How much work do I need to get Social Security?
Can I get Social Security? I was a home-maker and then my husband divorced me.
How can children get Social Security?
Let’s start with the basics. Only workers and their employers pay into Social Security, and only workers and their families can get Social Security.
Think of Social Security as an insurance company. You pay your “premiums” by paying your payroll taxes. Once insured, SSA will pay if certain defined events occur.
So, what does it insure against? It insures your work income stream against loss due to three factors: age (or retirement), disability, or death.
Let’s start with you, the worker. You can get retirement payments as early as age 62. You’ll need 10 years of work to qualify.
You the worker could get disability payments at any age if—heaven forbid—you become totally disabled mid-career. You’ll need fewer years of work, depending on your age.
How about family members? If the worker is eligible, then a spouse, children, and former spouse(s) are all potentially eligible. Naturally, there are technical requirements in each case.
If a worker dies (again, heaven forbid), then the same family members, plus dependent grandchildren or parents, are potentially eligible.
Bottom line: workers and their family members can get Social Security if work income is interrupted.