Why You Can Trust Bankrate
Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long track record of helping people make smart financial choices. Weve maintained this reputation for over four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in which actions to take next.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that were putting your interests first. All of our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts, who ensure everything we publish is objective, accurate and trustworthy.
Our reporters and editors focus on the points consumers care about most how to save for retirement, understanding the types of accounts, how to choose investments and more so you can feel confident when planning for your future.
Questions To Ask Yourself Before Retiring
As you plan, consider these important questions:
- At what age do you plan to retire?
- Can you participate in an employers retirement savings plan? This includes 401 plans and traditional pension plans.
- If you have a spouse or partner, will they retire when you do?
- Where do you plan to live when you retire? Will you downsize, rent, or own your home?
- Do you expect to work part-time?
- Will you have the same medical insurance you had while working? Will your insurance coverage change?
- Do you want to travel or pursue a costly, new hobby?
Apply Online For Disability Benefits
Social Security offers an online disability application you can complete at your convenience. Apply from the comfort of your home or any location at a time most convenient for you. You do not need to drive to your local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.
You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:
- Are age 18 or older
- Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record
- Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death: and
- Have not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days. If your application was recently denied for medical reasons, the Internet Appeal is a starting point to request a review of the medical determination we made.
- Print and review the Adult Disability Checklist.
It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
We suggest that you have the following information at hand. It will make completing the application much easier.
Information About You
Information About Your Medical Condition
Information About Your Work
We may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:
We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns or medical documents, but we must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate.
Mailing Your Documents
After we receive your online application, we will:
Don’t Miss: Apply For Benefits Social Security
When The Increase To Social Security Benefits Next Year Be Announced
The COLA is determined by data reported in the Consumer Price Index the year-over-year change in prices for goods and services for July, August and September. CPI data is released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in the second week of each month.On Sept. 13, for example, the agency reported inflation information for August, which was at 8.3%, a slight decline from Julys 8.9%. The CPI for September will be announced on Oct. 13. The Social Security Administration wont announce what the COLA increase will be until after its evaluated the September numbers.
Last year, the agency announced Septembers CPI and the 2022 COLA increase on the same day. If that holds true his year, we should know how much next years Social Security benefits will increase on Oct. 13.
Read Also: Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund
Prepare Your Social Security Application Worksheet
Track and organize the information you’ll need to claim your benefits in this handy checklist.
According to the United States Government, over 59 million individuals will receive approximately $863 billion in Social Security benefits this year. With numbers like that, chances are good that you or someone you know may be eligible for benefits soon. This article answers some common questions about Social Security benefits.
You May Like: Life Care Centers Of America Employee Benefits
Applying For Retirement Benefits
This section explains what you need to know to apply for your retirement benefits. It describes the documents and forms you must provide before you can receive benefits and how to choose your pension effective date. The following section, How Retirement Benefits are Paid, explains how benefits are paid and how to choose your payment options.
Receiving Plan Benefits
This section explains the process of retiring from work and applying for benefits. It tells you what you need to know when choosing a pension effective date and deciding how your retirement benefits are paid.
The Plan offers three types of retirement benefits:
- Early retirement benefits
- Disability retirement benefits
- Normal retirement benefits
The shaded box below summarizes what you must do to begin receiving each type of retirement benefit.
Before you can start receiving benefits:
Retirement From Employment
In addition to meeting all of the eligibility requirements for an early retirement benefit, you must be considered retired from employment. This means you must meet all of the following requirements:
Early Retirement BenefitsBefore Age 65
How to Apply for Benefits
How We Make Money
The offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories. But this compensation does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you see on this site. We do not include the universe of companies or financial offers that may be available to you.
Don’t Miss: How To Check Medicare Benefits
What Are Social Security Credits And How Are They Earned
Social Security credits determine eligibility and benefit amounts in retirement. In 2022, earning $1,510 in income qualifies as earning one Social Security work credit.2 You are eligible to earn up to four credits per year. Most people need 40 credits to qualify for Social Security benefits though younger individuals require fewer credits for disability benefits or for their family members to receive survivors benefits.
Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary
You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.
Also Check: Taxes On Social Security Benefits Calculator
Earn Ssa Work Credits In Some Countries
You may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.
How To Stop Social Security Check Payments
The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.
If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.
Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.
Recommended Reading: Age For Maximum Social Security Benefit
How Do I Apply For Social Security Benefits
You can apply for Social Security benefits either online, or in person at the Social Security office if there is one in your city.
The Social Security Administration recommends starting the application process at least four months in advance of your planned retirement, and you will need information such as your birth certificate, Social Security card, and other government-issued documents. This list published by the Social Security Administration gives the full list of documents that may be needed for your application.
How Do I Qualify For Social Security
To qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, in most cases:
- You must be 62+ years old, or disabled/unable to work, and
- You must have sufficient credits earned throughout your working life.3
To qualify for Social Security spousal retirement benefits:
- You must be married to a retired worker , and
- You must have a child under age 16 or a disabled child in your care, or
- You are 62+ years old.2
To qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you are under the age of 62:
- You must be 18+ years old and unable to work due to physical or mental disability, and
- Your condition is expected to last at least a year or may result in death.3
You still can qualify for Social Security disability benefits without earning the required 40 credits, depending on the circumstances. Your lifetime earnings and benefits help determine your monthly disability benefit amount.
