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How Do I Sign Up For Social Security Benefits

Direct Deposit Is Now Required For Social Security Benefits

How To Apply For Social Security Benefits: What You Need To Know

If you are still receiving Social Security, VA, or other federal benefits by paper check you are out of compliance with the law.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury requires federal benefit payments to be made electronically through direct deposit to a bank or credit union account or to the Direct Express Debit Mastercard card. Continue reading below for help on how to sign up.

If you have just signed up to start Social Security, VA, or other federal benefits and need to sign up for Direct Deposit, continue reading below.

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If You Don’t Have All Of The Documents

Even if you don’t have everything, don’t delay applying for Social Security retirement benefits. You can provide the missing documents later. We may be able to help you get them.

In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you or find other ways to get the information we need.

If you delay signing up, you could lose some benefits you may be due.

Sign Up For Direct Express Debit Card

If you prefer to Direct Express rather than have an electronic payment into your bank account, you can call Direct Express at 800-333-1795.

The Direct Express card is a prepaid debit card offered to federal benefit recipients who receive their benefits electronically.

Each month, the Social Security Administration will deposit your monthly benefit payments to the card on the day you are scheduled to receive your benefits.

You can use the Direct Express card at any place that accepts MasterCard, just as you would a regular debit card.

Additionally, you can also use your Direct Express card to get cash.

You do not need to have a bank account to sign up for Direct Express.

Also, there is no credit check or minimum balance requirement and there is no monthly fee to use the card.

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How To Apply Online For Just Medicare

Are you within three months of turning age 65 or older and not ready to start your monthly Social Security benefits yet? You can use our online retirement application to sign up just for Medicare and wait to apply for your retirement or spouses benefits later. It takes less than 10 minutes, and there are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required.

To find out what documents and information you need to apply, go to the .

Do You Have A Security Freeze Or Fraud Alert On Your Credit Report

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If you have a security freeze, fraud alert, or both on your credit report, you can still open a personal mySocial Security account by temporarily lifting it. To do this, you must:

  • Contact our Identity Services Provider and request that they temporarily lift your security freeze or fraud alert.
  • Create a a personal mySocial Security account online after lifting the security freeze or fraud alert.
  • Reinstate the security freeze or fraud alert with the Identity Services Provider if needed. When you request a temporary lift of your credit freeze or fraud alert, the Identity Services Provider may automatically reinstate it after your temporary lift expires.
  • If you dont want to temporarily lift your security freeze or fraud alert, you can contact your local Social Security office for assistance. For more information on security freezes and fraud alerts, read the Federal Trade Commissions .

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    Beware The Social Security Earnings Test

    Bringing in too much money in earned income can cost you if you continue to work after claiming Social Security benefits early. With what is commonly known as the Social Security earnings test for annual income, you will forfeit $1 in benefits for every $2 you make over the earnings limit, which in 2022 is $19,560. Once you are past full retirement age, the earnings test no longer applies, and you can make as much money as you want with no impact on benefits.

    Any Social Security benefits forfeited to the earnings test are not lost forever. At your full retirement age, the Social Security Administration will recalculate your benefits to take into account benefits lost to the test. For example, if you claim benefits at 62 and over the next four years lose one full years worth of benefits to the earnings test, at a full retirement age of 66 your benefits will be recomputed and increased as if you had taken benefits three years early, instead of four. That basically means the lifetime reduction in benefits would be 20% rather than 25%.

    In Case Of Errors Or Questionsabout Your Card Account

    Call , Prepaid Ventures, LTD. at P.O. Box 307, New Hyde Park, NY11040 Customer Service at or telephone the numberon the back of your Card or the Prepaid Ventures, LTD. NexsCardFor Business website at or write to PrepaidVentures, LTD. NexsCard For Business Customer Service, PrepaidVentures, LTD. NexsCard For Business, at P.O. Box 307, New HydePark, NY 11040 as soon as you can, if you think an error hasoccurred in your Card Account.

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    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.

    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:

    Applying For Medicare Part A And Part B By Phone

    How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

    Just like applying online, applying for Medicare by phone is easy. You can contact a Medicare representative at your local Social Security office by calling 1-800-772-1213. This number will automatically connect you to a Medicare representative who can help you in the process of applying for Original Medicare.

    Depending on call volume, there might be a wait time. If the wait time is above average, you can schedule an appointment to have a representative call you.

    The only downfall with applying for Medicare by phone is that it can take longer than online. If youre ahead of the game and start well before your birthday, applying by phone shouldnt cause any issues.

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    To Qualify For Medicare You Need To Get Disability Benefits From:

    • Social Security
    • Railroad Retirement Board

    Youll automatically get Part A and Part B after you get disability benefits for 24 months. Well mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card.

    If you or your spouse worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772.

    If you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.

    If Youre Not Sure Why You Received A Payment

    If you receive a check or direct deposit payment from the Treasury Department and do not know what its for, contact the regional financial center that issued it. Only the agency that authorized the payment can explain why you received it.

    If you received a check, look for the RFCs city and state at the top center. Then contact that RFC to find out which federal agency authorized the payment. It will be one of these:

    If you received payment byelectronic funds transfer , or direct deposit, follow the directions under Find Information About a Payment.

    Use the Treasury Check Verification System to verify that the check is legitimate and issued by the government.

