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Previously called “Quarters of Coverage.” As you work and pay taxes, you earn credits that count toward your eligibility for future Social Security benefits. You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. Most people need 40 credits to qualify for benefits. Younger people need fewer credits to qualify for disability benefits.

  • If you become disabled before age 24, you generally need 1½ years of work (six credits) in the three years before you became disabled.
  • If you are 24 through 30, you generally need credits for half of the time between age 21 and the time you became disabled.
  • If you are disabled at age 31 or older, you generally need at least 20 credits in the 10 years immediately before you became disabled. The following table shows examples of how many credits you would need if you became disabled at various selected ages. This table does not cover all situations.

As of 1/1/2012 the number or work credits needed in order to become eligible for disability are as follows:

Disabled At Age

Credits Needed

Years Of Work

31 through 42

20

5

44

22

5 1/2

46

24

6

48

26

6 1/2

50

28

7

52

30

7 1/2

54

32

8

56

34

8 1/2

58

36

9

60

38

9 1/2

62 or older

40

10


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