To qualify for Social Security survivors benefits:
- You must be a widow or widower who is 60+ years old , or
- You must be a widow or widower caring for the deceaseds child who is under the age of 16 or disabled, or
- You must be a surviving divorced spouse , or
- A dependent parent who is 62+ years old, or
- You must be an unmarried child of the deceased and are:Under 18 years old , or
- 18+ years old with a disability that occurred before you turned 22.3
Also Check: Social Security Disability Dependent Benefits
How Do Benefits Work And How Can I Qualify
While you work, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money goes into a trust fund that pays benefits to:
- Those who are currently retired
- To people with disabilities
- To the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died
Each year you work, youll get credits to help you become eligible for benefits when its time for you to retire. Find all the benefits Social Security Administration offers.
There are four main types of benefits that the SSA offers:
Learn about earning limits if you plan to work while receiving Social Security benefits
How To Get A Social Security Card
When Is The Best Time To Apply
Every individualâs needs are different, but factors that may impact your decision to collect retirement can include your health, your financial needs, your other sources of income, and your plans to work after you start collecting your benefits. This is because the total dollar amount of your benefits will vary based on how old you are when you claim the benefit and whether or not you are still working.
If you are getting a divorce, you should also be thinking about Social Security. If you were married at least 10 years and do not ever re-marry, you may qualify for benefits based on your former spouseâs earnings when you both reach age 62. The result is that you could receive the higher of benefits based on your own work history or half of your former spouseâs benefit, even if he or she has remarried.
Applying For Social Security Benefits
Only general rules for applying for basic types of benefits are presented in this section. For more detailed information please visit the SSA website or contact the Federal Benefits Unit.
When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn credits toward Social Security benefits. You need 40 credits to qualify for retirement benefits unless you worked in a country that has a Social Security agreement with the U.S. Such agreement can help you if you have worked in both the United States and a country with which we have an agreement, but have not worked long enough in either country to qualify for Social Security retirement, disability or survivors benefits. Under an agreement, each country can count your work credits in the other country if this will help you qualify for benefits. Please go here to learn more about it.
Please go to our Totalization Agreements section to see if you can benefit from it.
Your benefit payment is affected by the age at which you decide to retire. If you retire at age 62, which is the earliest possible retirement age for Social Security, your benefit will be lower than if you wait until later to retire. This is explained in more details here
Benefits may be payable to the following dependents of the insured Wage Earner:
The following categories of survivors may be eligible for benefits on the deceased insured Wage Earners account:
Also Check: Security Benefit Annuity Customer Service
How Do I Apply For Social Security Disability Insurance
Whichever route you go, youll want to have the extensive documentation required at the ready including detailed information about your condition and recent employment history.
To qualify for disability you cannot already be receiving Social Security benefits and must not have been denied disability benefits in the past 60 days.
When you apply, be patient: A majority of disability claims are denied at first and the appeals process can take months or even years to resolve.
Even getting a preliminary decision on your application takes more than five months on average, according to AARP.
Documents You Need When Applying For Social Security
When its time to apply for your Social Security benefits, youll need to have the following documents in hand:
- Your Social Security card
- Your original birth certificate, or a certified copy
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status
- Military service papers, if applicable
- Your W-2 form from the last year
If you cant access any of these documents for one reason or another, dont hold off on applying. Your local Social Security office can help you obtain certified copies or equivalent information, or you can submit them later on in the process. Delaying signing up for benefits could result in you losing benefits.
Note that the SSA can accept photocopies of some of these documents, such as your W-2 and tax returns. However, youll need to submit the original of other forms, such as your birth certificate.
Read Also: Northrop Grumman Employee Benefits Login
Eligible Family Members Include:
- Ex-spouses, if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years and they have not remarried
- Children under 18, or up to 19 if still enrolled in high school
- Children of any age who were disabled before 22 — that is, not earning more than $1,260 per month in 2020, having a medical condition that results in severe functional limitations and that is expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death
Spouses and ex-spouses must be at least 62 in order to claim benefits, and spouses and children must wait for the worker to begin claiming benefits themselves before they can claim family benefits on their record.
Getting A Social Security Number For A New Baby
The easiest way to get a Social Security number for your child is at the hospital after they are born when you apply for your childs birth certificate. If you wait to apply for a number at a Social Security office, there may be delays while SSA verifies your childs birth certificate.
Your child will need their own Social Security number so you can:
- Claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return
- Open a bank account in their name
- Get medical coverage for them
- Apply for government services for them
You May Like: Deceased Retired Military Spouse Benefits
Selecting A Benefit Start Date
The application will also ask you what date you want your benefits to start. A benefits estimator is built into the application to help you decide.
The SSA pays out benefits the month after the start date you request. For example, if you indicate that you want your benefits to start in September, you’ll receive your first check in October.
Keep in mind that the amount on your benefit checks will depend on the age when you start collecting. The longer you can wait to start taking your payments, the more you will get each month. However, while you are not required to start receiving social security by age 70, your benefit will no longer increase by delaying the start date after that time.