If you start working in the US late in life and don't have 40 credits by the time you turn 70, can you still become eligible for social security if you continue working past 70?

Various sources say that you stop earning credits after 69. For example https://www.ssa.gov/oact/quickcalc/early_late.html states "Delayed retirement credit is generally given for retirement after the normal retirement age. To receive full credit, you must be insured at your normal retirement age. No credit is given after age 69."

Say someone immigrates to the US at the age of 61, works for 10 years, until 71. Will they not be eligible for social security because they will have stopped earning credits after some point, even if they continue working?

That makes absolutely no sense, but so many places seem to indicated that earning credits stops at 69/70.

  • 2
    FWIW, various bilateral tax treaties between the US and other countries provide that one's work history in one country can be used for retirement payment eligibility in the other.
    – Sneftel
    Aug 21, 2023 at 9:18

1 Answer 1


You're talking about delayed retirement credits, not eligibility credits. To be fully insured you need 40 quarterly credits, and you can accrue them any time (source).

Fully Insured

To be fully insured, you need at least one QC for each calendar year after you turned 21 and the earliest of the following:

  • the year before you attain age 62,
  • the year before you die, or
  • the year before you become disabled.

So yes, you can continue accruing eligibility credits, but continuing delaying retirement after the age of 70 will not change your benefits.


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