The Florida Bar

Social Security

December 13, 2022

Social Security is an earned benefit, funded through payroll taxes. To qualify for benefits later in life, you have to pay into the system, usually through working ten years or more. The size and availability of your benefits are impacted by how much you paid into the Social Security system when you were working, and whether you take early, full, or late retirement. Even those who haven’t worked a full 10 years may be entitled to Social Security benefits in certain situations. Social Security can also provide benefits for those who are disabled or the dependents and survivors of a deceased worker.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

Workers who have paid into Social Security and become disabled before retiring may be able to collect Social Security disability insurance benefits. Social Security has a strict definition of disability. You must be unable to work in your previous occupation, unable to perform any new work, and unable to work for at least a year. You’ll want to know your disability onset date, how to prove your disability, and whether certain impairments are covered.

Applying for Benefits

When you claim your benefits will affect your Social Security payments for the remainder of your life. Early retirement can provide needed income as early as age 62, but delaying retirement until age 70 may result in much larger monthly payments.

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or substitute for the advice of a lawyer.