Social Security Credits: What Are They?

social security credits

If you are starting a Social Security disability case, or simply learning more about them, you may be wondering, “what are Social Security credits?” Social Security credits are used to determine if you have worked long enough to be eligible for benefits. If you do not have enough credits, you may not be eligible for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. However, you may still be eligible for other Social Security benefits. At Summit Disability Law Group, we know that the disability claims process can be confusing. So, this post outlines the basics of Social Security credits.

How Do I Earn Social Security Credits?

You earn credits based on your work and wages. You can earn up to 4 credits each year depending on your income. In 2017, you earn one credit for each $1,300 you earn by working. So, to get the maximum 4 credits, you need to earn at least $5,200 over the course of the year.

How Many Social Security Credits Do I Need?

The number of credits you need to qualify for benefits depends on your age. The general rule is 40 credits. However, this requirement can change depending on your age and how long you’ve worked.

  • Are you under the age of 24?

If you become disabled while under the age of 24, you can still qualify for disability benefits. You can qualify if you earned at least 6 Social Security credits in the three years before you became disabled.

  • Are you between 24 and 31 years old?

If you become disabled between the ages of 24 and 31, you can qualify for benefits, as well. If you earned at least 3 years’ worth of credits in the 6 years before you became disabled, you may be eligible for SSDI.

  • Are you 31 or older?

If you become disabled at age 31 or older, the number of credits you need varies. The Social Security Administration’s website provides the following chart so that you can know how many credits you need.

Born after 1929, Became Disabled At AgeNumber of Credits You Need
31 through 4220
62 or older40


How to Contact a Utah Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you are disabled and wondering how to get Social Security benefits, we can help! Summit Disability Law Group is dedicated completely to helping disability claimants in Utah win their claims. We will sit down with you for a free case consultation and answer any questions you may have. Then, we will go to work building you the strongest possible case! Our disability lawyers are experienced winning benefits for our clients. If you are interested in a free case consultation, please contact us today!

We also offer a free book, The Utah Social Security Disability Handbook, that explains Social Security disability in plain English, instead of the usual legal jargon. You can order your free copy today by clicking on the book’s title above!


Photo “Social Security Card” copyright by 401(K) 2012.