Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row Rotating Header Image

Limits on Social Security Disability Coverage

Photo credit: steelo

When you leave full-time employment, there is a period of time after that when you will continue to be covered by Social Security Disability Benefits. Welcome to the 20/40 Rule.

The 20/40 Rule

If you have become disabled after you’ve left employment, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits – assuming that you’re under Full Retirement Age (FRA). In a case such as this, if you have worked the required number of quarters to be eligible for Disability Benefits, the rule is that you must have worked 20 quarters out of the previous 40 quarters, earning at least the minimum.

This is the 20/40 Rule. The quarters don’t need to be consecutive, but it must be 20 out of the 40 quarters just prior to the onset of the disability. Another way to look at it is that for five years after you leave employment you will continue to be covered by Social Security Disability Benefits, again assuming that you’re under FRA.

If you work, even part-time, ($1,730 earned in a quarter for 2024), this will count as a quarter for your coverage.

The 20/40 Rule is adjusted for age, as well. If you’re under age 24 when you become disabled, you must have worked for 6 quarters out of the prior 12 quarters before you become disabled. Between ages 24 and 31, the numbers are half of the quarters after your age 21 – so if you’re 29, you would need to have 16 of the 32 quarters after your age 21. After you reach age 31, the 20/40 Rule lives up to its name – 20 quarters out of the prior 40.

Once you reach FRA, Social Security Disability Benefits are converted to Retirement Benefits, so this rule doesn’t apply any more.

Get involved!

Discover more from Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading