Put in at least 10 years for retirement benefits
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 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 depends on your age at the time you die or become disabled.
Children may be eligible for payments
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: A child (biological, legally adopted or dependent stepchild or grandchild) may potentially be eligible. Monthly Social Security payments may be made to your children if they are:
• Unmarried and under age 18
• Age 19 if still in high school, or
• Age 18 or over, who became severely disabled before age 22 and continue to be disabled.
The number of Social Security numbers
Q: How many Social Security numbers have been issued since the program started?
A: Since 1935, more than 465 million Social Security numbers have been assigned, and each year roughly 5.5 million new numbers are assigned. With approximately 1 billion combinations of the nine-digit Social Security number, the current system provides enough new numbers for several generations into the future.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. Learn more at socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free 1-800-772-1213.