Talk To An Attorney About Your Options
If youre currently receiving SSI or SSDI benefits and are nearing retirement age, you should talk to an attorney about your options. You could potentially receive Social Security retirement benefits as well, but you must apply in the right way and provide the correct information to the Social Security Administration so as to avoid jeopardizing the benefits youre already receiving.
Since 1922, Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC has represented clients throughout Pennsylvania, taking on SSDI and SSI applications, reviews, and appeals with an unmatched level of professionalism and care. We know it can be difficult to go through the claims process without legal counsel, particularly if youre dealing with a situation where youre trying to combine retirement benefits and SSI. With our experience and understanding of Social Security disability benefits, we can guide you in the right direction.
Will I Get A Disability Freeze If I Switch To Disability Benefits
During the months you were disabled but collecting retirement benefits, Social Security would apply the disability freeze, which means that your lack of income due to disability would not be counted when calculating your Social Security retirement payment from your earnings record. The freeze can help increase the benefit you’ll eventually receive at full retirement age.
Social Security will apply the freeze beginning at the start of your disability until the month before you reach full retirement age.
What Happens If I Work And Get Social Security Retirement Benefits
You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, if you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, we will reduce your benefit. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, we will not reduce your benefits no matter how much you earn.
- We use the following earnings limits to reduce your benefits: If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit.
For 2022 that limit is $19,560.
- In the year you reach full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit, but we only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age.
If you will reach full retirement age in 2022, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $51,960.
Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, you can get your benefits with no limit on your earnings.
Use our Retirement Age Calculator to find your full retirement age based on your date of birth.
Use our Retirement Earnings Test Calculator to find out how much your benefits will be reduced.
What counts as earnings:
Your benefits may increase when you work:
When youre ready to apply for retirement benefits, use our online retirement application, the quickest, easiest, and most convenient way to apply.
If you need to report a change in your earnings after you begin receiving benefits:
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How Medicare Took Away A Big Part Of 2022’s Social Security Cola
The 5.9% COLA that took effect at the beginning of 2022 increased benefits for about 70 million Americans. For the typical Social Security retiree, the upward adjustment boosted average benefits by about $90 to $1,614 per month.
However, even those who were eligible for those benefits didn’t see their actual checks rise that much. That’s because the Social Security Administration automatically withholds Medicare premiums for those recipients who have enrolled in Medicare.
How To Get The Maximum Social Security Benefit
Few people receive the maximum Social Security check from the government. To defy this and potentially become one of a small handful to bag $4,194 per month, you’ll need to be a high earner over many decades and delay receiving the benefits.
The checklist is as follows:
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Fact #: Social Security Is Especially Beneficial For Women
Social Security is especially important for women, because they tend to earn less than men, take more time out of the paid workforce, live longer, accumulate less savings, and receive smaller pensions. Women represent more than half of Social Security beneficiaries in their 60s and 7 in 10 beneficiaries in their 90s. In addition, women make up 96 percent of Social Security survivor beneficiaries.
How To Get A Social Security Card
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What Is A Social Security Card
Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.
When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.
Fact #: Social Security Is Particularly Important For People Of Color
Social Security is a particularly important source of income for groups with low earnings and less opportunity to save and earn pensions, including Black and Latino workers and their families, who face higher poverty rates during their working lives and in old age. The poverty rate among Black and Latino older adults is roughly 2.5 times as high as for white seniors. There is a significant racial retirement wealth gap, leading older adults of color to face more retirement insecurity than their white counterparts. Black and Latino workers are less likely to be offered workplace retirement plans, and they are likelier to work in low-wage jobs with little margin for savings. Social Security helps reduce the economic disparities between older white adults and older adults of color.
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Will Social Security Go Bankrupt
The Social-Security-is-going-bankrupt claim is one that we are hearing often these days. Theres a grain of truth to it which will delve into in a bit but most of it is sensationalist drivel. There is no question that it makes for great attention-grabbing headlines, and probably plays well into the hands of the retirement planning industry.
But a lot of people are worrying needlessly about this potential outcome. What are the myths what are the facts? And more important, how can we prepare for whatever will come about?
What Is The Future Of Social Security
As of June 2022, the Social Security Trust Fund is projected to have enough resources to cover all promised benefits until 2035 when, absent a change from Congress, benefits would need to be cut for all current and future beneficiaries to about 80% of scheduled benefits.2 Over the longer term, changes to the full retirement age or means testingâwhich could reduce or eliminate benefits based on your other income sourcesâmay also be considered.
If you’re skeptical about the future of Social Security or wary of potential changes, you may be tempted to start benefits early, assuming that it’s better to have something than nothing. Regardless of your situation, if you are concerned about the future prospects for Social Security, then that’s a good reason to save moreâand earlierâfor your retirement.
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Bridge To Medicare At Age 65
Remember that while you are eligible for reduced Social Security benefits at 62, you won’t be eligible for Medicare until age 65, so you will probably have to pay for private health insurance in the meantime. That can eat up a large chunk of your Social Security payments.
