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How Many Work Credits Do You Need to Qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits?

Many claimants are shocked to learn that they are not eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) because they don’t have enough work credits.  So the question is how many work credits do you need to be eligible for DIB? Well, that depends on how old you are when you become disabled. If in the unfortunate event you become disabled, you will need to meet the following “work credit” requirements:

  • Claimants under the age of 24 generally need to have worked at least 1½ years of the most recent three years before they became disabled. This will have earned the claimant 6 work credits.
  • Claimants that fall between the ages 24 through 30 typically need to have worked for half of the time between age 21 and the date they became disabled.
  • If the claimant became disabled at age 31 or older, they generally need to have earned at least 20 work credits during the last 10 years.

The following table illustrates how many credits you would need if you became disabled at various ages.

Note: This table does not take into consideration every possible scenario.  

 Disabled At Age

Credits Needed 

Years of work

31 through 42

20

5

44

22

46

24

6

48

26

50

28

7

52

30

54

32

8

56

34

58

36

9

60

38

62 or older

40

10