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Retirement Insurance Benefits

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

300. Retirement Insurance Benefits

300.1 When do monthly cash retirement benefits begin?

You are eligible for monthly cash retirement insurance benefits (also called old-age insurance benefits) when you are age 62 or older and meet the conditions described in §301.

300.2 What additional benefits are available?

Additional monthly benefits, called auxiliary benefits, may be payable to other persons based on your earnings record as follows:

  1. Monthly spouse's insurance benefits (see §§305-322); or

  2. Monthly child's insurance benefits (see §§323-345).

These auxiliary benefits may also be payable on your earnings record if you are entitled to a disability insurance benefit. (See Chapter 5.)

Last Revised: March, 2001

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There are 5 Comments

I would like to apply for retirement Insurance Benefit

I am in need of a surgery for knee replacement on both knees, repairs to my home, and always have drug costs above what medicare covers so I use a credit card....I have a debt now and am wondering since I froze my retirement and can draw it at 55 years of age, which I am now, will it affect the amount of my SSDI check? I need all of it plus the 1/2 pension I would be able to get. By doing this early from the company I worked I will be losing 1/2 of my monthly earnings I would get at age 65. I need money and can't get a loan for repair on my house, extra money needed for prescriptions each month, as well as a debt now that I have on a credit card with high interest. I am thinking I might go ahead and forfeit my 1/2 of my monthly pension check just to get by and live better without using credit cards to cover extra fees ...this way I would have a bit extra coming in to fix things up, get my prescriptions, see my doctor for two knee surgeries I need as I am in terrible pain now and it is affecting my back too from the knees being bad....I am in the state of Iowa...Please if anyone knows who to contact about this or if you know the answer to this let me know...Thank you. It is a crying shame to work over 28 years only to be forced out of a good job and have to draw SSDI because a person can't work and then can't live and make ends meet on SSDI as we get no cost of living raise isn't it? I used to be a middle class citizen and now I am in poverty level...

You will want to check with Social Security directly on this.

However, if you are receiving "normal" Social Security disability, the reporting requirements regarding other income (ex. pension payments) are minimal or non-existent. For example, if you receive disability benefits from certain federal, state or local government programs you may have to report that to the SSA. There are other reporting requirements (ex. marriage, moving, etc.). See here for details :

If you receive disability payments based on SSI, the reporting requirements are stricter. In this case, you must report changes in income or changes in your assets. See here for details :

I receive SSI benifits from my husband's death.almost 20 years ago. I am now 78 years old. Am I entilted to retirement benifits after I reached the age of 62.? I was 59 yrs when my husband died..

Please contact Social Security directly for your particular case.

Sounds like you are receiving survivor (widow's) benefits based on your husband's work record. In general you will receive the higher of either survivor benefits (on your husband's record) or retirement benefits on your record -- but not both.

Consider who had a longer, and higher paying work record. If you generally worked more years at higher wages, you may want to contact the SSA to see about a higher benefit.

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