Just like a regular worker, those who are self-employed can earn social security credits, that help protect them in case of disability. A person is said to be self-employed if he or she operates a trade, business or profession, either alone or with a partner. First, any work credits you earned in previous jobs will go with you, when you start your own business. Secondly, if you make profits of $400 or more per year, and pay social security taxes on those earnings, you receive additional work credits. Assuming you've worked long enough and recently enough, a self-employed person who becomes disabled can qualify for disability benefits. The amount of recent work needed depends on how old you are, when disability strikes. Your disability is judged by the same criteria as for other workers, and the amount of your benefit is calculated the same way: it's based on your lifetime earnings under social security. So if you're self-employed, it's good to know that you, too, can be eligible for disability protection. However, you'll need to report your earnings, to be properly credited. For more details, contact social security, or the irs.