Q. Will a person who is only 30 and hasn’t worked enough to earn their 40 credits draw the same amount as a person who has worked their whole life and earned their 40 credits?

A. Social Security retirement, disability or death benefits are based on average indexed monthly earnings over the number of years specified in the Social Security Act.

Eligibility for retirement benefits at retirement age requires a minimum of 40 work credits (ten years). Death benefits to dependent survivors or Disability Insurance benefits to a disabled worker can require as little as 18 months of work in Social Security covered employment. A 30-year-old disabled worker, for example, could receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or , upon the wage earner’s death, dependents could receive survivor benefits if the wage earner had four-and-a-half years of earnings. Once average indexed monthly earnings are determined, the calculation for disability or survivor benefits is identical to that used for retirement benefits.