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What is Credits?

Definition of Credits

A "credit" is used to measure a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicant's work under the Social Security Disability program. SSDI applicants who do not have enough "work credits" are considered uninsured and do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Social Security credits are generated based on a person's total covered annual earnings, and a claimant can earn up to a maximum of four credits every year.

In 2012, claimants must earn $1,130 in covered earnings to get one Social Security work credit. Claimants who earn $4,520 can get the maximum of four credits. Note: the way a credit is earned has changed over the years and prior to 1978 the method to calculate a credit has changed. Credits do not determine a claimant's Social Security Disability benefit amount. Monthly benefit payment amounts are calculated, instead, based on a claimant's average earnings over their work life. The amount of credits needed to qualify for SSDI benefits is based on the claimant's age at the time of disability. Most claimants will need 40 credits, 20 of which be earned in the last 10 years ending with the year the claimant became disabled. It may be possible for younger claimants to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance with fewer work credits. Contact the Social Security Administration for information concerning the exact number of credits needed to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance.


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