You qualify for Social Security benefits by earning credits when you work in a job, or are self-employed, and pay Social Security payroll taxes. In 2014, you receive one credit for each $1,200 of earnings, up to the maximum of four credits per year. Most people need 10 years of work (40 credits) to be eligible for retirement benefits.

Planning Retirement:
Your first step in planning for a comfortable retirement is to look at your Social Security Statement, which you can easily do online with your personalized Social Security account. The online statement is easy to use and provides estimates you should consider in your retirement planning. Your account statement allows you to review historical entries, and confirm your earnings are accurately posted to your Social Security record. This is an important feature because Social Security benefits are based on average earnings over your lifetime. If the information is incorrect, or you have earnings missing from your record, you may not receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled in the future.

You can also review disability and survivors benefits available through the Social Security Administration.

To open an online account, we recommend visiting: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount
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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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