Social Security Retirement Benefits
Social Security Disability Retirement Benefits can be collected off of the individual’s own work record or the work record of a spouse. The benefit amount for a retired worker is determined by two factors: (1) the amount earned during the working career, and (2) when that individual chooses to start receiving benefits. Higher earnings and later retirements generally result in a higher benefit amount. To receive retirement benefits, individuals must work a minimum amount.
Who is Eligible
- Current Spouse Retirement Benefit: A spouse may draw up to half of the retired worker’s benefit. Spouses can begin receiving this benefit on the retired spouse’s account at the age of 62 or later. If the spouse is eligible for both his/her own retirement benefits and benefits as a spouse, the spouse will get his/her own retirement benefits first. If the spousal benefit is greater, he or she will get a combination of the two benefits that equals the greater amount. Spouses can begin receiving this retirement benefit only after their spouse collects SSA retirement or “files and suspends” such benefits.
- Former Spouse Retirement Benefit: In certain circumstances, an individual can collect retirement benefits at 62 or older on his/her former spouse’s work record. In order to do this, the former spouse seeking to collect benefits on the other record must be age 62 or older, unmarried, and must have been married to the former spouse for at least 10 years. If the couple has been divorced for at least 2 years and both are at least 62, the ex-spouse can receive benefits even if his/her spouse has not retired and begun collecting benefits.
- Provides qualified persons with cash benefits.
- Cash benefits are also available to the individual’s minor children, adult children with a disability present before the age of 22, a spouse raising the individual’s minor child, or a retired spouse.
To Apply For
You Can Apply
- Online - Use our Social Security Retirement/Medicare Benefit Application to apply for retirement, spouse's, ex-spouse's or Medicare benefits.
- By phone - Call us at 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call us at TTY 1-800-325-0778.
- In person - Visit your local Social Security office (call first to make an appointment).
- You must be at least 61 years and 9 months old to apply for retirement benefits.
- If you are already age 62, you may be able to start your benefits in the month you apply.
- You should apply for benefits no more than four months before the date you want your benefits to start.
- Benefits are paid the month after they are due. (If your benefits start in April, you will receive your first benefit payment in May.)
- If you are not getting Social Security and you are not ready to retire, you should still use our online retirement benefit application to sign up for just Medicare three months before your 65th birthday.
When you start receiving Social Security retirement benefits, some members of your family may also qualify to receive benefits on your record.
If they qualify, your spouse or child may receive a monthly payment of up to one-half of your full retirement benefit amount. These payments will not decrease your retirement benefit. In fact, the value of the benefits your family may receive, added to your own, may help you decide if taking your benefits sooner may be more advantageous.
Benefits paid to your spouse will not decrease your retirement benefit. In fact, the value of the benefits he or she may receive, added to your own, may help you decide if taking your benefits sooner may be more advantageous.
Links to Important Resources
To learn more about Social Security Income Retirement Benefits please click here.