Social Security benefits are estimated and allocated based on numerous factors, including an individual’s work history, average salary, and age when they start to receive benefits. In order to qualify for Social Security, a recipient has to earn 40 work credits over their lifetime.
US workers can request their Social Security benefits statements to determine how many credits they have earned. Most people who have earned $5,640 or more per year for at least 10 years will be eligible for at least the minimum benefit.
The maximum base benefit is capped at just over $3,000 per month. However, postponing Social Security withdrawal up to 3 to 4 years after full retirement age increases the final payout. On the other hand, taking Social Security before full retirement age permanently lowers the monthly benefit.