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Social Security: Is it possible I won’t get Social Security benefits?

Social Security benefits are collected by millions of Americans every year who depend on them to survive in retirement.

social security card with cash representing benefits

Around 65 million Americans were estimated to be collecting benefits in 2021.

While many use the income as a way to survive, the money wasn’t intended to replace your entire salary from before retirement.

While many qualify for benefits, it’s very specific to your own situation whether you’ll get the minimum, maximum, or benefits at all.

The most you’ll see in 2022 is $4,194, but very few actually collect that amount.

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Here some are reasons you may not be collecting Social Security benefits

You live outside of the U.S. in a specific country

Most people who move out of the United States in retirement are able to collect their Social Security benefits.

The two countries that will stop you from getting your benefits are Cuba and North Korea.

You also won’t see Social Security benefits if you move to one of the following countries

  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Moldova
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

If you come back to the U.S. in most cases you can claim your unpaid benefits.

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Social Security: Only claim if you know these answers

You can’t collect spousal benefits

One perk to Social Security is you can often collect on behalf of your spouse.

This means every month when they get their benefits, you can get up to half of that amount as well.

There are some reasons you may not be able to though.

Here are a few reasons you may not qualify for spousal Social Security benefits

  • You have not been married to your spouse for ten years
  • If you remarried you can’t claim your ex spouse’s benefits
  • You can collect on your new spouse’s benefits, even if it’s less than your ex’s

Social Security & Medicare, signing up for both

Some people did not work long enough to qualify for Social Security

You need to have worked for a long enough time and paid into Social Security to qualify for benefits.

You must earn 40 credits over your working lifetime, which takes around 10 years of working.

To get the best amount, it’s a better idea to work for 35 years.

If you work less than 35, any years you did not work will average $0 into your benefits, dropping your benefits.

You work and claim Social Security at the same time

If you make it to your full retirement age, you may get less in benefits if you still work.

Most people’s FRA is between 66 and 67.

In 2022, anyone with an income over $19,560 will see the SSA hold $1 for every $2 past that limit.

If you’re in the year of your FRA, it’s $1 for every $3 over $51,960.

Deductions end beyond that age.

Federal or railroad workers have different benefits

If you worked federally or for the railroad system, you probably paid into a different type of retirement system.

These systems that differ from Social Security are the Federal Employees Retirement System and the Railroad Retirement Act.

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