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How many credits are required to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits?

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security. You can earn up to a maximum of four work credits per year.

The amount of earnings required for a credit increases each year as general wage levels rise. Family members who qualify for benefits on your work record do not need work credits. The number of work credits you need for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally you need 20 credits earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled.

However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits. The rules are as follows:

  • Before age 24? You may qualify if you have six credits earned in the three-year period ending when your disability starts.
  • Age 24 to 31? You may qualify if you have credit for having worked half the time between 21 and the time you become disabled. For example, if you become disabled at age 27, you would need credit for three years of work (12 credits) out of the past six years (between age 21 and age 27).
  • Age 31 or older? You'll want to refer to the SSA's guidelines. Unless you are blind, at least 20 of the credits must have been earned in the 10 years immediately before you became disabled.

  1. What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI Disability?
  2. Do Social Security disability benefits expire?
  3. Can a person with a terminal illness qualify for disability benefits?
  4. How does Social Security decide if I am disabled?
  5. I am currently receiving Social Security disability benefits. Will my benefits be affected if I earn additional money?
  6. What is the earliest age at which I can receive Social Security disability benefits?
  7. How many credits are required to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits?
  8. Will I speed up the review process if I re-submit my application or my case profile?
  9. Can Social Security take away my SSDI benefits?
  10. I currently receive Social Security disability income benefits, but my disabilities have worsened and I have other health problems. Can my monthly benefit amount be increased?
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