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How old do you have to be to get Social Security?

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That depends on your circumstances.

Generally, you can take early retirement at age 62 under your own earnings record, but you would only collect 75% of the benefit you'd receive by waiting until full retirement age (65 for people born before 1943; 66 for people born between 1943 and 1954). If you haven't earned enough work credits on your own, you may begin drawing against your spouse's earning record (if applicable) when he retires, provided you are at least 62.

An ex-spouse may draw against a spouse's earning record at age 62 if your marriage lasted at least ten years and you are unmarried (to anyone) at the time you file your application.

Widows and widowers may draw survivors' retirement benefits as early as age 60, if they haven't remarried before that age, or at age 50, if disabled. Ex-spouses are also entitled to benefits under circumstances similar to those described above.

A widow, widower or ex-spouse may draw survivor benefits at any age if caring for the deceased spouse's dependent minor children who are under age 16. Each child would also be eligible for a separate benefit.

You may collect Social Security disability benefits at any age if the Social Security Administration determines you are too impaired to work, but you must have earned enough work credits and have paid into the fund recently enough to qualify. You may be able to collect disability against a spouse's earnings record in place of, or in addition to your own, up to 50% of your qualified spouse's benefit.

The rules and scenarios are complex and can't be summarized adequately in this forum. Additionally, each individual's circumstances are unique and must be addressed according to information only you and the government can access.

If you believe you may be entitled to collect Social Security benefits, call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to speak with a representative.
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