Social Security Work Credits


I just discovered work credits through the social security website and I’m at a loss for understanding them completely.

In: 1

Basically you earn “1 credit” every quarter of a year that you are employed. In order to qualify to receive Social Security payments you must have 40 credits. Basically the government wants you to have worked at least 10 years before you will be allowed to collect Social Security, but by using a quarterly ‘credits” system it is easier to reach this goal if you have a sporadic work history (you work for a short time here and there, never for a full year at a time). You do have to earn a certain minimum amount in each quarter for it to count as a credit, but that amount is not all that high ($1,640 per quarter is the 2023 requirement.)

There are a few circumstances where you can receive payments from Social Security if you have less than 40 credits, but those mainly apply either to people that are disabled or are a surviving spouse of someone who was paying in to the system. Even then I believe that you are required to have a certain number of credits that varies based upon your age when you apply for disability or survivor benefits.