Social Security is an earned benefit, funded through payroll taxes. To qualify for benefits later in life, you have to pay into the system, usually through working ten years or more. Your benefits' size and availability is impacted by how much you paid into the Social Security system when you were working, and whether you take early, full, or late retirement. Even those who haven't worked a full ten years may be entitled to Social Security benefits in certain situations. Social Security can also provide benefits for those who are disabled or the dependents and survivors of a deceased worker.
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
Workers who have paid into Social Security and become disabled before retiring may be able to collect Social Security disability insurance benefits. Social Security has a strict definition of disability. You must be unable to work in your previous occupation, unable to perform any new work, and unable to work for at least a year. You'll want to know your disability onset date, how to prove your disability, and whether certain impairments are covered.
Applying for Benefits
When you claim your hard earned benefits will impact your Social Security payments for the remainder of your life. Early retirement can provide needed income as early as age 62, but delaying retirement until age 70 may result in much larger monthly payments.