How Long Do You Need to Work to Receive Social Security Retirement Benefits?

To qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, you must generally have “40 quarters of coverage.” This means that you must have been working for 10 years and earning at least the minimum income (adjusted annually for inflation) required to receive a quarter of coverage.

For example, in 2017, you can receive one quarter of coverage for each $1,300 of earnings, up to the maximum of four quarters of credit per year. Thus, the maximum amount of income needed to earn four quarters of coverage in 2013 is $5,200 ($1,300 x 4).

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