For many senior citizens the federally sponsored social security program is a primary source of income. To qualify for the benefit all people must be 62 years of age and have contributed into the system while they worked. While it requires contributions to the program, many people who haven’t worked in a very long time could still qualify for the benefit.
The first way that you can collect social security if you haven’t worked in 20 years is if you had contributed to the program earlier in your career. Most people who are collecting the benefit had contributed into the program for their entire career. The benefit then ensures a guaranteed stream of income for life. If you are well into your 80s, it is conceivable that you could have worked until 62 and then began collecting benefits.
The second way that you can collect social security if you haven’t worked in 20 years is if you are receiving a partial benefit. If you only worked and contributed to the program for a portion of your career then you could still qualify for the benefit. Even if you stopped contributing at an early age, you could still qualify for the benefit upon turning age 62.
Another way that you can collect social security if you haven’t worked in 20 years is if you are disabled. While most people who collect the benefit are senior citizens, the program is also available for people who are disabled. If you have a qualifying disability, you could qualify for the benefit even if you have not been able to work a normal job for the past 20 years.