When is Social Security Eligible?

When is Social Security Eligible?

Social security is a federal program that provides financial assistance to people who have retired, become disabled, or lost a family member. If you are wondering when social security is eligible, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss the age requirements, disability criteria, and other factors that determine when you are eligible to receive social security benefits.

Age Requirements for Social Security Eligibility

The most common way to become eligible for social security is by reaching a certain age. The full retirement age (FRA) for social security benefits depends on your birth year. Here is a table that shows the full retirement age:

Birth Year Full Retirement Age
1943-1954 66
1955 66 and 2 months
1956 66 and 4 months
1957 66 and 6 months
1958 66 and 8 months
1959 66 and 10 months
1960 or later 67

If you decide to take social security benefits before your full retirement age, your monthly benefit will be reduced. The reduction amount depends on the number of years before your full retirement age that you start taking benefits. On the other hand, if you delay taking benefits until after your full retirement age, your monthly benefit will be increased.

Disability Criteria for Social Security Eligibility

Another way to become eligible for social security is by having a disability that prevents you from working. To be eligible for social security disability benefits, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have a medical condition that has lasted or is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
  • Your condition must prevent you from doing any substantial work.
  • Your condition must be severe enough to prevent you from doing the work you did before and any other work that is available.
  • You must have worked long enough and paid social security taxes to be eligible for disability benefits.

If you meet these criteria, you can apply for social security disability benefits. The application process can be lengthy and may require documentation from medical professionals.

Other Factors That Affect Social Security Eligibility

In addition to age and disability, there are other factors that can affect your eligibility for social security benefits. Here are some examples:

Dependent Children

If you have dependent children under the age of 18 or disabled children of any age, they may be eligible for benefits based on your work record.

Survivor Benefits

If you are a spouse or a dependent of a deceased worker, you may be eligible for survivor benefits based on the worker’s work record.

Early Retirement

You can start taking social security benefits as early as age 62, but your benefit amount will be reduced. If you continue working after you start taking benefits, your benefit amount may be reduced further if you exceed certain earnings limits.


Some of your social security benefits may be subject to federal income tax if your total income exceeds certain thresholds. The rules for calculating the taxable portion of your benefits are complex and depend on your income, filing status, and other factors.


Knowing when social security is eligible can help you plan for retirement, disability, or survivor benefits. Whether you are approaching retirement age, dealing with a disability, or have questions about other social security programs, it is important to understand the eligibility criteria and application process.

Common Questions and Answers about Social Security Eligibility

  • Q: Can I start receiving social security benefits before my full retirement age?
  • A: Yes, but your monthly benefit amount will be reduced if you start taking benefits before your full retirement age.
  • Q: Can I still work after I start receiving social security benefits?
  • A: Yes, but if you earn more than a certain amount, your benefit amount may be reduced.
  • Q: How long does it take to get approved for social security disability benefits?
  • A: The process can take several months or even years, depending on the complexity of your case and how quickly you can obtain medical evidence.
  • Q: Are social security benefits taxable?
  • A: Some of your benefits may be subject to federal income tax if your total income exceeds certain thresholds.

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