Under what conditions are allocative claims recognized by a social group as representing legitimate needs instead of mere subjective desires? As a principle of justice, need is considered salient in solidary communities. People must perceive and experience social bonds with others in order to make these others’ fate a precept of their behaviour towards them. The recognition of need claims depends on the plausibility of the claim to others, which depends on the knowledge and understanding of the conditions under which the claim is made. Three factors potentially affecting the recognition of need by others are explored: First, an increase in the size of the need claim is expected to lower the probability of need recognition. A critical point is the equal distribution: Needs below the equal distribution tend to be superseded by the latter while need above the equal distribution tend to be rejected by others. Second, the transparency of information about a need threshold is hypothesized to raise need satisfaction, but the threshold also serves as an anchor which lowers allocations to people with small needs. Third, according to the minimal group theory, belonging to the same group is expected to raise need satisfaction in comparison to outsiders. These expectations are tested and largely corroborated in laboratory experiments.