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On average, if you have 10 years as SS income, you'll receive about 29% of what the full 140 quarters would have provided (40/140). Probably good enough for some food and utilities, at least.

Not really. Individuals with lower average indexed earnings get a higher percent of their earnings as benefits through the bend point process. From https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/piaformula.html

PIA formula
For an individual who first becomes eligible for old-age insurance benefits or disability insurance benefits in 2021, or who dies in 2021 before becoming eligible for benefits, his/her PIA will be the sum of:
(a) 90 percent of the first $996 of his/her average indexed monthly earnings, plus
(b) 32 percent of his/her average indexed monthly earnings over $996 and through $6,002, plus
(c) 15 percent of his/her average indexed monthly earnings over $6,002.


PIA is the "Primary Insurance Amount" which is the monthly SS benefit that you get if you retire at your full retirement age. If you retire at an age other than your full retirement age, that amount is adjusted up or down.

So if the individual who worked for 35 years had a $4500 Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME), their benefit amount at full retirement age would be (0.9*996) + (.32*(4500-996)) = $2017

Then, if the other individual had similar earnings while working, but only worked for 10 years, their AIME would be $4500/35*10 = $1285 So their benefit amount at full retirement age would be (0.9*996) + (.32*(1285-996)) = $988

So the individual who worked only 10 years gets $988/$2017 = 48.98% of the SS benefit that the person who worked for 35 years.

AJ
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