Retirement Benefits and More
What’s Social Security?
Social Security is a federal government program that provides a source of income for you or your legal dependents (spouse, children, or parents) if you qualify for benefits. You also need a Social Security number to get a job.
Find how to apply to get a Social Security number or to replace your Social Security card (opens new window).
How do you become eligible for Social Security?
As you work and pay taxes, you earn Social Security “credits.” Younger people need fewer credits to be eligible for disability benefits or for their family members to be eligible for survivors benefits when the worker dies. Social Security benefits (opens new window) only replace some of your earnings when you retire, become disabled, or die. The Social Security Administration bases your benefit payment on how much you earned during your working career. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits. If there were some years when you didn’t work, or had low earnings, your benefit amount may be lower than if you worked steadily.
When to Retire?
Choosing when to retire is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. If you choose to retire when you reach your full retirement age (opens new window), you’ll receive your full benefit amount. Your benefit amount will be reduced if you retire before reaching full retirement age.
my Social Security Account
How do you know what your retirement benefits might be so you can plan? Create a safe and secure my Social Security (opens new window) account to view estimates of your future retirement, disability and survivors benefits.