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Can you collect Social Security payments without working?

There are people who can legally receive Social Security payments without having worked in their lives. We explain who they are and how it works.

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Every month the Social Security Administration issues millions of payments to beneficiaries of the Social Security Program, most of whom are usually retired workers.

Employees can request their pension upon collecting 40 credits, or the equivalent of having worked for around ten years. The benefit to be received depends on the salary during the work period, as well as the years worked and the age of the person at the time that the benefits are applied.

However, there is a certain group of people who can claim monthly Social Security payments even if they never worked formally in their life; that is, they never contributed to the SSA.

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These people can receive Social Security payments without working

To receive monthly Social Security checks without working, you must be married to someone who has contributed to the SSA throughout their working life. That means your spouse should have paid Social Security payroll taxes.

However, you must wait until retirement age to claim benefits. If your application is approved, you could get, at most, 32.5% of your spouse’s benefits.

On the official Social Security website, under the heading “Benefits For Your Spouse”, it reads:

“Even if they have never worked under Social Security, your spouse may be eligible for benefits if they are at least 62 years of age and you are receiving retirement or disability benefits. Your spouse can also qualify for Medicare at age 65.”

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How to claim Social Security payments without working?

If you have never worked and you think you are eligible to claim your partner’s benefits, you can request the payments at any of the SSA offices or complete the process online, just keep in mind that the following information will be requested:

  • Spouse's date of birth
  • Spouse's Social Security Number
  • Date of birth and place of your marriage
  • Marriage certificate

For more information, visit the Social Security Retirement Benefits Planner.


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