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Social security computes your retirement benefit, provided you have at least 40 quarters of paying FICA, based on your best 35 years of FICA tax paying, including years in which you paid nothing. If you have fewer than 35 years of credit, that's fine with the SS administration. You still get your (reduced) benefit. They average in zero for however many years it takes to get a 35 year "work record".

Chips, who paid maximum social security tax for 30 years after 3 years of starvation-level GI wages
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