SS-not enough credit and spousal SS



I have been reading these boards for a couple of months and have learned a ton of great information. I can see our early retirement a reality. We hope for my DH to retire in 9-10 years, once the last two kids are halfway through college.

I have a question concerning SS. I have 37 credits (need 40 to have the right to claim my own SS). I quit my job to stay home, raise and homeschool our children. I have not earn one cent since then, but I feel that by being at home, we have been able to save more money than we ever did before.

My question is the following: Once the kids are away from college, should I work a year or two to make up for the rest of the credits I'm missing to claim SS? or should I claim under my husband's SS? He pays the maximum allowed ($87K or so) since his salary is higher.
than that.

According to the SS statement I don't have a right to Medicare because I only have 37 credits. Could I get medicare under my husband's SS?

Lastly, I'm a "resident allien" (I dislike this term so much!), could this affect me claiming SS (either under my own or my husband's)? I researched this in the SSA site but could not find an answer.

Thank you for your feedback!

I know very little about the details of Social Security. I have learned a hint that may make things much easier for you.

To meet the minimum income qualifications for any particular quarter is not difficult. The required level of earnings are low.

Here is the hint: arrange for part time work that covers two adjacent quarters. You won't have to work very long and you will get the full credit.

Have fun.

John R.
Hello Emi,
You are entiltled to the larger of either your own SS , or 50% of your husbands. If you don't think that you can earn enough credits and income to be entitled to more than 50% of your husbands SS, then, presumimng that you stay married, I would not worry about having to earn any more credits.
You may not have a right to Medicaire on your own, but again, provided that you are married when you reach 65, you will be eligable for medicaire on your husbands record.
Lastly, I don't believe that being a resident alien affects your rights to SS in the least, but a call to your SS office should put your mind at rest.
John Lee
A perfect example of why not to homeschool the kids. :'(
I understand Zipper's point, and personally would not homeschool my own children. However, all (4) of my grandchildren
are homeschooled and I am quite supportive (awed might be more accurate). I understand it and support
it for my own family and others. There are issues more
important than maxing out your SS benefits.

John Galt
When my kid gripes about middle school...

... of course as a parent I'm sympathetic & validating. And if the kid isn't just venting, then we brainstorm a solution.

But when the griping goes on too long, then I volunteer to start up Dad's Homeschool.

End of gripe. Apparently there are some things worse than being on the cusp of puberty in a public school.
Hey! What else am I going to say? I'm a retired elementary school teacher. ;)
Lastly, I don't believe that being a resident alien affects your rights to SS in the least, but a call to your SS office should put your mind at rest.

Being a non-US citizen or even a non-US resident doesn't effect whether one can claim SS or not. What matters is whether you have 40 quarters. Now those quarters can be made up of 40 quarters work in the US or of at least 6 quarters in the US (or more) + "quarters" in a treaty country that together total 40 or more quarters. If Emi has worked in a country that has a "totalization" treaty with the US then she could be eligible for SS on her own.

As for Medicare, if you qualify for SS you qualify for Part A (hospital coverage). If you are a "lawful permanent resident" and 65 years or older you can pay for part B (medical insurance) like everybody else.
Thank you very much to each of you who gave me feedback on the SS issue.

Hyperborea, your information is very helpful. I earned all my SS credits here in the US. At this point, we are not sure if we are going to stay in the US during our retirement, or if we are going to live abroad. By living abroad, we would be able to retire earlier but will be away from our children. Decisions, decisions!
If you are only three quarters short of SS eligibility, I think you would be crazy not to pick up some part time work just to qualify. Go get some scum retail job for two weeks while back to school madness is on, then again during the Christmas shopping rush, and then in the new year.

You would be away from your kids for a grand total of 50 or 60 hours over the next six months. You would make virtually no money at all. But it buys you SS and Medicare forever. (Of course the system has to stay solvent, which is a questionable proposition.)

It's a cheap option in terms of your time. Never pass up free or cheap options.

One other thing you might want to consider is becoming a U.S. citizen. Pragmatic reasons for doing so are as follows:

1. Although 'resident aliens' are currently eligible for SS and Medicare, that might not always be the case. Governments will be looking for ways to reduce outgoings for such benefits, and of course resident aliens don't vote!

2. Depending on the total of your joint assets, there may be estate tax issues. Specifically, if your husband dies, the spousal exemption for all estate taxes only applies if you are a U.S. citizen.

3. If you do decide to retire outside the U.S., then citizenship means you can always return if it turns out to be a mistake.

Don't know where you were born, but most countries these days allow you to hold dual nationality.

Don't know where you were born, but most countries these days allow you to hold dual nationality.

Not all do - for example Japan.  Just a possible guess from the original poster's name which is a common Japanese woman's name.
Hyperborea, your information is very helpful.   I earned all my SS credits here in the US.

Ok, but did you work at all in your home country? Does your home country have a totalization treaty with the US? If so then that work in your home country plus the 37 US SS credits may combine to give you eligibility already.
Peter, you pointed out a couple of really important issues for a resident allien, future SS benefits regulations and estate taxes. Becoming a US citizen has been in my plans for several years, but it got delayed due to our move to Germany in 2000. Now that we are back living in the US, I must wait 3 years before applying to become a US citizen. My husband and children are Americans and I love this country. I have lived here for almost 20 years. It just makes sense for me to get the US citizenship.

Hyperborea, there is no totalization treaty between the US and Costa Rica, where I'm from. I worked several years there and will probably qualify for a small, a very small pension in colones.

I visited one of the sites recommended by Hyperborea and found out that if we move to Costa Rica, I will be entitled to my own SS but not to my husband's (as his dependent). This is because I'm a resident allien. But if I'm a US citizen, the rule of the larger amount (either dh's or mine) will apply.
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