What are the requirements to receive Social Security benefits?

Social security continues to a primary source of income for millions of senior citizens and other people who are incapable of working. While the program does provide a form of income for millions of people, there are some requirements which must be met in order to receive the benefits.


A primary requirement for most people to qualify for social security benefits is to meet the age requirement to start taking benefits. Those who are receiving the benefit due to their age will receive it when they turn 62 years of age. However, if they take the benefit before they turn 67 years of age, they will only receive a partial benefit. The benefit will then increase by a small cost of living increase every year after the benefit is taken.


Another group of people who could qualify for social security benefits are the disabled. While most people on social security are senior citizens, people who are incapable of working due to physical or mental disabilities will also qualify for the benefit. The benefit they receive will depend on a variety of factors which include their level of need as well as whether they have any other financial support.

Amount Paid In

To qualify for social security, you will also have to have paid into the system at some point during your career. While this does not apply to the disabled, those who receive the benefit due to old age will receive a benefit directly tied to how much they contributed. Those who did not contribute to the system while they were working will not receive any social security benefits upon their retirement.

5 Responses to “What are the requirements to receive Social Security benefits?”

  1. mark w pierson says:

    I have been divorced 16 years from my first wife and am remarried to my second wife and we have been married for 15 years. Which wife can draw my social security?

    • Stephanee says:

      I believe both wives will collect. My mother was a second wife of 14 years and they both collected full benefits when my stepfather died. Of course, they don’t get to collect their OWN SS benefit AND his, They are entitled to pick the larger of the two.

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