Why Does Social Security Say That I'm Not Eligible For Disability Benefits?

Jan 11 2017 - 5:30am

Hi, My name is Kim and I'm 48 years old.
I have a question about Disability and Work Credits. I have a Severe Immune Disease called Lupus, Spinal Stenosis, Osteoarthritis, Severe Migraines and so my Lupus Specialist suggested that i apply for disability. I did so and was denied. I appealed, but was still denied again. They said i had enough skills to find some kind of employment. At this time, I was bedridden and on infusions, but they insisted that i could work.
I eventually had to quit my job as a nurse because working 12 hour shifts was just tearing me and my body down, and i became very weak.
I went on short term disability which i had to fight to get on through my employer. Then it went to long term.
They paid me 40% of my salary for only 11 months and then they just decided not to pay me anymore. They applied for me to get my Social Security and the weirdest thing happened. Social Security responded back to the insurance company saying that i was NOT ELIGIBLE FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS??
I was like what?? So i called and inquired.
The lady at Social Security told me that for every year you don't work, you lose credits?? I told her that i have never heard of this but i thought it was unfair because i was sick and could help i was sick and could not work.
She said the laws were changed and that is how it works now?. I have worked since i was 17 years old and have always worked expect for 4 years while my children were in high school. If i had known, i would had applied in 2011 when i quit work and not waited till 2013.
So i'm majorly confused on this..HELP.

Hi Kim,

I'm sorry to hear about your health problems.

In order to be insured for Social Security disability benefits after age 31, you must have the equivalent of at least 5 years of work credits (20 quarters of coverage) within the 10 year (40 quarters) period ending with the date you become disabled. Social Security calls the credits 'quarters of coverage', referring to quarters of the year. So, each year has 4 quarters, and you can earn up to 4 quarters of coverage for each year of work.

For example, say that Joe has worked steadily and paid into Social Security since age 20. At age 42, he stops working due to health issues. Joe would be insured for disability benefits until he turns age 47, because he would still have 5 years of work credits within the 10 year period from age 37 to 47. After that, however, Joe would no longer be insured for disability benefits. If Joe filed for Social Security disability benefits after he was no longer insured, he would have to establish that he had become disabled at age 47 or earlier in order to qualify for benefits.

The crux of the matter in your case is when you are determined to have become disabled. If you worked steadily through 2011 earning 4 quarters of coverage in each of the 5 years leading up to then, you should be insured through 2016. You can still file for disability benefits after your insured status runs out, but Social Security will have to determine that you became disabled by their standards before the time that your insured status ended.

The bottom line is that you can still re-apply for Social Security disability benefits even if you are no longer insured, but you will need to establish that you became disabled by Social Security's definition prior to the time that your disability insured status ended. For more information on the Social Security disability program and how to apply for benefits, refer to the Social Security website: https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/.

Best, Jerry