Who is entitled to retirement benefits?
Just about anybody who has worked for 10 or more years is eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.
You need 40 credits or quarters of coverage, earning a minimum income of $1,200 per quarter, according to the Social Security Administration.
The income requirement is so low that "it could be met with seasonal work," says Richard W. Stumpf, a Certified Financial Planner at Financial Benefits Inc. in Wichita, Kan.
There are some exceptions. Most federal employees hired before 1984 aren't eligible to participate, says Brett Horowitz, principal and wealth manager at Evensky & Katz in Coral Gables, Fla. Stumpf adds that pastors may choose not to pay in.
Also, railroad workers and their families generally get benefits through a separate retirement system.