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The Minimum Pension and Eligibility Requirements in the United States

Social Security Retirement Program: Understanding the Minimum Pension in the US

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides financial assistance to retirees in the form of monthly payments. With the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase of 8.7%, the average payments of all retirees enrolled in the program have increased to about $1,827. However, what is the minimum pension in the US and what are its requirements?

Requirement to Receive Benefits

For workers to receive benefits, they need to meet certain criteria set by the SSA. These include having a Social Security number (SSN), certain earnings, and credits, and a minimum age of 62 or full retirement age of 67. Full benefits are payable if a retiree has reached full retirement age. The SSA also provides aid for low-income workers to calculate the minimum benefit of the Social Security program.

The Special Minimum Benefit

The special minimum benefit is a formula created in 1972 to provide long-term benefits to those with low income. It looks at years of coverage instead of income, and the amount payable is determined by the years of coverage. According to the latest data from 2022, the minimum benefit starts at $49.40 for 11 years of coverage and increases to $1,033.50 for those with 30 years of coverage.

Payments from Social Security at Ages 62 and 70

Retirees can apply for monthly benefits from Social Security at age 62, but this reduces the amount payable. They receive the full amount of their benefits less a 30% reduction. For instance, if the full retirement age is 67 and the full benefit is $1,000, a retiree who receives benefits at 62 will receive $700 per month instead. If they delay claiming benefits until 70, the maximum age, they can receive an additional 8% benefit per year past full retirement age.


In summary, the minimum pension in the US is determined by the special minimum benefit formula, and it varies depending on the years of coverage. Retirees can apply for monthly benefits at age 62, but it results in a reduction of the benefits payable. It is wise to wait past full retirement age to receive a higher monthly benefit.

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