Who Can Receive Social Security Benefits

Who Can Receive Social Security Benefits

More Important Info

• A disabled insured worker under age sixty-five.

• A retired insured worker at age sixty-two or over.

The spouse of a retired or disabled worker entitled to benefits who:

• is age sixty-two or over; OR

• has in care a child under age sixteen
(or over age sixteen and disabled), who is entitled
to benefits on the worker’s Social Security record.

• The divorced spouse of a retired or disabled worker
entitled to benefits if age sixty-two or over and
married to the worker for at least ten years.

• The divorced spouse of a fully insured worker who has
not yet filed a claim for benefits if both are age sixty-two
or over, were married for at least ten years, and have
been finally divorced for at least two continuous years.

• The dependent, unmarried child of a retired or
disabled worker entitled to benefits, or of a
deceased insured worker if the child is:

• under age eighteen, OR

• under age nineteen and a full-time elementary
or secondary school student, OR

• aged eighteen or over but under a disability
that began before age twenty-two.

• The surviving spouse (including a surviving divorced spouse)
of a deceased insured worker if the widow(er)
is age sixty or over.

• The disabled surviving spouse (including a surviving
divorced spouse in some cases) of a deceased insured
worker, if the widow(er) is age fifty to fifty-nine
and becomes disabled within a specified period.

• The surviving spouse (including a surviving divorced spouse)
of a deceased insured worker, regardless of age, if caring for
an entitled child of the deceased who is either under age
sixteen or disabled before age twenty-two.

• The dependent parents of a deceased insured worker
at age sixty-two or over.

In addition to monthly survivor benefits, a lump-sum death
payment is payable upon the death of an insured worker.

Normal Retirement Age and Full Retirement Age

For many years Normal Retirement Age (NRA) meant the age
when someone was eligible for benefits that were not reduced
for taking early benefits (see Q 182 and Q 205). But recently this
phrase has come to mean, among planners and the general public,
the age when many people “normally” apply for benefits, which
is when they are generally first eligible — at age sixty-two.

As a result of this shift in language, a new phrase has developed
among planners and the public to describe the age when unreduced
benefits may be received — Full Retirement Age (FRA). As may seem
obvious, FRA refers to the age at which a person qualifies for full
Social Security benefits. This age is now determined by a person’s
year of birth and for those born in 1960 and later is now age sixty-
seven. This shift in terms has started to affect guidance put out by
the Social Security Administration (SSA), although the SSA still uses
both phrases to describe when unreduced benefits may be taken.

For the 2016 edition of Social Security & Medicare Facts the
phrase “Normal Retirement Age” is used in the place of the
phrase “Full Retirement Age” to describe the age at
which unreduced benefits may be taken.