Q: My husband retired after more than 30 years with the U.S. Postal Service with CSRS. Prior to working for the postal service, he paid 39 quarters into Social Security. When he reaches 62, can he receive Social Security benefits, or does he need to have had 40 quarters. He does have an opportunity to pay more into his Social Security fund through a farm income (material participation), but isn’t certain if that will allow him to receive Social Security benefits.
A: To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, he would have to have 40 credits. To qualify for one credit in 2010, he would only have to have $1,120 in earnings from either wages or self-employment. Note: If he becomes eligible for a Social Security benefit, it will be subject to the windfall elimination provision. The WEP reduces – but doesn’t eliminate – the Social Security benefit of anyone who receives an annuity from a retirement system where he didn’t pay Social Security taxes, such as CSRS, and has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings under Social Security.