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I don't understand the work requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance. What are work credits?

In order to qualify for disability benefits, Social Security usually requires you to have worked at least five of the past ten years.

The Social Security Administration awards you work credits when you are employed in a job and pay Social Security taxes. These credits are based solely on earnings and are used to assess your eligibility for disability, retirement, and survivor’s benefits.

For 2016, you will obtain one credit for every $1,260 of earnings, with a maximum of four credits awarded per year. The credits earned remain on your Social Security record even if you change jobs or remain unemployed for some time.