Will I Still Be Eligible For Social Security?

Jan 26 2017 - 7:00am

I have several questions that I am hoping you can help me with. Just a little history. Our daughter was born with a large facial tumor on her nose and upper lip called a hemangioma. She is 22 and has had 11 surgeries to date. She was also born with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis which seems to be in remission. Eight years ago she was diagnosed with OCD and anxiety which we have managed with therapy and no medication. I gave up my career to care for her and we have struggled to make ends meet. My husband is an electrician and due to circumstances beyond our control, we are in debt and there is no money to plan for retirement. I just have three questions below. Thanks in advance for your advice.
1) My husband is 58(born in 1958) and I am 56(born in 1960). I worked for 18 years but when our daughter was born 22 years ago with several medical problems(she is not on disability) I gave up my career and have been a stay-at-home mom ever since. Will I still be entitled to Social Security Benefits?
2) Will I benefit greatly if I were to start working now and does it have to be full time?
3) Any suggestions on when/if we should retire and start collecting social security?

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's health problems.

If you have 40 quarters of Social Security coverage (i.e. roughly 10 years of work credits), you will be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. You must be at least age 62 to be eligible for even reduced benefits, though.

Additional work and earnings would no doubt increase your future retirement benefit rate (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf), but may not help your overall benefit much if your husband's full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is more than twice as much as your own. That's because you would then qualify for spousal benefits on his record, and you would only receive essentially the higher of your own benefit or your spousal benefit.

If your daughter is unable to work due to her impairments, she may qualify for disabled adult child's benefits on either your record or your husband's record when one or both of you start drawing your benefits. That could affect your filing strategy, so you may want to run the maximization software available on this website in order to determine the best plan. The software also allows you to enter projected future earnings, which should tell you what effect additional work and earnings would have on your benefit rate.

Best, Jerry