It is not surprising that there is often considerable confusion as to how Social Security payouts work and when a person is eligible to receive the benefits of it. Historically, the system was created in an attempt to give some sort of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and the increasing inability to work as one ages.
While navigating eligibility requirements can sometimes be confusing, Rankin & Rankin has substantial experience working with the Social Security Administration and we can help you navigate the system and apply for benefits. Listed below are the general circumstances under which someone may qualify for Social Security benefits. To find out more about these and other possible eligibility rules, visit www.ssa.gov, or call our office at Rankin & Rankin in Conway South Carolina at (843) 248-2405 for help.
Benefits Due to Old Age
Throughout your working years, a portion of your paycheck goes straight to the federal and state government to pay a share of income taxes as well as towards Social Security. Then, when you reach the age of 62 you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits if your income and assets are below a certain amount. However, be aware that you will not receive as much as if you waited until the “full retirement” age which ranges between 66-67 years old.
Benefits Due to a Disability
Someone who is of less than full retirement age but unable to work because of a physical or mental condition may be eligible for disability benefits. If someone has a severe disability included under Social Security’s “listed impairments,” that person may automatically qualify. If the person’s disability is not on this list, Social Security evaluates the disability and also determines whether the person could earn more than a specific amount, which fluctuates each year.
In the event that your spouse passed away and he/she qualified for either of the age triggered or disability benefits listed above, then you may become eligible for “survivors benefits”. In other words, if a worker dies, his or her spouse, children and other dependents could be eligible for benefits. However, this type of benefit is an entire topic in itself, and the benefit amount varies with each specific situation.
Generally, if you are or have been married to someone who qualifies for retirement benefits, you may also qualify for what is known as “spousal benefits”. If the person cares for his or her minor or disabled child, the family may be eligible for more. Alternatively, if a couple was divorced, one spouse is entitled to dependents benefits when the other spouse reaches full retirement age, if the marriage lasted at least ten years. Like survivor benefits, navigating spousal benefits is a complex topic and you may want to seek help in understanding and applying for them. At Rankin & Rankin, our team can help. Set up a free consultation with us at (843) 248-2405.