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How many years do you have to pay in to get social security payments?

If a 50 year old Hispanic immigrant gets citizenship now and would start to pay in, when can he get his first social security check?

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To be eligible for Social Security Benefits as a Worker, you must be age 62 or older, or disabled or blind, and 'insured' by having enough work credits. Social Security measures work in 'work credits'. For applications filed December 1, 1996 or later, you must either be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present alien in order to receive monthly Social Security benefits.

One can earn up to 4 work credits per year based on their annual earnings. The amount of earnings required for a work credit increases each year as general wage levels rise. To be eligible for most types of benefits (benefits based on retirement, blindness, etc.), one would have to have earned an average of 1 work credit for each calendar year between the ages of 21 and the year in which he/she reached age 62, or became disabled or blind, up to a maximum of 40 credits. A minimum of 6 work credits is required, regardless of age.

For more information or to contact a Social Security Representative, visit

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