— This Q&A was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific questions, call 800-772-1213. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov.
Q: How long do I need to work to become eligible for retirement benefits?
A: Everyone born in 1929 or later needs 40 Social Security credits to be eligible for retirement benefits. You can earn up to four credits per year, so you will need at least 10 years of work to become eligible for retirement benefits. During your working years, earnings covered by Social Security are posted to your Social Security record.
You earn credits based on those earnings. If you become disabled or die before age 62, the number of credits needed to qualify for Social Security benefits depends on your age at the time you die or become disabled. A minimum of six credits is required to qualify for Social Security benefits regardless of your age. You can create a “my Social Security account” to check and periodically monitor how many credits you have.
Q: I have children at home, and I plan to retire next fall. Will my children be eligible for monthly Social Security payments after I retire?
A: Your children may get monthly Social Security payments if they are:
• Unmarried and under age 18
• Age 19 and still in high school; or
• Age 18 or older and became severely disabled before age 22 and continue to be disabled.
For more information, read Benefits For Children available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.