Who Is Not Eligible To Get Social Security Benefits?

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Written By Juliet D'cruz

Social Security significantly contributes to providing financial support to millions of individuals in the United States who can’t work due to disability, retirement, or other qualifying circumstances. These benefits, however, are not available to everyone. Thus, understanding the qualifying requirements is critical to have a reasonable expectation of earning social security payments. This blog elucidates who is not eligible for social security benefits while highlighting the significance of consulting a disability attorney in Sacramento.

Who Cannot Receive Social Security Benefits?

● Non-Working Individuals Without Sufficient Work Credits:

Individuals must earn a certain number of work credits to qualify for Social Security benefits. These credits are accumulated based on the time spent working and contributing to the Social Security system. Some people, such as those with insufficient job history, may be ineligible for benefits. 

Key Points To Consider:

  • A minimum of 40 work credits is required for Social Security retirement benefits
  • At least 20 work credits in the last ten years are needed for Social Security disability benefits
  • Each work credit is equal to a certain amount of earnings, adjusted annually

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● High-Income Earners:

While the Social Security system attempts to help those in desperate need, it primarily aims to help people with ordinary or low earnings. For higher-income earners, the eligibility for Social Security payments may be constrained or lowered. In addition, since the Social Security Administration calculates fees using an advanced formula, higher-income individuals get a smaller share of their pre-retirement income as benefits.

● Individuals Receiving Certain Government Pensions:

Certain federal workers, such as those employed before 1984 and covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), may be liable to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Social Security spousal or surviving payments are reduced by two-thirds of the government pension amount under the GPO. On the contrary, the WEP cuts Social Security retirement or disability payments for those who also earn a pension from work not covered by Social Security. These regulations can significantly influence eligibility and benefit levels for anyone within their jurisdiction.

● Undocumented Migrants:

Since undocumented immigrants aren’t typically eligible for social security benefits, to be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or have a specific immigration status allowing you to work and collect social security benefits. Yet, some immigrant groups, like refugees and asylees, may be qualified for benefits under specific conditions.

● Incarcerated Individuals:

You are typically ineligible for Social Security payments if you’re serving a felony sentence in a federal, state, or local correctional facility. However, if you received benefits before your incarceration, your benefits may have been halted, but you may be able to restart them upon release.

The Bottom Line

Understanding who is ineligible to receive Social Security benefits is crucial for individuals planning their financial future or seeking assistance during times of need. While this blog has provided an overview of some common scenarios where eligibility may be restricted, consulting an SSI lawyer in Sacramento specializing in Social Security law for personalized advice is imperative. They can help navigate the complexities of the eligibility process and maximize your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve. Remember, knowledge is power, and seeking expert assistance can make a significant difference in securing your financial stability when it matters most.

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