Today, Social Security reaches almost every American household and after some time from today, will touch the lives of every American. Social Security does not only assist veteran Americans, but also disabled individuals and families where a spouse or parent is dead. However, nowadays, most of the Social Security beneficiaries are retirees and their families.
Nevertheless, to lead a peaceful & debt free retirement, Americans need something more than just the Social Security benefits. They also need private pensions, savings and investments to live. As per the present Social Security system works, you pay taxes toward Social Security during the time when you work. The money accumulated through taxes is used to provide benefits to:
1) Retired personnel
2) Disabled personnel
3) Survivors of deceased SS benefit holders; and
4) Dependants of beneficiaries
Employees who have worked for a certain period under “covered employment” are eligible for retirement benefits when they retire at the age of 62. To receive retirement benefits, you have to work for at least for 10 years at a nongovernmental job.
Usually, you start receiving the full retirement benefits only after the “full retirement age” that starts between 65 and 67. However, you may choose to start receiving the benefits after you retire at the age of 62. But if you start claiming the Social Security benefits much before you reach your full retirement age, the benefits will be permanently reduced to a certain extent.
If you have not reached the retirement, but disabled as per the Social Security program’s medical guidelines, then you’re eligible to receive full retirement benefits.
If you are the spouse of a retired or disabled Social Security beneficiary, then you and your kids may be entitled to get benefits as per the employee’s earning records.
If you are the living spouse of a deceased Social Security beneficiary, then you, your minors or disabled children may be allowed to avail the benefits according to your deceased spouse’s earning record.
For more info, visit: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10024.html