What Are the Requirements to Receive Social Security Benefits?
Discover how to receive social security benefits at retirement or earlier. Payments are not just for retirees. Find out qualification requirements.
Americans may qualify for social security benefits in any one of four different ways. The most common qualification is retirement. In addition, disabled persons, survivors of persons who died, and dependents of beneficiaries may qualify without regard to age. An application for benefits is required in all situations and is subject to approval by the Social Security Administration.
Retirement Social Security Benefits
Full retirement benefits are not available until a person reaches age 65. In a few situations, workers choose to continue working and waive entitlement to monthly payments. In this circumstance, benefits are not lost, but rather each person who delays benefits receives a higher monthly payment upon retirement. Alternatively, a few people choose early retirement. In this situation, benefits are paid monthly but at a lower rate than full retirement benefits. The minimum retirement age for full benefits is slightly higher if an applicant was born after 1938.
A person who is no longer capable of working may receive social security benefits by proving incapacity. Qualification for disability benefits requires that a doctor support the application and determine a level of incapacity. Each person’s level of whole body disability is the primary focus when reviewing applications. Proof of full and permanent disability is necessary for entitlement to full benefits. The application process may require several months to complete.
Widows and widowers may qualify for benefits earned by a spouse who died. In addition, if receiving partial payments as a survivor, a survivor may switch to full benefits from personal earnings as early as age 62. The rules that regulate survivor benefits and switching plans are complex. Address all questions to a social security advisor or an attorney for further clarification.
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