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Category: US Law
Satisfied Customers: 56712
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My question is whether I can pay into social security when

Customer Question

Hello - my question is whether I can pay into social security when not working in order to increase benefits?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I lived in California but now live outside the country
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have spoken with SS about collecting benefits. I am 68 yrs. old, and only worked in the USA until 2001.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I'm not sure what else to say. I have some time before I collect, or I could begin now. My income was low when I was earning.
Submitted: 7 days ago.
Category: US Law
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
My husband is also claiming spousal benefits.
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 7 days ago.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I can wait. I am interested in the answer. Thank you.
Expert:  Lorens35 replied 5 days ago.

Thank you for using JA. I am Loren, a licensed attorney for over 35 yrs and a certified expert on JustAnswer since 2009.

This question is, understandably, important to you, and it is important to me that you get an accurate answer, as quickly as possible.

The format here is a chat. So, feel free to respond with follow-up. I am happy to continue until you are satisfied your questions or concerns have been fully addressed.

To answer your question regarding Social Security credits, no,  you can not buy Social Security credits, which are the income-based building blocks of benefit eligibility. You can't borrow them or transfer them from someone else's record.

The only way to earn your credits is by working and paying Social Security taxes.

In 2021, you earn one credit for each $1,470 in income from “covered” work. That's work where you paid into the Social Security system via Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)payroll withholding or self-employment taxes. You can earn up to, but no more than, four credits each calendar year.

Qualifying for Social Security retirement benefits requires 40 credits, so most people qualify after a decade in the workforce. However, no time or age limit is in place on collecting credits. No matter how long it takes or how old you are, you still will qualify for retirement benefits if you reach 40 credits. There is just no other way to get the credits except by working.

I hope I’ve provided the information you were seeking. If you need more help, please let me know so l can continue to assist you.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thanks. What about catch up credits?
Expert:  Lorens35 replied 5 days ago.

Individuals who are age 50 or over at the end of the calendar year can make annual catch-up contributions.

Annual catch-up contributions up to $6,500 in 2020 and in 2021 ($6,000 in 2015 - 2019) may be permitted by these plans:

  • 401(k) (other than a SIMPLE 401(k))
  • 403(b)
  • governmental 457(b)

Elective deferrals are not treated as catch-up contributions until they exceed the limit of $19,500 in 2020 and 2021 ($19,000 in 2019) or the ADP test limit of section 401(k)(3) or the plan limit (if any).

A participant can make catch-up contributions for a year up to the lesser of the following amounts:

  • The catch-up contribution dollar limit, or
  • The excess of the participant's compensation over the elective deferral contributions that are not catch-up contributions.

Plan participants must make catch-up contributions to a retirement plan via elective deferrals. Catch-up contributions must be made before the end of the plan year.