WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
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If you were born before 1938, full retirement benefits are available
at age 65, with reduced benefits available as early as age 62. The age at which
full benefits are paid will rise in the future. In 2003, the full retirement
age went up to 67 for those born after 1960.
The age at which you can retire and receive full benefits is known
as your full retirement age. If you choose to retire before your full retirement
age, your benefits will be reduced (currently 5/9 of 1 percent for every month
under age 65). The closer you are to age 65 when benefits start, the smaller
the reduction. If you retire later than full retirement age, you will get added
benefits because of additional earnings and special credits.
If you are past retirement age and wish to continue working, you
can do so, but there are limits as to how much you can earn without losing some
of your Social Security benefits. These limits change each year. These limits
do not apply after you reach age 65.
When you die, if you were eligible for either retirement or disability
benefits, family members may also be able to receive benefits. Your spouse can
receive up to 50 percent of your benefit amount, and your children can receive
up to 75 percent of your amount.
Those who may be able to receive a benefit upon your death include
- A spouse over the age of 60 (50 if disabled or any age if taking care
of children under age 16)
- Unmarried children under 18, children in school under age
19, and disabled children 22 or younger
To get your benefits, you will need to supply proof of eligibility,
such as a birth certificate and most recent W-2 form.
Now let's take a look at the building blocks of Social Security