The number of work credits needed for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally you need 40 credits, 20 of which were 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 6 credits earned in the 3-year period ending when your disability starts.
Age 24 to 31--You may qualify if you have credit for working half the time between age 21 and the time you become disabled. For example, if you become disabled at age 27, you would need credit for 3 years of work (12 credits) out of the past 6 years (between ages 21 and 27).
Age 31 or older--In general, you need to have the number of work credits shown in the chart below.
Unless you are blind, you must have earned at least 20 of the credits in the 10 years immediately before you became disabled.
Born after 1929, Became Disabled At Age Number of Credits You Need 31 through 42 20 44 22 46 24 48 26 50 28 52 30 54 32 56 34 58 36 60 38 62 or older 40
You can find additional information about disability benefits in our Disability Planner.
Click on the following topics for more information about Social Security credits: