How do you qualify for retirement benefits?
When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn “credits” toward Social Security benefits.
The number of credits you need to get retirement benefits depends on when you were born. If you were born in 1929 or later, you need 40 credits (10 years of work).
If you stop working before you have enough credits to qualify for benefits, the credits will remain on your Social Security record. If you return to work later, you can add more credits to qualify.
How much will your retirement benefit be?
The SSA will base your benefit payment on how much you earned during your working career. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits. If there were some years you didn’t work or had low earnings, your benefit amount may be lower than if you worked steadily.
If you were born in 1944 or earlier, you already are eligible for your full Social Security benefit. If you were born from 1943 to 1960, the age at which full retirement benefits are payable increases gradually to age 67 (for those 1960 and later) .
The age at which you decide to retire also affects your benefit. If you retire at age 62, the earliest possible Social Security retirement age, your benefit will be lower than if you wait.
Even though the full retirement age is no longer 65, you should sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday.
Let me know if you have any questions?