An Overview of Supplemental Security Income Entitlement Requirements

When you’re approaching retirement age, or have suffered a disability, you’re probably wondering when you can start claiming Social Security benefits. Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility in Park Hills, MO and how much you’ll receive depends on a few factors. Here’s what to expect if you’re applying for the first time.

When can I start receiving benefits?

Generally, you need to be at least age 62, blind or disabled to receive benefits. You’ll need to be a United States citizen or a legal alien in order to draw on your benefits. You also must have enough work credits to guarantee you benefits.

Work credits

You will need at least six work credits to draw benefits, and can have up to 40. Each year you’re employed after age 21, you earn one to four work credits. Depending on your age, you may be able to claim benefits for blindness or disability with about 20 work credits earned over the last ten years. Typically, if you’re disabled at a younger age, you will not need to have those 20 credits before you can start drawing on your benefits.

Before age 24, you can draw disability benefits so long as you have at least six credits earned in the previous three years. Between 24 and 31, you need to have worked at least half the time between age 21 and your disability. After age 31, you’ll need at least 20 work credits—or more, depending on your age.

Family claiming credits

Your family members may be able to draw upon your social security benefits. For example, a spouse can claim benefits if they’re 62 or older, divorced after being married at least 10 years or are under 62 and taking care of a child who is drawing upon your benefits.

If you are a divorced spouse claiming benefits, your divorce should be final for at least two years first. If you want to draw on those benefits and your ex-spouse has not yet filed, you should be at least 62 and married for 10 years before your divorce.

Your surviving spouse can also claim benefits. They will need to be either 62 or older, 50 and disabled or taking care of your underage or disabled child. Dependent parents may qualify, as well as children—your children will either need to have been disabled before age 22, or be under the age of 16.

In some cases, stepchildren, grandchildren and step-grandchildren may be eligible for benefits.

How do I know when I should start taking benefits?

Depending on what age you are when you begin drawing benefits, you may get less per month than you would if you waited until an older age. If finances are a concern, it behooves you to work as long as you are able. However, make sure you consult with an attorney before making any decisions.

To learn more about Social Security eligibility in Park Hills, MO, including Supplemental Security Income eligibility, get in touch with Maynard & Joyce, LLC right away,