FAQ on Retirement Benefits
- How long does a person need to work to become eligible for retirement benefits?
You will need at least 10 years to become eligible for retirement benefits. During your working years, earnings covered by social security are posted to your Social Security record and you earn credits based on those earnings. If you become disabled or die before age 62, the number of credits needed depends on your age at the time you die or become disabled. A minimum of 6 credits is required regardless of your age.
- What is the earliest age that I can begin receiving retirement benefits?
The earliest age at which you can begin getting Social Security retirement benefits is 62. The 1983 Social Security Amendments, signed by President Reagan, included a provision for raising the retirement age beginning with persons born in 1938 or later, but does not affect the minimum age for retirement which is still age 62. You will receive a reduced benefit if you elect benefits prior to your full retirement age.
Will I receive more benefits if I delay my retirement?
Some people decide to continue working full-time beyond retirement age. In that case, one can increase their Social Security benefits in two ways:
a. Each additional year a person works adds another year of earnings to their Social Security record. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits when one retires.
b. In addition, a person's benefit will be increased by a certain percentage if he/she delays retirement. This increase in benefits by percentage, called delayed retirement credits, will be added automatically from the time one reaches full retirement age until that individual starts taking benefits or reaches age 70.