To get disabled widow’s or widower’s benefits, your spouse must have enough Social Security work credits. Work credits are kind of confusing because there is not a standard number for everyone. Each situation is different. There are, however, factors that can help you to determine how many work credits your deceased spouse must have for you to qualify for benefits.
According to the Social Security Administration, work credits depend on how recently your spouse worked and how long he or she worked. Every person can earn four credits each year because the SSA awards them each quarter. You earn a work credit when you earn a specific amount of pay. The amount you have to earn, though, changes each year.
In addition, the number of work credits that your spouse needs for you to qualify for benefits varies from person to person. It depends on what age at which he or she became disabled. However, the SSA averages that most people must have a total of 40 credits and your spouse would have had to earn half of those in the 10 years prior to his or her disability.
Now, if your spouse was young, then he or she would not have to have so many credits. The requirements would reduce because he or she would not have had the opportunity to earn the higher amount of work credits because he or she would not have been in the workforce for as many years as an older worker.
The best way to find out how many work credits your spouse needs to have earned is at the SSA website where they offer updated information.