Q. I am a US resident alien; lived and worked in the US since 1970. Fully current and paid up member of the Social Security club. Do I have to be a US citizen to collect S.S benefits when I retire? The annual information supplied on Social Security benefits gives an amount due at 62 or 66 assuming one works until those ages. Is there a formula or information available that calculates $ benefits beginning at those ages if I retire at an earlier age, e.g. 60, and then wait until 62 or later to start collecting benefits.

A. You do not have to be a U. S. citizen to receive Social Security at retirement age. Non-U. S. citizens, however, who receive their benefits outside the United States are subject to having U. S. income taxes withheld before the benefit is paid.

How much difference leaving the work force early makes depends on the average of prior earnings and whether new earnings would significantly raise the average lifetime earnings on which benefits are based.

The estimate of future benefits on the most recent Social Security Statement you received anticipates your continued participation in the work force until full retirement age. However, you can go on line to determine a revised benefit by entering your projections of your future earnings. The Social Security Administration’s new benefit Retirement Estimator web site is http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator/ .