Not Working Long Enough
You will only be eligible for Social Security if you gather at least 40 work credits. Based on your earnings, you may earn up to four credits a year. For example, in 2019, if you earned $5,440 then you got four credits, but if you earned $1,360, you only got one.
Despite needing at least 40 credits, your benefits will be calculated on the average of your 35 highest-earning years. But here’s the catch. If you have less than 35 years of earning, the Social Security Administration will add $0 to that average, meaning your benefits will undoubtedly go down.
This is common with those who worked in an early career which did not qualify for Social Security. So while your dream might be to retire early, you may be unable to do so without taking a hit to your benefits.
It’s better to check your earnings statement ahead of time. If you find that you haven’t gathered 35 years of earnings, it’ll be a good idea for you to keep working for a little while longer depending on how many you need until you reach that minimum. Doing so can not only ensure that you qualify for Social Security, but it’ll also help you boost your benefits.