SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home211. Summary Chart of Requirements for Insured Status

211.1 What are the requirements for monthly Social Security benefits?

The following chart shows the requirements for receiving the various types of monthly Social Security benefits.

Monthly Social Security benefits can be paid to...

If the worker...

A retired worker age 62 or over.

Is fully insured.

A disabled worker under full retirement age.

Would have been fully insured had he or she turned 62 in the month the disability began. The worker also needs 20 credits out of the 40 calendar quarters ending with the quarter that the disability began (20/40).

Note: This does not apply in the case of a person disabled because of blindness as described in §507.

A worker disabled before age 31 who does not have sufficient credits to meet 20/40 requirement.

Note: Special insured status may apply to a worker who becomes disabled after age 31, provided the individual had a period of disability prior to age 31. See §208.

Has credits in one-half of the quarters elapsing in the period after the quarter of reaching age 21 and up to and including the quarter of becoming disabled. The worker needs at least six credits (see §208); or if disabled in a quarter before turning 24, he or she needs six credits in the 12 calendar-quarter period, including the quarter in which the disability began and immediately before becoming disabled.

Worker disabled due to blindness.

Has at least one credit for each year after reaching age 21 (or 1950, if later) up to the year the qualifying credit is earned. Must have a minimum of six credits.

The spouse of a person entitled to disability or retirement insurance benefits, if he or she is: (A) Age 62 or over (may be divorced spouse in certain circumstances; see §311); or (B) Caring for a child who is under age 16; or a child under a disability which began before the child reached age 22 and entitled to benefits (see Chapter 3).

Is fully insured or insured for disability benefits, whichever is applicable as shown above.

A dependent, unmarried child of a person entitled to disability or retirement insurance benefits if the child is: (A) Under 18; (B) Under 19 and a full-time elementary or secondary school student; or (C) Age 18 or over and under a disability which began before the child reached age 22.

Is insured for retirement or disability benefits, whichever is applicable, as shown above.

A widow(er) (may be surviving divorced spouse in certain circumstances; see §403) age 60 or over.

Is fully insured.

A widow(er) and, under certain conditions, a surviving divorced spouse, if the widow(er), or divorced spouse is caring for a child entitled to benefits if the child is under 16 or disabled.

Is either fully or currently insured.

A disabled widow(er) (may be surviving divorced spouse in certain circumstances; see §403) age 50 or over but under age 60 whose disability began within a certain period (see §513).

Is fully insured.

A dependent, unmarried child of a deceased worker if the child is: (A) Under 18; (B) Under 19 and a full-time elementary or secondary school student; or (C) Age 18 or over and under a disability which began before the child reached age 22.

Is either fully or currently insured.

The dependent parents age 62 or over of the deceased worker (see §421).

Is fully insured.

211.2 What are the requirements for a special monthly cash benefit?

You can receive a special monthly cash payment if you meet the following requirements:

  1. You are at least 72 years old;

  2. You are not insured for regular Social Security benefits; and

  3. You turned 72 either;

    1. Before 1968; or

    2. Between 1968 and 1971 and you have at least three credits for each calendar year elapsing after 1966 and before the year you turn 72.

Note: This benefit is not available if you turn 72 after 1971.

211.3 What are the requirements for a lump-sum death payment?

The worker must be either fully or currently insured for a beneficiary to receive a lump-sum death payment. The lump-sum death payment is paid in the following order of priority:

  1. First, to the widow(er) of the deceased worker who was living in the same household as the deceased worker at the time of death;

  2. Second, to the widow(er) (excluding a divorced spouse) who is eligible for or entitled to benefits based on the deceased worker's record for the month of death; and

  3. Third, to children who are eligible for or entitled to benefits based on the deceased worker's record for the month of death.

Note: If there is no surviving widow(er) or child as defined above, no lump-sum is payable.

Last Revised: Aug. 9, 2005