How do I get Social Security Protection?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 03 February 2020
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Social security protection comes in several forms. Some of this protection may need to be earned by working (or by relationship to someone who has worked) and other types, especially supplemental security income, may be available to people with a variety of medical conditions provided present income meets requirements. Since there are varying kinds of social security protection, there are different ways to achieve it.

When most people think of social security protection, they are contemplating payments they might receive when they reach retirement age. These payments are earned in several ways. People may work, and earn up to four credits a year. Usually a credit corresponds to earning about $1000 US Dollars (USD) per year, though amounts are subject to change. Technically, those who earn about $4000 USD per year for ten years would be eligible to receive social security benefits when they retire. Amount of benefit tends to increase with each year the person delays retirement, and monthly benefit is based on evaluating the 35 years in which earnings were highest and averaging that amount.


When a person has met at least minimum standards to have earned social security benefits, they may be protecting not only themselves. Minor children of a deceased person who has qualified may be entitled to a support benefit, which is usually a lesser amount. A spouse of the person who earned social security protection could also receive some minimum payments beginning at retirement. Payments to a spouse or to minor children are not as high as payments the person who earned social security protection would be able to collect, in many cases.

Another type of social security protection is supplemental security income (SSI). This is not paid for in the same manner or through the collection of taxes for social security. People may get SSI if they have severe disabilities that affect their ability to work and earn money, or if they are under 18 and meet certain standards for disability. In the former case the person’s income is considered and in the latter, the income of the parents is evaluated; the person must also meet certain tests to determine severity of disability.

It may be harder to get this form of social security protection because first applications for disability are often routinely denied, especially if the disability falls into more nebulous areas of interpretation. People with disabilities who meet income requirements are encouraged to reapply. Not only does SSI provide some income, but receiving it also means qualification for Medicaid, and this may prove helpful to many.

It’s important to point out what economists have long said about either form of social security protection. These “protections” are extremely minimal and are no longer designed to fully support people. There are those who manage on small social security checks, but it can be very hard to do this. This is why many people delay retirement. If inadequate savings exist to supplement social security payments, then many retirees are forced to dramatically change living situations in order to survive on the sometimes meager checks that they receive from a lifetime of work at lower wages.



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