What are Social Security Credits?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 16, 2019

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In 2019, you get one credit for each $1,360 in earnings you have up to a maximum of four credits per year ($5,440 for the maximum four credits). The amount of earnings needed to obtain one credit increases each year.

Most people need 40 credits (which takes 10 years to accumulate) to be eligible for Social Security income during retirement, although disability or survivor benefits may require fewer credits.

Although you may obtain many more credits than you need to be eligible for Social Security benefits during your working lifetime, the extra credits do not increase your benefit. What does increase your benefits is the amount of income that you earned and made contributions on.

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