How To Qualify For Social Security Benefits

Social Security is one of the most popular government programs. People receiving benefits have made regular payments for their work history. Qualifying for SSI and SSDI has evolved over the years, but keeping up with the requirements can ensure you get paid for as long as possible. Please note that depending on your age when you apply for benefits, you may be entitled to a percentage of what is owed to you.

Standard Requirements for Social Security Benefits

Elderly or disabled people can automatically benefit from social security benefits. These benefits can help you supplement your income if you become disabled or decide to retire. Social Security helps seniors survive without children or if they have a medical condition.

We’ve created a guide to help describe exactly what it takes to receive monthly payments. This information can help anyone trying to understand how to apply for SSI or SSDI.

Qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is a monthly payment plan for retired people. These individuals have contributed to their work history and are paid based on their annual earnings. SSI is essential for people who need income supplements to support their lifestyle. Many retirees earn less money than before. The SSA uses social security to help older people survive.

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 different professions retire at different ages.

If you start collecting at age 62, which is your first time, you may not get all of your benefits. Depending on the year you were born, you may only get 70-80% of what you are entitled to. If you wait until full retirement age, you can get more benefits each month. If you want to receive small benefits for a long time, you should apply for retirement at age 62. If you can financially wait until after full retirement, you will receive an 8% raise for each year of delay.

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

The SSI pension system is based on credits. The number of credits you earn depends on the amount of money you earn each year. You cannot earn more than four credits in a year. People 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 finances

By knowing what your financial needs are, you can know what your options are. How long will it take to claim your benefits? Remember that the amount of social security benefits you receive each month will not only depend on the payments you have made. It also depends on how long you start collecting benefits.

Advantages for the spouse.

You may qualify for your spouse’s retirement benefits if you are age 62 or older and your spouse is already collecting Social Security. You can get benefits and marital benefits. If you are caring for a child or other dependent of your spouse who is a child under the age of 16 or with a disability, you are entitled to marital benefits.

As with personal Social Security benefits, collecting before full retirement age could cost you a lot of money. If you are entitled to the matrimonial benefit, you can make use of it and postpone your individual benefit. It is possible to receive benefits from a divorced spouse. You just have to be 62 or older, single, and 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 age 62 or older, you do not need to apply for benefits before you can claim.

parents’ social security

Children can receive up to half of parental benefits if the parents have started receiving them. Children must be unmarried and under the age of 18, unless they are students or disabled. The benefits also apply to grandchildren. Discuss family benefits with an attorney to determine whether or not you are eligible for Parental Social Security.

Requirements for SSDI payments

Qualifying for SSDI can be quite easy if you have a long work history and are over the age of 31. The SSA has some guidelines about what disabled means. This is based on your current employment status, your disability status, and your average income.

How SSA decides if you are disabled

To qualify for disability benefits, you will need to pass two income tests based on your age of disability and another test based on the length of your work history. Below are the general guidelines for qualifying for SSDI:

  • If you are under 24, you must have worked 1.5 years between the time you turned 21 and disability.
  • If you are over 24 but under 31, you must have worked at least half the time between turning 21 and becoming disabled. For example, if you are 25 years old, you must have worked at least 2 years after your 21st birthday.
  • If you are over 31, you must have worked at least 5 years between age 21 and disability.

Here is a general model for the relationship between your age and your professional resume. This is just an outline and your personal needs may be different.

Age in case of disabilityYears of work required
Before age 281.5 years
30 years2 years
34 years3 years
38 years4 years
42 years5 years
44 years5.5 years
46 years6 years
48 years6.5 years
50 years7 years
52 years7.5 years
54 yearsEight years
56 years8.5 years
58 years9 years
60 years9.5 years

Medical information

When you apply for disability, the Social Security Agency will use this information above as a guide to determine if you are eligible. They will also verify your current employment income. If you pass these steps, the Office of Disability Determination Services (DDS) will take your application from there.

This agency is licensed by the state and will coordinate with your doctors and specialists to obtain 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, DDS may ask you to undergo a special exam by your doctor to confirm certain details in your case.

Get SSI and SSDI at the same time

The main difference between SSI and SSDI is that SSI is intended to offer disability benefits to low-income people. It may not matter if they worked or not. They may not have enough credits to qualify for SSDI. SSDI, on the other hand, is aimed at workers who have managed to earn a significant number of credits. You can get both benefits at the same time. They could be called concurrent benefits.

If you are requesting both, you must file a simultaneous complaint. To be eligible for both claims, you must be considered disabled by the Social Security Administration’s Disability Standards. If you do not receive the minimum SSI benefits, your SSDI benefits will increase. After two years, you automatically receive Medicare.

Frequently asked questions

What are the requirements to collect social security?

If you have low income, there are government benefit programs designed to distribute cash assistance 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 die. If your parents collect Social Security and you are a student, you may be eligible for cash payments made from your earnings record.

Can you work and get social security benefits?

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