What does Credits mean?
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), claimants must have worked long enough and recently enough and paid sufficient employment taxes. Credits are calculated based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income, and claimants can earn up to four credits each year.
The amount needed for a claimant to generate a credit changes from year to year, and the number needed to qualify for SSDI will also depend on the age of the claimant at the time they become disabled. Most claimants will need 40 credits to qualify and 20 of those credits must be earned within the last 10 years before they became disabled. Younger claimants may qualify for SSDI with fewer credits. For instance, before the age of 24 a claimant may qualify for SSDI benefits if they have six credits earned in the three year period ending when their disability started.
Consider, a claimant may be qualified at a given point in time, but if they stop working, there will be a point in the future called their date last insured (DLI) where they will no longer be considered insured for SSDI benefits, regardless of how much the paid into the system in prior years.