What are the requirements to receive Social Security benefits?

The social security program is an entitlement. Anyone who meets the requirements of qualification can receive social security benefits.. An applicant cannot just walk into the social security office and just demand the government start sending him checks. Unlike other programs, a person has to prove that he cannot work or to reach a certain age before he can collect any money from the program. He also has to be a United States citizen with a social security number. The difficulty of getting benefits varies. Retirement benefits have hard requirements. Applicants must prove they need disability benefits.

Social Security Disability Benefits Requirements

If a person has a clearly demonstrated mental or physical disability that prevents him from gainful employment, he is eligible to receive social security benefits.. Proving a physical disability is often an easy process. Proving a mental disability can take years depending on its nature. Applicants who suffer from a mental illness may fight for years and go through several hearings before he finally wins a court case. Disability cases are reviewed periodically to determine whether or not a person is fit to go back to work. The longer a person has paid into the system, the higher his benefits will be.

Social Security Retirement Benefits

Social security benefits were initially conceived to prevent people from living in extreme poverty during their golden years. The founders of the system anticipated a much shorter life span than exists today and expected most people to receive these benefits for less than 5 years. The average person receives them for 25 years or more. To get social security retirement benefits, a person has to be at least 62 years of age and a US citizen. If he is under 65, he must retire early. The process for people at 65 is automatic once he or she applies.

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