Social Security Credits Check | How to Qualify for Social Security Benefits

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Last Updated on April 12, 2023

Social Security Credits Check: Social Security work credits are units the government uses to determine if you’ve worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. For 2023, you must earn $1,640 to get one Social Security credit, and $6,560 to earn the maximum amount of four credits. You can find out how many work credits you’ve acquired by checking your Social Security statement online or via mail.

Social Security Credits Check

How do people qualify for programs like Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Medicare? While requirements vary, one way your eligibility for benefits is determined is by how many Social Security work credits you’ve earned.

How many work credits do I need to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits?

You must earn at least 40 Social Security credits to qualify for Social Security benefits. You earn credits when you work and pay Social Security taxes.

These credits don’t have to be earned consecutively. If you spend time out of the workforce and then return, you just keep adding to the credits you’ve already earned.

The number of Social Security work credits you earn does not impact how much you receive in retirement benefits. Rather, your payment amount is based on your average earnings over the course of your working years.

How many work credits do I need to qualify for Disability Benefits

To be eligible for disability benefits, you must meet a recent work test and a duration work test.

The number of credits necessary to meet the recent work test depends on your age. 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 – In general, you may qualify if you have credit for working half the time between age 21 and the time your disability began. As an example, if you develop a disability at age 27, you would need 3 years of work (12 credits) out of the past 6 years (between ages 21 and 27).
  • Age 31 or older – In general, you must have at least 20 credits in the 10-year period immediately before your disability began.

How many work credits do I need to qualify for Survivors Benefits

The number of credits needed for family members to be eligible for survivors benefits depends on your age when you die. The younger you are, the fewer credits needed. Nobody needs more than 40 credits.

Under a special rule, we can pay benefits to your children and your spouse caring for your children, even if your record doesn’t have the number of credits needed. They can get benefits if you have credits for 1 and 1/2 year’s work (6 credits) in the 3 years before your death.

If you are receiving retirement or disability benefits at the time of your death, we will pay your survivors based on that entitlement. We will not have to determine your credits again.


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