you paid. For self-employment, they will look at how much Self Employment taxes you paid.

🌸  If you are operating a small business or you are self-employed, make sure that you properly complete all your tax forms and pay any self-employment tax that you owe. If your business brings in money, but you have a lot of expenses and deductions, it is possible you will earn zero credits. Once again, work credits are based on self-employment tax.

🌸  Unearned income does not count. It will not help if you get an inheritance, or collect student financial aid, or win the lottery. Work credits are based on taxes from working.

🌸  If you earn more than $1,170 per month for more than 3 months in a row, Social Security may consider that you are not disabled right now. You can still apply if you become disabled in the future, but any medical records you have now may not count.


These examples are from 2017. The numbers change every year. You can earn a maximum of four work credits per year.

🌸  Suzy earns $1,300 per year. Suzy gets 1 work credit per year.

🌸  Suzy earns $5,200 per year. Suzy gets 4 work credits per year.

🌸  Suzy earns $10,200 per year. Suzy gets 4 work credits per year.

🌸  Suzy earns $6,000 and has $5,000 in business expenses. Suzy gets 0 work credits.

Learn More:

Earning more work credits is not your only option. Here are some more options for How to Apply for Disability When You are Told You Can’t Apply for Disability

Robin Mead



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