Who is Eligible for Social Security Benefits?

Brad BotesIn my blog today, I thought I would discuss generally who is eligible for Social Security retirement and work-related disability benefits. There are other forms of Social Security benefits available out there by way of the Social Security Act and its subsequent amendments, but I'll focus on just these two types today, which are codified in 42 USC Ch. 7: Social Security for those interested in specific details.


Currently, there are about 170 million people out of a total population of roughly 320 million in the United States that qualify for one program or the other. According to Social Security, of the adults drawing some sort of Social Security benefit, about 55% are women. If a non-disabled individual has paid enough into the system to be eligible to draw retirement, he or she may file for it when they reach the age of 62. For what it's worth, the longer an individual can hold out in applying for it - up to the age of 70 - the more he or she will be able to draw each month. This is an important point because, as of 2015, some 62% of these individuals counted on their Social Security retirement for more than half their income.

Qualify for Benefits

To qualify for retirement benefits, with some job-related exceptions, one must have earned sufficient quarterly net income for at least ten years over their lifetime, which equates to 40 total quarterly credits. Citizenship is not a requirement under certain circumstances. Currently, individuals earn a quarterly credit for $1300 in net income for each three-month time period.

For work-related disability benefits, with some age-related exceptions, the claimant must have made sufficient quarterly net income 20 of the past 40 quarters to qualify. As there is a hard time limit on eligibility for these sort of benefits, filing a timely work-related disability claim is of the utmost importance. If a person waits too long to apply, the claimant is out of luck no matter how much they've paid into the system over their lifetime. In 2016, the average age of these individuals drawing work-related disability benefits was about 54.

If you or a loved one have been denied SSA disability benefits or suffer from a severe impairment that is expected to last more than twelve months and that prevents you from doing any of your past or other work or is causing developmental delay in your child, please don't hesitate to contact us for a free legal review on the matter.

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