How much Social Security will I get if I only work 10 years?

Social security benefits are typically reserved for your retirement plan and provide a way to replace your income. The benefits can be used for medical and dental care, personal needs, and other expenses. Although social security is a nationwide program, not everyone qualifies for these benefits. In general, your eligibility is based upon your work history so that when you are ready to retire, you have a reliable amount of income available. They can also be used for eligible family members and survivors after you have passed away. At age 62, you are eligible to retire and receive Social Security benefits based upon the number of credits you earned each year. You can learn more from this page here to find out from legal experts how social security benefits work and whether you would be eligible if you only worked for ten years. If you worked a shorter amount of time than the average eligibility amount, the following might apply to you.

No Income For Each Year Up To 35

If you only worked for a minimum of ten years, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to receive social security benefits. Benefits are based upon a minimum of 35 working years before your monthly average income can be calculated. The average is based on your highest earning years during this time period. If you don’t build up enough income within that time period, you won’t be able to receive benefits. That is because the Social Security department will credit you with $0 income up until the 35th year of your work history. 

If You Stop Working Before Retirement Age

As long as you worked a minimum of 35 years, you can stop working before the full retirement age of 62 and still receive Social Security benefits. This is even if you didn’t work in the years leading up to your retirement. However, if you file for Social Security benefits before your retirement age, then your own benefit can get reduced. For example, if you were to retire at age 62, you would receive 25% less in benefits than if you were to retire at age 67. You can delay your benefits beyond the age of 70, allowing your retirement benefit to continue to increase as you work up to this age for your maximum benefit.

Disabled Workers Can Receive Benefits

If you were disabled according to your insurance policy and medical standards, then you can also receive a Social Security check if you have at least a history of 35 years of income. Disabled workers and their families can also receive reduced benefits if they are already receiving workers’ compensation. 

How Are Social Security Benefits Calculated?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will provide benefits based upon a very strict set of rules. Here are the ways that your Social Security retirement income benefits are estimated:

Social Security Credit System 

Your work history is converted into credits by the Social Security admin based on your lifetime earnings, including self-employment income, so that they can estimate how much you, as a retiree, should receive in benefits. You are given one credit for every $1,510 of earned income in 2022. The allowable limit for how many work credits you can make is four credits per year. 

Inflation Protection Adjustment

The Social Security Administration takes inflation and cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) based on the consumer price index into account and readjusts this amount each year. This process is called wage indexing and affects the annual increase of national average wages. Your income is indexed according to your average wages for the year that you turn 60. The average wages of your indexing year are then divided by the average wages for all of the years being indexed. This amount is then multiplied by your applicable earnings. 

Highest 35 Years Of Earnings

When your monthly benefits are being calculated, the highest earnings within a 35-year period are used to calculate your average monthly earnings. The time when you made the most money during a 35-year period will be totaled and divided by 420. The number 420 is the number of months within a 35-year period. This amounts to the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings estimation. 

Primary Insurance Amount Estimation

After your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) are calculated, your Primary Insurance Amount can then be estimated using a formula. This formula is also known as Social Security bend points. It was created to replace the higher proportion of income for low-income workers, which benefits them more compared to high-income workers. The bend points are estimated from the year that you turn 62. It is calculated using 90% of the first $960 of AIME, 32% of the next $5,785 of AIME, and 15% of any remaining amount over that of $5,785 of AIME. These three estimates are totaled and rounded to the lowest dime amount to determine the primary insurance amount you can receive in benefits. The benefit amount is rounded to the next lowest dollar. You could use an online calculator to estimate your monthly social security benefit.

Other Requirements For Social Security Benefits

If you were born after 1929, you should have earned a minimum of 40 credits over the years. Although this would amount to about ten years of work, this doesn’t necessarily mean that ten years is enough time to receive benefits. Remember, a minimum of 35 years is required before you become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.

Moreover, for a surviving spouse, widows may be eligible for a spousal benefit. Divorced spouses that were a married couple for a minimum of ten years can receive social security spouse’s benefits from their ex-spouse. Dependents of social security beneficiaries can also receive survivors benefits. Any disabled adults who are 22 and older can receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) income as long as they were disabled before the age of 22. Children younger than 18 can also qualify for disability benefits if they are legally disabled. 

Learn More About The Social Security Administration Process 

If you are unsure about how much you can receive in Social Security benefits or can’t understand why you’re not eligible, speak to a legal professional. A Social Security benefits attorney can provide helpful advice to clarify your understanding of how your social security income is processed.

Featured image by Unsplash

Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.
Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!