Last time, we began speaking about the work requirements that must be met by Social Security disability benefits claimants. As we noted, work credits are earned based on income, and a claimant must have earned a minimum number of work credits based on age in order to qualify for benefits.

While Social Security disability claimants must generally have earned 40 credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the 10 years preceding the disability, younger workers are able to qualify for benefits with fewer credits. The exact amount depends on the claimant’s age.

Claimants younger than the age of 24, for example, must have earned at least 6 credits in the three years preceding the disability. Claimants between the ages of 24 and 31 must have earned half the maximum number of work credits they could have earned since the age of 21. This means that a 22-year old must have earned two credits, a 23-year old must have earned four credits, a 24-year old must have earned six credits, and so on up until the age of 31.

When a claimant is between the ages of 31 and 42, the requirement is generally 20 work credits. The number doesn’t go up until the claimant turns 44, when 22 work credits must have been earned. From there, the work credit requirement increases by two every two years. When a claimant is 62 or older, the general requirement is 40 work credits.

In addition to the work credit requirement, there are also related requirements for the duration and recency of the claimant’s work. We’ll take a brief look at these requirements in our next post.


Social Security Administration, “Disability Planner: How Much Work Do You Need?,” Accessed March 18, 2016.

Social Security Administration, “Benefits Planner: Social Security Credits,” Accessed March 18, 2016.