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Collecting SS after 20+ years of not working
Old 06-27-2015, 07:26 AM   #1
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Collecting SS after 20+ years of not working

I retired 6 years ago at the age of 38. Yesterday I got my statement of benefits from Social Security which has me wondering if I will be eligible for any benefits even if I hadn't worked for over 20 years by the time I reach 62.5.
Obviously the rules may change in the future, but I'm wondering if anyone here has real life experience with this scenario. Anyone currently receiving benefits after having made zero contributions for over 20 years?
Thanks.


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Old 06-27-2015, 07:37 AM   #2
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You need 40 credits, which you earn at 4 per year, so if you worked full time for 10 years you will be eligible for SS (and Medicare). Your statement of benefits will confirm that you have the 40 credits.

This is similar to our situation. When I file for benefits I will only have a little more than the minimum 40 credits, because I worked outside the US. The many years of zero contribution will affect the amount you receive but won't affect your eligibility.
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:48 AM   #3
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Once you have your SS statement, you can enter your earnings into a social security calculator. The SSA.gov site has several but I use Online Calculator

Whatever calculator you use, make sure that it accounts for the 0 earning years (some might take your last years of income and assume you will make that much in future years).

I only have 12 years of full-time earnings but was pleasantly surprised by my SS amount.
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:55 AM   #4
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Another thing to Google is Social Security Bend points
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:02 AM   #5
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look at you SS statement, under "your estimated benefits", * retirement, does it say "you have earned enough credits to qualify for benefits"?

also check under medicare in the same section.

note that congress can always change the law, so this is a snapshot based on current law.
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Old 06-27-2015, 09:36 AM   #6
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Thanks for your prompt responses to my question. I do have my credits and will check out the online calculator. I love this forum!


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Old 06-27-2015, 09:55 AM   #7
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You can be eligible to receive 50% the amount of your spouse if it's higher than your earned SS amount.
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:47 AM   #8
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If you have you SS statement and had no income for the last few years, I think the estimates on the form should be based on no more income. on SSA.gov you can do a benefits estimate without putting in all you income history. You do need to provide identifying information. This normally defaults to the same as your statement examples. However, you can change the income level and age of taking benefits (so called retirement age). None of these assume COLAs
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:56 AM   #9
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As has been noted, you qualify for a benefit after 40 quarters. The amount of the benefit, however, depends on your 35 highest indexed income years. So, the years when you have zero income will lower your benefit somewhat.
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:52 PM   #10
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To "qualify" for Social Security you have to have the 40 quarters.

The calculation of your payment however is based on your 30 highest years of "adjusted" earnings. For whatever years of the required 30 that you have no earnings that were taxed by Social Security, you get a zero....

Just tossing numbers, if you had $80,000 a year of taxable earnings, for a period of 20 years, then nothing for the rest of your life, your SS average earnings (ignoring their weighting or adjusting aspect) would be just over $53,000.

At this time, I'm away from my home computer so I cannot just post the link to the instructions and form, but I know I've posted them in other SS discussions on this forum.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by unno2002 View Post
To "qualify" for Social Security you have to have the 40 quarters.

The calculation of your payment however is based on your 30 highest years of "adjusted" earnings. For whatever years of the required 30 that you have no earnings that were taxed by Social Security, you get a zero....

Just tossing numbers, if you had $80,000 a year of taxable earnings, for a period of 20 years, then nothing for the rest of your life, your SS average earnings (ignoring their weighting or adjusting aspect) would be just over $53,000.

At this time, I'm away from my home computer so I cannot just post the link to the instructions and form, but I know I've posted them in other SS discussions on this forum.
I believe that is 35 years averaged.
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Old 06-28-2015, 12:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bingybear View Post
I believe that is 35 years averaged.
I had to check and you are right. Its 35 yrs.
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Old 06-28-2015, 03:55 PM   #13
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Yup. 35. That's what I get for trying to "wing it" from memory and not have all the "stuff" on the home computer...

Form to work on it manually is at:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf
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