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Is it true that some people who are collecting Social Security benefits never paid into the program?

En español | Social Security is an earned benefit. In order to collect a retirement or disability benefit, a worker must pay into the system for at least 10 years. In some cases, nonworking family members, such as a spouse, may be eligible for benefits based on the worker’s record. Tough rules in place assure that only legal residents and citizens who have met the 10-year qualification can collect retirement benefits.


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