Social Security

Social Security provides economic security for millions of Americans – retirees, disabled persons, and families of retired, disabled or deceased workers. About 157 million Americans pay Social Security taxes and 56 million collected monthly benefits in 2012. About one household in four receives income from Social Security.

Community Legal Services attorneys provide help to those who have experienced legal difficulties with receiving Social Security payments. Each case is analyzed on an individual basis and persons are encouraged to speak with an experienced advocate in order to assess their case. Contact our Helpline to see if you qualify.

Retirement Benefits

You must meet the following requirements to be eligible for retirement benefits:

  • You are 62 or older (you may apply starting at age 61 and 9 months).
  • You have earned at least 40 credits.
  • You are retired or are employed and have limited earnings.

Your spouse and unmarried children might also be eligible to receive benefits based on your earnings if one of the following applies:

  • Your spouse is 62 or older.
  • Your non-working spouse is younger than 62 and is caring for your child who is younger than 16 or disabled.

Your divorced spouse also might receive benefits if the following applies:

  • He or she is 62 or older.
  • Your marriage lasted longer than 10 years.
  • He or she is not remarried.

Early Retirement

Your check will be permanently reduced by a fraction of one percent for every month that you receive Early Retirement benefits, before your full retirement age. See Benefits by Year of Birth to determine your Full Retirement Age and the amount your benefits will be reduced for Early Retirement.

Earnings After Retirement

If you have not reached your full retirement age and are not receiving disability, your earnings may reduce the amount of Early Retirement Social Security benefits that you receive. SSA will deduct $1 for every $2 you earn over the annual limit, which for 2013 is $15,120. If you will reach full retirement age in 2013, your Social Security Benefits will be reduced by one dollar for every three dollars you earn over $40,080. The limit of $40,080 only applies to those who retire before reaching full retirement age but in the same calendar year as reaching full retirement age, and only the earnings for the months before reaching full retirement age will count towards the limit. Your benefits will not be affected, however, if you have reached full retirement age.

Helpful Resources

Common Links

Apply for Social Security Retirement

Retirement Information for Medicare Recipients

Retirement Planner

Retirement benefits for your Spouse

Benefits for your Divorced Spouse

How to Get Proof of Social Security Numbers or Benefits


Below are selected brochures published by CLSMF. You can see the full list of brochures here.

What to do if you are notified of an overpayment by Social Security