Should I work longer to qualify for Social Security?


Q. I’m trying to decide if it’s worth working four more years to earn the minimum income for it to count for Social Security. I’m 66 and retired from the federal government with a pension of about $100,000, but I only have 24 quarters of Social Security eligible quarters.
— Unsure

A. There’s a lot to go into determining what, if any, Social Security benefit you could be eligible for.

Based on what you’ve said, it looks like your government pension is greater than what your Social Security benefit would probably be.

And it’s possible your Social Security benefit could be zero, said Jody D’Agostini, a certified financial planner with Equitable Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.

It also depends on whether you paid Social Security taxes on the income from your government job, she said.

Then you need to keep in mind the Windfall Elimination Provision, which applies to government workers.

“Social Security would be offset by two-thirds of the amount of your government pension,” she said. “Two-thirds of your pension would be over $66,000, which is much higher than any existing Social Security benefit.”

You should reach out to Social Security directly to see what benefits you could be eligible for if you work those extra years to earn the needed quarters.

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This story was originally published on Feb. 10, 2023. 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.