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Social Security: Who doesn’t qualify for benefits

Social Security benefits make up for a lot of income that seniors receive in retirement. It is designed to cover 40% of prior salaries.

social security cards with cash and a chart showing amounts that people can qualify for with social security benefits

While this helps millions, not everyone is entitled to Social Security benefits.

There are various reasons you may not qualify, so it’s important to learn them early enough to change your outcome.


SSI & SSDI: Payments dates for 2022

Reasons people don’t qualify for Social Security payments

People who worked did not earn enough Social Security credits

In order to receive benefits, you need to have worked enough.

There is a minimum credit requirement that needs to be met before a person can qualify for the benefits.

The minimum requirement is 40 credits.

For the year 2022, one credit is worth $1,510 earned dollars and you can earn a maximum of four credits per year.

In order to earn 40 credits, it would take at least ten years.

Many people will have over 40, but that won’t change your benefits. The only necessary requirement regarding credits is to have 40 of them.


SSI: Getting both SSI and Social Security payments to increase benefits

You’re not an American citizen

You need a Social Security Number to collect Social Security, and sometimes non-citizens do not have one.

Non-citizens that have obtained a SSN likely did so through the Department of Homeland Security when they were authorized to legally work in the U.S.

You may receive prorated benefits if you came from a country with a totalization agreement and don’t have enough credits.

People retire abroad

Most of the time if you live abroad and worked in America most of your life, you can get Social Security benefits.

There are some cases where the government won’t mail Social Security checks to other countries if that’s where you happen to live.

These countries include

  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Cuba
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Moldova
  • North Korea
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan


Tips to know before you claim benefits

Not all divorced spouses will qualify

Many divorced spouses can qualify for benefits based on their ex’s Social Security.

Your marriage needs to have lasted 10 or more years. If you remarried you will not qualify. You must be 62 or older.

Your benefits must be worth less than your ex’s for you to collect based on theirs.

If your ex who receives the credits is remarried, you can still collect benefits.

If you marriage was under ten years before divorce you will not qualify.

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