Social Security Eligibility

In order to be eligible to receive Social Security benefits – retirement, disability, or survivor benefits – a worker must earn eligibility to receive the benefits.  The general rule of thumb is that for full benefits, the worker must earn at least 40 quarters of credit within the system.

Social Security Credit

Generally speaking, a quarter of Social Security credit is earned for each $1,120 earned (in 2010).  This amount is indexed each year – for example, the amount of earnings for a credit in 2009 was $1,090.  So if a worker earns at least $4,480 in 2010, four quarters of credit are earned with the Social Security system.

Minimum Credits

If you become disabled before age 62, disability benefits may be available to you if you have at least six quarters of credits earned.  Of course, these benefits will be reduced from the maximum, based upon how many credits you happen to have earned.

About the author

Jim Blankenship, CFP®, EA

Jim Blankenship is the founder and principal of Blankenship Financial Planning, Ltd., a financial planning firm providing hourly, as-needed financial planning and advice. A financial services professional for over 25 years, Jim is a CFP professional and has earned the Enrolled Agent designation, a designation that qualifies him as enrolled to practice before the IRS. Jim is also a NAPFA-registered financial advisor, which designates him as a Fee-Only Financial Advisor.

An IRA Owner's Manual
A Social Security Owner's Manual

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