Survivors Old-Age and Disability Insurance
Old-age benefits were the cornerstone of the original SOCIAL SECURITY ACT, which was passed in 1935. More than 25 million Americans receive old-age benefits each month, and those payments amount to almost $20 billion a year. Because of the increasing median age of the adult population, these figures are constantly increasing.
To be eligible for Social Security old-age benefits, a person must have worked a minimum number of calendar quarters, which increases with the worker's age. Forty quarters is the maximum requirement. Once a person earns credit for the required number of calendar quarters, she or he is insured. Workers born before 1950 can retire at age 65 with full benefits based on their average income during working years. For those workers born between 1950 and 1960, the retirement age has increased to age 66. Workers born in 1960 or later will be awarded full benefits for retirement at age 67. A person may retire at age 62 and receive less than full benefits. A worker's spouse who has not contributed to Social Security receives, at age 65, 50 percent of the amount paid to the worker.
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