Qualification for Social Security Benefits

Are you eligible for Social Security retirement benefits? To answer this question, you need to know Qualification for Social Security Benefits.

In order to apply and get a Social Security retirement check, the first step is to know the eligibility rules for SSA retirement benefits. In short, to get your Social Security retirement check you must be 62 and have at least 10 years of part-time work.

Two Requirements for Eligibility

There are two requirements for eligibility, the qualification for Social Security Retirement Benefits.
1. You must meet minimum age requirements
2. You must meet minimum work requirements

Age requirement for eligibility

In order to get a Social Security retirement check, you must be at least 62 years of age. The earliest month you can be eligible for a retirement check is your first full month of being age 62. Usually, this means you are eligible for a social security check after your 62nd birthday. So if you turn 62 on October 18th, you are eligible for Social Security in November.

However, there is an exception: If your birthday is the first or second of the month, you are eligible the month of your 62nd birthday.

Please remember that attaining age 62 is not enough in itself for you to be qualified for a Social Security retirement check. In addition, you must meet the work requirements.

Work requirement for eligibility

You need 10 years of work which pays into the social security system to be eligible to receive a Social Security retirement check.

You work under the system and pay your social security taxes. The agency keeps a record of your earnings throughout your working life so it can later determine your eligibility and payment amount.

Your eligibility is determined by how many work credits you earn. You can earn up to 4 credits per year, the credits are sometimes called “quarter credits” or quarter of work”. In 2011, for example, you earn one credit for each $1120 you earn during the year, up to the maximum of 4 credits. Therefore, with as little as $4480 total earnings in 2011, you would earn all four credits for the year.

You need 40 work credits

You need 40 work credits, 10 years of work under social security to be eligible, if you were born in 1929 or later. Under current Social Security law, no one will need more than 40 credits. The bottom line is that you need at least ten years of part-time work to qualify.

Work under the Social Security System

In some jobs, you do not pay Social Security taxes, and that work does not count toward Social security retirement eligibility.

Foreign employment

Some people never get a chance to gain social security retirement eligibility because much of their career was outside of the United States.

Tips for Obtaining needed work credits

If you have too few credits, and no foreign work to add your work record, you still have two ways to get a Social Security retirement check:
1. You might have a current or former marriage to someone who is eligible
2.You could work the additional years necessary to gain coverage

These eligibility rules determine your Qualification for Social Security Benefits, whether you can receive a retirement check from Social Security at all, but they do not determine the amount of payment you receive. If you have ten years of work under the Social Security System, you can be sure of two things: you are eligible for Social Security retirement check, and you will eventually receive them if you simply live to retirement age and apply. Want to know how much you can receive for your Social Security retirement check?, please check “How your Social Security Retirement Payment is Computed?”

Apply for Disability Benefits

If you become disabled before retirement age, you may want to apply for Disability Benefits. Social Security Administration can provide a package of protection to partially replace your lost wages.

If you applied for Disability Benefits and you are qualified, you can receive monthly disability checks for you; monthly checks for your spouse and children, and Medicare health insurance after 2 years of disability benefits.

Social Security Disability Benefits is yet another kind of “insurance” you are buying with your Social Security FICA taxes, much like the retirement insurance, survivor insurance, and health insurance provided by the program.

Who evaluate your disability?

Social Security employees do not directly determine whether your condition is disabling. SSA contracts with sate governments across the nation to make these determinations, with SSA providing the rules, training, and quality reviews to ensure compliance with federal regulations. This “Disability Determination Service,” usually part of the state department of health, is also charged with making disability determinations for state programs such as vocational rehabilitation and works’ compensation.

Eligibility for disability benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits include work requirements and Medical requirements.

Apply for disability benefits

In order to apply for disability benefits, you need provide SSA:
1. Your first-hand reports on your medical condition
2. Your medical records from your doctor, hospital, or other care provider
3. Your vocational and educational background.

Whether your doctor does or does not subjectively believe that you are disabled is not material. Your medical records must show objectively that your condition meets certain standards, which specify precisely how severe an impairment must be to be disabling.

The disability evaluator must order any tests that are either missing or not current, then determine whether the severity of your impairment meets the dsability listings. Your vocational history and education are generally taken into account to determine your suitability for retaining for other types of work.

Approximately 80%of claims are denied at the initial claims level. If your claim is denied or any time you receive an “adverse determination” from SSA, you may file an appeal to have a new decision made by a different person or team. Among disability benefits claims pursued to the hearings level about 60%are approved for payment.

To apply for disability benefits, you need to expect the process to take a long time. In 2010, the average disability benefits claim took about 4 months to be decided. Appealing to the hearings level can take a year.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Children

We discussed on “Apply for Disability Benefits”. We know that you can apply and receive Social Security disability benefits on your own record and payments are proportional to your own work history. This post talks about Social Security Disability Benefits for Children.

Social Security provides for two other disability programs. One is for disabled widows or widowers, who can apply on the work record of their deceased spouse. The other is for disabled adults whose parents are retired, disabled, or deceased workers. In many cases, these children and window(er)s have little or no opportunity to build disability protection under their own work records, so Docial Security extends eligibility to them through their family relationship to the worker. These additional disability programs supply monthly payments and Medicare to many individuals who would otherwise be ineligible.

Social Security Benefits for a Disabled Adult Child of a Worker

If you are the disabled adult child of a worker who is retired, disabled, or deceased, you may be eligible for this type of disability payment. In order for you to be eligible,your parent must be entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Or if deceased, you parent must have been insured for Social Security survivor payments.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Children will be made on the earnings record of the worker, your parent, and will be proportional to his or her lifetime earnings. You will be paid a percentage of your parent’s full benefit amount – 50% of a living parent’s or 75% of a deceased parent’s full benefit.


1. You must generally be unmarried to receive child benefits
2. You must meet the same definition of disability as a disabled worker
3. Your disability must start or have started before you reach age 22

The age requirement raises certain issues. If you are already receiving Social Security child payments at an early age, payments normally stop when you turn 18 or leave high school. If you are disabled, however, your payments can continue past 18 and you will be eligible for Medicare coverage as well. People in these situations often file disability claims shortly before turning 18, to ensure that their child benefits continue.

Disabled Adult Child

Another possibility is that you may be disabled at an early age, but your Social Security payments can not begin until your parent retires. It is the first time you are eligible on any work record. At that point, you can start receiving child benefits, even though you may be in your 30s or 40s, because you are a Disabled Adult Child.

The difficulty the is how to prove that you are not only disabled, but have been disabled since before age 22. Sometimes medical records from 20 years ago can be difficult to locate. However, Social Security will extend every effort to help process the claim.

If you qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits for Children, your payments will begin without a 5-month waiting period, unlike worker’s or widow(er)’s disability payments. Just like those programs, however,you will be eligible for Medicare two years after your payments begin.