Minimum to Qualify for Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Administration provides different types of benefits through their programs. Most of these programs are funded by Social Security tax and Medicare tax, in the case of the Medicare program. If you have a disability, you might qualify for different programs. If you are a surviving family member, you may also qualify to receive Social Security benefits, which are are disability benefits, survivor benefits, retirement benefits and Medicare.

Disability Requirements

Two of the Social Security programs that pay benefits to people who are disabled are the Social Security Disability (SSD) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify to receive benefits for any of these programs, or both, you must have a disability. For the SSD program, your condition actually has to keep you from working at your previous job and any other job. It must also last at least 24 months or lead to death. For the SSI program, any type of disability qualifies you to receive benefits, and you are allowed to continue working.

Income Requirements

You do not need to meet income requirements for any program other than the Supplemental Security Income program. SSI pays benefits for people who are disabled and who have low income. The Social Security office considers $1,000 per month to be a substantial amount of income. However, the actual limits depend on your state levels of income and your family size. If you have low income and a disability, you might be able to get SSI benefits.

Social Security and Medicare Tax

You must have paid Social Security and Medicare tax to receive benefits from most Social Security programs. The amount of years you need to work and pay these taxes depends on your age when you apply for benefits or become disabled. Programs such as Survivor Benefits pay benefits to your family when you die. Whether or not your family can receive benefits depends on your work history. If you die at a young age, you are not required to have worked for as many years. The only program that does not require you to have a tax payment history is SSI.


To receive Social Security benefits, such as Medicare and retirement, you are required to be older than a certain age. You can retire and start receiving benefits as early as age 62. To receive Medicare benefits, you must be 65 years of age or older. However, people who are younger and receiving disability benefits may be eligible to receive Medicare two years after the beginning of disability benefits. People who are older than 65 years of age and have low income may also be eligible to receive SSI benefits.