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  • Christopher Le

Why Did SSA deny me Social Security Disability benefits saying I dont have my work credits?

Understanding SSDI: How Many Credits Do You Need to Qualify?


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a crucial program designed to provide financial support to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. Qualifying for SSDI requires meeting specific eligibility criteria, including accumulating a certain number of credits. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of how many credits an individual needs to qualify for SSDI and shed light on the factors that influence this requirement.

  1. What are SSDI credits? SSDI credits are a measure of an individual's work history and earnings. These credits are earned based on the amount of income an individual generates and the payment of Social Security taxes. They serve as a fundamental factor in determining SSDI eligibility.

  2. Earning SSDI credits: To earn SSDI credits, individuals must be employed and pay Social Security taxes. The amount of income required to earn one credit changes each year. As of 2023, one credit is earned for every $1,640 of earnings, up to a maximum of four credits per year. The earnings threshold for earning a credit typically increases slightly each year to account for inflation.

  3. How many credits do you need to qualify? The number of credits needed to qualify for SSDI depends on an individual's age at the time of disability onset. Generally, to be eligible for SSDI, applicants need to have accumulated a minimum of 20 to 40 credits, with a minimum of 40 credits being the most common requirement.

  4. Age-based credit requirements: a) Under the age of 24: Individuals who become disabled before the age of 24 generally need at least six credits earned in the three years preceding their disability onset. b) Ages 24 to 31: For those who become disabled between the ages of 24 and 31, the general guideline is having earned credits for half the time between age 21 and the time of disability onset. c) Age 31 or older: Most individuals aged 31 or older need a minimum of 20 credits earned in the ten years preceding their disability onset.

  5. Additional considerations: While the credit requirements serve as a general guideline, the SSA also evaluates the duration and recency of an individual's work history. This means that having the minimum number of credits may not be sufficient if the work history is limited or too far in the past. Additionally, the severity of the disability and its impact on an individual's ability to work are significant factors in determining eligibility for SSDI.

SSDI credits play a crucial role in determining an individual's eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance. Accumulating the required number of credits, along with meeting other eligibility criteria, is essential for successfully qualifying for SSDI benefits. By understanding the credit system and considering age-based requirements, individuals can better navigate the application process and access the financial support they need during times of disability.


Remember, it's always beneficial to consult with a disability attorney or reach out to the Social Security Administration directly for personalized guidance on your specific situation.

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