Can I get Social Security based on my parents’ work records?


Q. I lost my great-paying job during COVID. I’m 62. I had planned to work until I was 67 to increase my Social Security, but all that fell apart. Now I’ll be lucky to get $1,450 per month at 67 because when I was young, I worked a few years under the table and I was naive. Now I’m having a hard time getting a job. Can I file and get benefits off my parents’ records? If I file on my own record now, I will only get like $850. That’s not much.
— Feeling poor

A. We’re sorry to hear you’re having a rough time.

As you said in your question, the longer you wait to take Social Security benefits, the higher the benefit will be.

But generally, you cannot receive Social Security benefits from your parents’ earnings, said Gail Rosen, a Martinsville-based certified public accountant.

She said the exception to this rule is if you were disabled before age 22. Then a “child’s benefit” is paid based on the parent’s Social Security earnings record, she said.

Although you may be having a difficult time getting a job you really want, she recommends you think about taking what you can find, even if it’s not your first choice.

“Your Social Security retirement benefits are based on your 35 highest-earning years no matter what age you are,” Rosen said. “Each year you work will replace a low wage year with the higher earnings you could have now.”

Good luck to you.

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This story was originally published on May 23, 2022. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.