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The Flint Journal & Genesee County Bar Association’s “Ask the Attorney” Column


Q. I applied for Social Security Disability. I was turned down. I was told I do not have enough credits. What does that mean?

A. Social Security Disability is insurance that employers and employees are required to purchase under federal law. While working, employers and employees pay Social Security taxes so that employees earn credits for the Social Security Disability and Social Security Retirement programs. You have to earn enough credits, that is, work enough in your lifetime, and recently enough before becoming disabled, in order to be eligible for Social Security Disability. When employers try to cheat the IRS by treating their employees as independent contractors and by not paying Social Security withholdings, employees may suffer years later and find themselves ineligible for Social Security Retirement or Social Security Disability. If you are disabled, you may be eligible for benefits based upon another person’s earning record like a spouse or parent. If not, Social Security also has a welfare program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that may provide you with a modest benefit, depending upon your other assets and income. It is a good idea to review your earnings record to make sure Social Security has properly recognized all of the credits you earned and work you performed. Feel free to contact us for a consultation regarding your Social Security questions.

Atty Robert J. MacDonald
–March 2011