1. Eligibility Requirements:
In order to be eligible for social security benefits, you must have worked for at least 10 years and paid into the system by having taxes taken out of your paycheck. You must have also earned at least 40 credits (or “quarters”) over this time period, meaning that you had wages greater than or equal to $5,000 per year while working either full-time or part-time. Those who are self-employed can become eligible for social security benefits as well if they meet certain criteria.
2. Age Restrictions:
The earliest age to begin receiving social security benefits is 62 years old; however, those who wait until their full retirement age (65–67 depending on birth year) will receive larger payments each month. Additionally, individuals who wait until age 70 before claiming their benefits will have the highest monthly payment amount possible under current rules.
3. Spousal Benefits:
Social Security spousal benefits allow married couples to claim up to half of their spouse’s benefit amount once they reach full retirement age—even if they don’t have enough credits themselves to qualify for their own benefit amount. A qualifying divorced spouse may also claim these types of spousal benefits provided that he/she was married for at least 10 years prior to divorce and meets other qualifications set forth by Social Security Administration (SSA).
4. Survivor Benefits:
When someone dies, his/her eligible spouse may collect survivor’s benefits from SSA based on the deceased worker’s earnings record—provided that he/she meets specific eligibility requirements such as being unmarried when claiming survivor benefits and not remarrying after turning 60 years old (50 years old if disabled). Qualifying children may also be able to collect survivors’ benefits under certain circumstances; for example, if the child is under 18 or is disabled and between 18–19 years old then he/she may be eligible as long as all other requirements are met by SSA guidelines.
5. Retirement Benefits:
The amount of money people receive from Social Security depends on various factors such as wage history and whether or not they choose early versus regular retirement ages when filing their claims with SSA; those who wait longer will typically get larger checks each month than those who file earlier—but it ultimately depends on how much each individual has earned throughout his/her working career and how many quarters have been reported to SSA by employers over time. For individuals who earn higher wages over their lifetimes, they may actually receive more than what they paid into Social Security due in part to progressive payment formulas established by Congress in 1983 which took into account inflationary increases over periods of time and adjusted accordingly with cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) every year since then based off Consumer Price Index (CPI) data analysis conducted by Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Furthermore, those who are retired military personnel may even qualify for special military pension payouts which can increase overall income levels beyond what would normally be allotted through standard Social Security payments alone—and thus provide additional funds for paying bills or investing in other ways during post-working life stages.
As you can see there is a lot to consider when it comes to social security benefits. Each person’s situation is unique based upon various factors such as wage earnings throughout life stages and ages chosen when filing claims with SSA. With that said, it’s important to do research ahead of time so that you understand exactly what your entitlements are before making any decisions regarding what’s best suited for your personal needs moving forward into retirement stages later on down the road!