Social Security Retirement Benefits

When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn credit towards Social Security benefits. The number of credits you need to become eligible to receive retirement benefits depends on when you were born. If you were born in 1929 or later, you need 40 credits (10 years of work). If you stop working before you have enough credits to qualify, the credits will remain on your Social Security record. If you return to work later on, you can add more credits so that you qualify. Social Security will not pay retirement benefits until you have the required number of credits.

Your retirement benefit amount is based on how much you earned when you worked. Higher earnings and income result in higher retirement benefits. Your benefit payment also is affected by the age at which you decide to retire.

Individuals can receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 if they are insured (have earned enough credits). However, if an individual retires before full retirement age, benefits will be reduced, based on his or her age. If you stop working before age 62 because of your medical conditions, you should consider filing for disability benefit. Please see our SSDI page or contact our office if you have stopped working before age 65 because of your medical conditions.

You may choose to keep working even beyond your full retirement age. If you do, you can increase your future Social Security benefits. Each additional year you work adds another year of earnings to your Social Security record. Also, your benefit will increase automatically by a certain percentage from the time you reach your full retirement age until you start receiving your benefits or until you reach age 70. The percentage varies depending on your year of birth.

When you retire or reach age 65, you are eligible for Medicare.

Medicare has four parts

  • Hospital insurance (Part A) helps pay for inpatient hospital care and certain follow-up services.
  • Medical insurance (Part B) helps pay for doctors’ services, outpatient hospital care and other medical services.
  • Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) are available in many areas. People with Medicare Parts A and B can choose to receive all of their health care services through a provider organization under Part C.
  • Prescription drug coverage (Part D) helps pay for medications doctors prescribe for medical treatment.

If you need more information about Medicare please visit our Medicare page or visit http://ssa.gov/pgm/retirement.htm