Social Security uses a system of credits as one of its ways of determining eligibility for benefits. These credits are earned by earning income. There are specific rules in place that regulate how these credits can be earned and to what extent. As someone who may need Social Security disability benefits, it is a good idea to be familiar with how this credit system works.
Amount for 2009
Workers will receive one credit for each $1,090 of earnings, up to the maximum of four credits per year in 2009. Each year the amount of earnings needed for credits goes up slightly as average earnings levels increase. Changing jobs or not having earnings for a while does not wipe your Social Security record clean.
Work That Is Not Covered
Not all fields of work are covered by Social Security. Most federal employees hired before 1984 do not count, as well as railroad employees with more than 10 years of service, employees of some state and local governments that chose not to participate in Social Security, or children younger than age 21 who do household chores for a parent.
Certain lines of work have special rules for earning Social Security coverage. Those who are self-employed earn credits in the same way as employees. Special rules apply is the self-employed has net annual earnings of less than $400. There are also special rules about:
- Domestic work
- Farm work
- Work for a church or church-controlled organization that does not pay Social Security taxes