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How To Qualify For Social Security Benefits

Social Security is one of the most popular programs by the government. People who receive benefits have made payments towards their working record regularly. Qualifying for SSI and SSDI has evolved over the years, but staying up to date with the requirements can ensure you receive your payments for as long as possible. Understand that depending on your age as you claim benefits, you may entitled to a percentage of what you’re owed.

Standard Requirements For Social Security Benefits

People who are older, or are disabled, can automatically qualify for Social Security benefits. These benefits can help them supplement their income if they become disabled, or choose to retire. Social Security helps people who are older be able to survive without their kids or if they have a medical condition.

We have created a guide to help describe exactly what it takes to receive monthly payments. This information can help anyone who is trying to figure out how to apply for SSI or SSDI.

Qualifying For Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is a monthly payment plan for people who have retired. These people have contributed to their working record, and receive payments based on their annual income. SSI is essential for people who need supplements to their income to sustain their way of life. Many people who are retired, get less money than they used to. The SSA uses Social Security to help older people make it through life.

The Importance Of Full Retirement Age (FRA)

Retirement is the most common way to qualify for SSI. Unfortunately, the retirement age is not clear to the public because people in varying professions retire at different ages.

If you start collecting at 62, which is the earliest, you may not qualify for all of your benefits. Depending on what year you were born in, you may only get 70-80% of what you are owed. If you wait until the full retirement age, you may get more benefits each month. If you want to be receiving small benefits for a long time, you should apply for retirement when you turn 62. If you are financially able to wait until after the full retirement, you will receive an increase of eight percent for every delayed year.

It is important to note that not everyone has an age requirement for SSI benefits. Widows and widowers, for example, can start receiving the benefits at a younger age.

The SSI retirement system is based on credits. The amount of credits you get, depends on the amount of money you make annually. You cannot get more than four credits in a year. People that were born in 1929 or later must have 40 credits which translates to ten years of work before they begin to qualify for social security benefits.

Plan Your Retirement Financials

By learning what your financial requirements are, it is possible to know what your options are. How soon are you going to claim your benefits? Remember that the amount of social security benefits you get every month will not only depend on the payments you made. It also depends on how soon you will start collecting the benefits.

Spouse Benefits

You can qualify for spousal retirement benefits if you are 62 or older and your spouse is already collecting their social security. It is possible to get both your benefits and your spousal benefits. If you care for the child or other dependent of your spouse who is a child below 16 or disabled, you qualify for spousal benefits.

Just like with personal Social Security benefits, collecting before the full retirement age could make you lose a lot of money. If you are eligible for spousal benefit, you can take advantage of it and delay your individual benefit. It is possible to receive benefits from a divorced spouse. You just have to be 62 years or older, unmarried, and you must have been married for ten years or more. If you have been divorced for at least two years and both you and your former spouse are 62 or older, they do not need to file for their benefits before you can collect.

Parents Social Security

Children can receive up to half of their parents’ benefits if the parents have started receiving benefits. The children has to be unmarried, and below 18, unless they are students or disabled. The benefits also apply to grandchildren. Discuss family benefits with an attorney to understand whether or not you qualify for parents social security.

Requirements for SSDI Payments

Qualifying for SSDI can be pretty easy if you have a long working history and are older than 31 years old. The SSA has certain guidelines for what disabled means. This is based on your current employment status, your disability condition, and your average income.

How The SSA Decides If You Are Disabled

To qualify for disability benefits, you will have to fit under two earnings tests based on your age at disability, and another test based on the length of your working record. Here are the general guidelines in qualifying for SSDI:

  • If you are younger than 24 years old, you need to have worked 1½ years between you turning 21, and becoming disabled.
  • If you are over 24 years old, but under 31, you need to have worked at least ½ of the time between turning 21, and becoming disabled. For example, if you are 25, you need to have worked at least 2 years after you turned 21.
  • If you are older than 31, you need to have worked at least 5 years between turning 21, and becoming disabled.

Here is a general template for the relationship between your age and working record. This is just an outline, and your personal requirements could be different.

Age When Disabled Working Years Needed
Before age 28 1.5 years
Age 30 2 years
Age 34 3 years
Age 38 4 years
Age 42 5 years
Age 44 5.5 years
Age 46 6 years
Age 48 6.5 years
Age 50 7 years
Age 52 7.5 years
Age 54 8 years
Age 56 8.5 years
Age 58 9 years
Age 60 9.5 years

Medical Information

When you apply for disability, the Social Security Agency will use this information above as a guideline for whether you qualify. They will also check your current work income. If you pass these steps, the Disability Determination Services office (DDS) will take your application from there.

This agency is state sanctioned, and will coordinate with your Doctors and specialists to make get information about your condition. Most of the time, they will acquire tangible evidence of your disability to understand when your condition began, how it limits your activities, and the current treatments you are receiving.

In rare cases, the DDS might ask you to go through a special examination from your Doctor to confirm some of the details in your case.

Getting SSI and SSDI at the Same Time

The main difference between SSI and SSDI is that SSI is meant to offer disability benefits to people with low income. It may not matter whether or not they have either worked. They may not have enough credits to qualify for SSDI. SSDI, on the other hand, is for workers who have managed to attain a significant number of credits. It is possible to get both benefits at the same time. They could be referred to as concurrent benefits.

If you are applying for both of them, you are required to file for a concurrent claim. In order to qualify for both claims, you have to be considered disabled by the disability standards of the Social Security Administration. If you do not receive the minimum benefits under SSI, your SSDI benefits will increase. After two years, you automatically receive Medicare.


What Are The Requirements To Collect Social Security?

If you are low income, there are government benefit programs made to distribute cash help to people in need.

If I Have Never Worked, Can I Collect Social Security?

Probably not. Only if you are married, and that person is collecting Social Security, or should be, and they pass away. If you parents collect Social Security, and you are a student, you may be entitled to cash payments made from their earnings record.

Can You Work And Receive Social Security Benefits?

You must make less than $1,180 if you are a married couple.

Elliot Marks

Elliot Marks

Elliot has spent years providing clear and concise information to help navigate the complex nuances of social security and many other government services in the United States. Elliot has a passion for helping those in need of these services to be able to find timely access to news and information that is relevant and helpful to their daily lives.