NewslettersSign inAPP
spainSPAINargentinaARGENTINAchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOperuPERUlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA


What happens if I don’t get 40 credits for Social Security?

Generally, you need to acquire 40 credits to receive Social Security benefits. However, in the case of SSDI, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.

What to know about Social Security credits and benefits

In order to receive Social Security benefits, generally workers in qualified employment must earn 40 credits, or ten years’ worth. However, younger workers that become disabled may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) with fewer credits.

Those that are under age 24 may meet the work test to receive disability benefits with just a year and a half of qualified work, or 6 credits. But you must also meet the disability test, partial or short-term disabilities do not qualify for disability benefits. If you meet the disability qualifications but don’t have enough credits, you may be able to receive Supplemental Support Income (SSI) benefits.

What are Social Security credits?

Workers can earn up to four Social Security credits towards eventual benefits each year. Most workers will earn 40 credits well before they reach the minimum retirement age of 62, the threshold to apply for old-age benefits.

For every $1,510 in wages or self-employment income in 2022 you earn one credit. After earning $6,040, you’ve earned your four credits for the year. These amounts change from year to year based on a computation of the change in the national average wage index.

Number of Social Security credits for disability benefits depends on age

In order to qualify for disability benefits, besides having a qualifying disability, you must have worked for a certain amount of time prior to your disability in addition to meeting the credit requirement based on you age. The Social Security Administration breaks the minimum credit thresholds for workers into three age groups.

Before age 24: In the three years prior to becoming disabled, you must have earned six credits in order to meet the work test to qualify for SSDI.

Age 24 to 31: You must have worked in qualifying employment at least half the time since turning 21. For example, if you become disabled at age 28, you would need 14 credits, or the equivalent of three and a half years of covered work out of the past seven years.

Age 31 or older: In the ten years immediately preceding the start of your disability, you generally need to have accumulated 20 credits, or five years of qualifying work.

The Social Security Administration provides a sliding scale for the number of credits you may need based on your age at the time your disability begins. However, it is only an estimate and does not cover all situations.


To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?