As of 2014, to receive Social Security benefits one must have paid into the system for a minimum of 10 years and be at least 62 years of age. Widows and widowers may receive Social Security based on their deceased spouse's earning records.
In certain cases, reduced Social Security benefits may be paid at a younger age. For instance, a person who is disabled and unable to work may be able to draw Social Security benefits instead of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and a widow with young surviving children can draw her spouse's benefits until the children are 16. A person who delays drawing Social Security until he is over 62 will receive a larger monthly payout.