Eager to retire? These power tips will help you plan for it and maximize your Social Security benefits.

What do I need to know about Social Security before I retire?

In this hands-on video series, “Understanding Social Security,” Senior Financial Planner David Cechanowicz, guides you through the maze of Social Security so you can plan for and design your personal journey to retirement with greater confidence. You will learn how:

  • benefits are calculated
  • how you get it
  • how you share it
  • how you can cause benefits to shrink
  • how you can lose part of it
  • or even lose it all

General Social Security Eligibility

To become eligible for social security benefits, you must work with an employer who participates in the Social Security system under covered employment. You become eligible once you have acquired sufficient work credits, generally equivalent to 10 years of employment.

Some government entities may elect not to participate in the Social Security system. Those employees, like school teachers, firefighters, and police officers, are often covered or are eligible for a government pension or another benefit.

17 Factors to Consider Consider When Claiming Social Security

Before 2022 credits were based on quarters of work; now, credits are based upon the amount of money you earn in a year. One 2022 credit equals $1,510 in earnings, and forty credits of work are required to be eligible for Social Security and Medicare. You can earn a maximum of four credits in a year, and each year, the earnings amount changes.

How should married couples claim their Social Security benefits?

Under spousal benefits, however, a worker’s spouse who has accumulated sufficient credits can be eligible for both retirement benefits and Medicare, providing all the other requirements are met.