People nearing retirement age need to ask if Social Security is accessible to everyone. The answer is no, although only a few American workers will not be eligible for Social Security. If you are a federal worker, who is ineligible for Social Security benefits, you need to do either of these two things:
• Find out the possibility of you being eligible for Social Security.
• Identify other income sources.
Suppose you want to know your eligibility status for Social Security. Below are the seven common classes of workers who are neither eligible nor entitled to Social Security benefits.
1. Workers with fewer Social Security benefit credits
Generally, you cannot get Social Security benefits if you don’t have any previous work history. This is because “doing enough work, which is equivalent to receiving 40 U.S. security credits,” is a criterion for collecting the benefits.
In 2021, you will earn a credit for every income earnings of $1,470, and the maximum annual credit you can earn is four. Therefore, doing enough work means working for at least ten years. People working either part-time or full-time can earn the maximum yearly benefit.
Earned Social Security benefits remain for life and do not expire. So anyone who has earned credits less than 40 should consider working for more years by getting back to work. You may check your earned credits on the Social Security website by opening an account and downloading your balance.
2. Federal workers who die before reaching the federal retirement age (FRA)
The earliest time you can claim your retirement benefits is at age 62. If a worker dies before age 62, the spouse and dependent children may receive the survivor benefits. Widows and widowers may start to claim Social Security benefits at 60, while those with a disability may claim at 50, depending on the earning record of their dead spouse.
Suppose you are not eligible for Social Security benefits; you should find more income sources if you want to maintain your financial stability in the future.
3. Divorced couples
Divorced people may collect benefit payments based on their ex-spouse’s earnings. Most of these people are parents without work. To access this benefit, they must be 62 years or older, single, and have lower benefits earnings than their previous spouse. Suppose the couple divorced before ten years of their marriage. In that case, they are not eligible for the spousal benefits.
4. American retirees in specific foreign countries
Americans who reside in or travel to certain foreign countries may receive their Social Security benefits when they retire. However, the government won’t pay the benefits if that country is North Korea or Cuba. You can quickly check your benefits payment status while staying abroad using the “Payments Abroad Screening Tool” provided by the U.S. government.
5. Specific non-citizens
Specific non-citizens with enough work credits (40 credits) in the U.S. are eligible for the Social Security income benefits. Non-citizens without 40 credits can still receive the benefits if they are from the 30 countries in the totalization agreement, also called the”Social Security Agreement” with the United States. The combination of their work credits in the U.S. and abroad determines their eligibility for Social Security payments. However, immigrants without a minimum of six U.S. work credits are not eligible for Social Security.
6. Evaders of self-employment tax
If you are self-employed, you need to pay tax, covering your contributions to Social Security. You will pay this tax annually when filing your tax returns. However, you won’t pay taxes on Social Security if you don’t file your tax returns. If you haven’t paid into the Social Security system before, you will not receive Social Security payments. Moreover, you don’t have any right to benefits if you don’t report your income and have a lifetime history of evading taxes.
7. Specific Immigrants above 65
Retirees who travel to the U.S should not be eligible for Social Security because they don’t have the required work credits. However, if they are immigrants from countries in totalization agreement with the United States, they need to earn at least six U.S. work credits to receive the prorated benefits.
The majority of retirees in the U.S. will receive Social Security benefits when they retire if they have reached the full retirement age (FRA). Those without enough work history in the United States may not receive the benefits based on their personal work history. However, these people may receive spousal benefits if their spouse qualifies for benefit payouts. Some federal workers may not currently qualify for Social Security payments. Still, they can find a way to become eligible in the future.
For over 30-years Flavio “Joe” Carreno of The Retirement Advantage has been a Federal Employee Retirement System specialist (FERS) as well as a Florida Retirement System specialist (FRS) independent advocate. An affiliate of PSRE (Public Sector Retirement Educators), a Federal Contractor & Registered Vendor to the Federal Government, also an affiliate of TSP Withdrawal Consultants.
We will help you understand your FERS & FRS Benefits, TSP & Florida D.R.O.P. withdrawal options in detail while recognizing & maximizing all concurrent alternatives available.
Our primary goal is to guide you into retirement with no regrets; safe, predictable, stable, for life. We look forward to visiting with you.
Not affiliated with the U.S. Federal Government, the State of Florida, or any government agency. The firm is not engaged in the practice of law or accounting. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation. Although we make great efforts to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein we cannot guarantee all information is correct. Any comments regarding guarantees, safe and secure investments & guaranteed income streams or similar refer only to fixed insurance and annuity products. Fixed insurance and annuity product guarantees are subject to the claims‐paying ability of the issuing company. Annuities are long-term products of the insurance industry designed for retirement income. They contain some limitations, including possible withdrawal charges and a market value adjustment that could affect contract values. Annuities are not FDIC insured.