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    If You Work While Getting Social Security

    Yes, you can work full or part-time while also getting Social Security retirement benefits. However, if you have not yet reached your full retirement age, and if your net income from working is higher than the annual earnings limit, your annual benefits will be reduced. Beginning in the month you reach full retirement age, Social Security will stop reducing your benefits no matter how much you earn.

    During any full calendar year in which you are under full retirement age, Social Security deducts $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual net income limit. The income limit changes every year. In 2017, the income limit was $16,920.

    How And When To Apply For Social Security Benefits

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    Applying for Social Security benefits is the easy part. You can apply online, by telephone or by walking into your local Social Security office. The hard part is deciding when to apply for your Social Security retirement benefits and rounding up all the documents you’ll need when you do.

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    Introduction To Social Security Direct Deposit

    Social Security direct deposit is an efficient way for you to receive your program benefits each month. If you take advantage of this option, your retirement funds can be automatically deposited into your personal bank account, similar to a paycheck. The Social Security Administration offers this option for convenience. If you received your employment checks using this method, you may be more inclined to fill out a Social Security direct deposit form and collect your benefits with this method.

    You can decide how you want to receive Social Security benefits once you apply for enrollment. However, receiving Social Security via direct deposit is one of the most efficient ways to collect payment. Direct deposit is more secure than receiving paper checks. Furthermore, there are additional benefits you can receive if you sign up for Social Security direct deposit transfers.

    The Disability Application Process

    Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process follows these general steps:

    • You gather the information and documents you need to apply. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information and documents you need to complete the application.
    • You complete and submit your application.
    • We review your application to make sure you meet our for disability benefits.
    • We confirm you worked enough years to qualify.
    • We evaluate any current work activities.
    • We process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
    • This state agency makes the disability determination decision.

    To learn more about who decides if you have a disability, read our publication .

    Once You’ve Applied

    Processing time for disability applications vary depending on the nature of the disability, necessary medical evidence or examinations, and applicable quality reviews.

    Once we receive your application, well review it and contact you if we have questions. We might request additional documents from you before we can proceed.

    Look For Our Response

    When the state agency makes a determination on your case, youll receive a letter in the mail with our decision. It generally takes three to six months for an initial decision. If you included information about other family members when you applied, well let you know if they may be able to receive benefits on your record.

    Check The Status

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    Adding Funds To Your Card Account:

    You may add funds to your Card Account at any time. Some reload locations may have limits on the minimum amount you may load to your Card. Absent special approval, the maximum aggregate value of funds in your Card Account may not exceed $50,000 at any time. You agree to present the Card and meet identification requirements to complete value load transactions as may be required from time to time. Load locations may have their own load limits that may be less than our allowable amount. Load locations may also assess a fee to load funds to your Card Account. You cannot load your Card Account by check or money order. You may also direct deposit funds to your Card Account by providing our bank routing number and your assigned Account Number to your employer or other direct deposit payer .

    When Should You Sign Up For Medicare If You Are Still Working

    How do I sign up for Social Security benefits?

    You can sign up for Medicare Part A at age 65 even if youre still working and have insurance through your employer. You are allowed to delay signing up for Medicare Part B until you leave work. There is a special enrollment period, which lasts eight months, when you can sign up for Part B. Miss the special enrollment period, though, and youll have to pay a 10% penalty for each year you could have signed up but didnt.

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    Documents You May Need To Provide

    We may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:

    • A birth certificate or other proof of birth
    • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States
    • U.S. military discharge paper if you had military service before 1968
    • W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax returns for last year and
    • A death certificate for the deceased worker.


    We accept photocopies of W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns, but we must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate. We will return the documents to you.

    Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.

    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.

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    The Parts Of Medicare

    Social Security enrolls you in Original Medicare .

    • Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or limited time at a skilled nursing facility . Part A also pays for some home health care and hospice care.
    • Medicare Part B helps pay for services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services.

    Other parts of Medicare are run by private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare.

    • Supplemental policies help pay Medicare out-of-pocket copayments, coinsurance, and deductible expenses.
    • Medicare Advantage Plan includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B prescription drugs and additional benefits such as vision, hearing, and dental bundled together in one plan.
    • Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.

    Most people age 65 or older are eligible for free Medicare hospital insurance if they have worked and paid Medicare taxes long enough. You can sign up for Medicare medical insurance by paying a monthly premium. Some beneficiaries with higher incomes will pay a higher monthly Part B premium. To learn more, read .

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    • Your current coverage might not pay for health services if you dont have both Part A and Part B .
    • If you have Medicare due to a disability or ALS , youll already have Part A coverage.

    Avoid the penalty & gap in coverageIf you miss this 8-month Special Enrollment Period, youll have to wait to sign up and go months without coverage. You might also pay a monthly penalty until you turn 65. The penalty goes up the longer you wait to sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?

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    The Basics About Disability Benefits

    The SSDI program pays benefits to you and certain if you are insured. This means that you worked long enough and recently enough – and paid Social Security taxes on your earnings. The SSI program pays benefits to adults and children who meet our requirements for a qualifying disability and have limited income and resources.

    While these two programs are different, the medical requirements are the same. If you meet the nonmedical requirements, monthly benefits are paid if you have a medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death.

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