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How To Register For Social Security Benefits Online
Registering for your Social Security benefits when you retire may seem about as appealing as an anesthetic-free root canal. You may have images in your head of endless paperwork and headaches.
But the truth is, registration is surprisingly easy, particularly online. Here are the steps you will need to register for Social Security retirement benefitsand it shouldnt take you more than 15 to 30 minutes:
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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.
You’ll Get More Money If You Wait To Cash In On Your Social Security
You likely know that if you wait until full retirement age to collect your Social Security benefits, you’ll receive 100% of your benefits. But if you decide to wait until age 70 to retire, you’ll get even more money.
Your benefits will increase by a percentage for each month you delay receiving your benefits past full retirement age up to age 70. If you were born in 1960 or later and wait to start receiving Social Security benefits until age 70, you’ll get 124% of your benefits.
You can get more money if you wait to retire.
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What About Taxes On Social Security
Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your “combined income.” Your combined income is equal to your adjusted gross income , plus non-taxable interest payments , plus half of your Social Security benefit.
As your combined income increases above a certain threshold , more of your benefit is subject to income taxâup to a maximum of 85%. For help, talk with a CPA or tax professional.
In any case, if you’re still working, you may want to postpone Social Security either until you reach your full retirement age or until your earned income is less than the annual limit. In no situation should you postpone benefits past age 70.
How Much Do You Have To Make To Get Maximum Social Security
To receive the maximum Social Security benefit, youd need to earn at least the maximum wage taxable by Social Security for 35 years and delay claiming the benefit until you reach 70. The earnings cap adjusts every year based on changes to the national average wage index and is $147,000 in 2022, up from $142,800 in 2021.
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When Should You Receive Social Security Benefits
One of the best ways to ensure a good safety net during retirement is to maximize when you take Social Security benefits. The decision about when to take Social Security benefits depends on your financial situation. How much money you receive is based on how long you have been working and when you decide to start taking benefits.
The longer you work, and the longer you wait to begin taking benefits, the higher your monthly payments will be. However, if you have lost your job, and cant find a new one, Social Security benefits might be necessary to help keep you afloat.
You Can Start Collecting Benefits Before Your Full Retirement Age
You can’t begin collecting your Social Security benefits at age 45 , but you can collect before your full retirement age. The earliest age you can start receiving your benefits is 62 full retirement age is 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later.
You must have 40 credits to be eligible for Social Security benefits. Credits are earned when you work and pay Social Security taxes. On average, it takes around 10 years of working to earn 40 credits.
If you choose to start receiving your benefits early, your monthly payments will be reduced by 30% .
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What To Look For On Your Social Security Statement
Once you have access to your Social Security statement, look at the information. Verify that your personal information is accurate. Youll want to have inaccurate information corrected.
Also, look at your earnings history. If your earnings are too low for some years, you might not get the benefits you are entitled to. Your Social Security benefits, for you, or to your survivors should you die, are related to your earnings. If there has been a mistake related to under-reported earnings, youll need to fix that so that you have the proper benefits.
Be on the lookout for earnings that are too high as well. These cases could indicate that someone has used your Social Security number to get a job. While its a nice thought that you will get all those extra benefits, the downside is that your identity has likely been stolen. Reporting the matter could lead to helping you lock down your credit file.
You can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 if you want to correct information on your Social Security statement. The sooner you fix mistakes on your statement and the governments records, the better off youll be. Its much better to resolve these issues now before you actually need your Social Security benefits.
The Source Ofand Solution Tothe Problem
When the current Social Security formula was put in place in 1977, no provision was made for the contingency that economic conditions would be so dire that average wages would fall in any given year. This problem first surfaced in 2009 during the Great Recession. The AWI, however, fell by a relatively small amount, and policymakers chose not to do anything about it. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the decline in the AWI is likely to be about four times as big now as it was during the Great Recession.
There is ample precedent for fixing this problem. The first precedent concerns Social Security cost-of-living allowances . As mentioned above, payments in years after beneficiaries first year of retirement are indexed to inflation using a version of the consumer price index . However, under the law, if prices fall in any year, benefits are not adjusted downward rather, they remain the same. The second precedent concerns the Social Security contribution and benefit base, also known as the taxable maximum. The taxable maximum is the dollar amount of annual earnings above which the Social Security payroll tax does not apply. The taxable maximum is indexed to the AWIbut like COLAs, it is never adjusted downward.
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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
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The maximum Social Security retirement benefit that you can receive depends on the age when you begin collecting and your earnings history, among other factors. In 2022, the maximum is $3,345 per month for someone who files at full retirement age at age 66. But $4,194 is the absolute highest benefit for those who qualify and delay claiming until age 70.
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Working The Year You Reach Full Retirement Age
Things change the year you reach full retirement age. At this point, the amount you can earn before any benefits get withheld is $51,960, as of 2022. Further, benefits are reduced by just $1 for every $3 you earn above the earnings limit. For example, if youre earning $50,000 the year you reach full retirement age, you wont see any reduction in your benefits at all. But if you earn $60,960, your annual benefit will be reduced by $3,000. Note that this reduction ends in the month that you reach full retirement age.