What If I Take Benefits Early
If you choose to take your own Social Security benefit before your full retirement age, be aware that the benefit is permanently reduced by five-ninths of 1% for each month. If you start more than 36 months before your full retirement age, the worker benefit is further reduced by five-twelfths of 1% per month for the rest of retirement.
For example, let’s assume you stop working at age 62. If your full retirement age is 67 and you elect to start benefits at age 62, the reduced benefit calculation is based on 60 months. So, the reduction for the first 36 months is 20% and then another 10% for the remaining 24 months. Overall, your benefits would be permanently reduced by 30%.
How Do You Become Eligible For Social Security Benefits
To be eligible for Social Security benefits in retirement, you must earn at least 40 “credits” throughout your career. You can earn up to four credits each year, so it takes 10 years of work to qualify for Social Security.
In 2022, you must earn $1,510 to get one Social Security work credit and $6,040 to get the maximum four credits for the year. And yes, that means that it is possible to have money withheld for Social Security and never get it back. The minimum is the minimum.
How Long Does It Take For Expedited Claims
The SSA has two general criteria for pushing an application through faster. The first is that the disability is classified as terminal. Terminal means that it will significantly shorten a persons life. An example of a terminal disability may be cancer.
The second criteria for being fast-tracked is that the condition is on the Compassionate Allowance List . People with a condition on CAL always meet the SSAs definition of disabled and are often approved. If youre eligible for an expedited claim, you may be approved as little as 30 days.
Also Check: Social Security Disability Spousal Benefits
How Much Will Social Security Benefits Increase In 2023
The Social Security Administration won’t disclose next year’s cost of living adjustment until October, but many experts expect an even larger increase than in 2022.
According to the Senior Citizens League, if inflation remains constant, the COLA could be around 9.6%, or roughly $160 more a month per check. If inflation crept back up, the league predicted, benefits could increase by as much as 10.1%. If it cools down, though, the adjustment would be closer to 9.3%. We won’t find out the CPI for August until Sept. 13 and September’s rate isn’t announced until Oct. 13.
In June, the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated Social Security would add as much as 10.8% to account for inflation, or between $130 and $180 a month more for the nearly 70 million Americans on Social Security.
In July, Marc Goldwein, senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, tweeted that if inflation remained on its then-current trajectory, the increase would be 11.4%, even higher than the record set in 1981, when benefits rose 11.2%. Inflation has cooled somewhat since Goldwein’s prognostication, though consumer prices are still high.
If inflation doesn’t increase at all through the start of fiscal 2023 in October, Josh Gordon, CRFB’s director of health policy, predicts a COLA increase of about 8.9%. If prices continue to tick up, though, he expects an increase of 9.9%.
The measure hasn’t moved forward since it was introduced in June, however.
What We Will Ask You
If the worker is deceased, we will also ask you:
- The workers date of birth and his or her name at birth
- The workers date of death and the place of death
- The State or foreign country of the workers fixed permanent residence at the time of death
- Whether the worker was unable to work because of illnesses, injuries or conditions at any time during the 14 months before his or her death.
- Whether the worker was in the active military service before 1968 or ever worked for the railroad industry.
- Whether the worker earned Social Security credits under another countrys Social Security system
- Whether the worker was employed or self-employed in all years from 1978 through last year
- How much the worker earned in the year of death and the year before death
- Whether the worker ever filed for Social Security benefits, Medicare or Supplemental Security Income. and
- Whether each child was living with the worker at the time of death.
Depending on the information you provide, we may need to ask other questions.
You also should have with you your checkbook or other papers that show your account number at a bank, credit union or other financial institution so you can sign up for Direct Deposit, and avoid worries about lost or stolen checks and mail delays.
You Can Claim Social Security Benefits Earned By Your Ex
The end of a marriage doesnt spell the end of being able to get get a Social Security benefit based on your former spouses earnings. You can still receive a benefit based on his or her record instead of a benefit based on your own work record, so long as you were married at least 10 years, you are 62 or older, and you are currently unmarried. And guess what: If you’ve made multiple trips to the altar, you can pick which spouse’s benefits you want to claim, based on what’s most beneficial to you.
Like a regular spousal benefit, you can get up to 50% of an ex-spouses benefit less if you claim before full retirement age. And the beauty of it is that your ex never needs to know because you apply for the benefit directly through the Social Security Administration. Taking a benefit on your ex-spouses record has no effect on his or her benefit or the benefit of your exs new spouse. And unlike a regular spousal benefit, if your ex qualifies for benefits but has yet to apply, you can still start collecting Social Security based on the exs record, though you must have been divorced for at least two years.
Note: Ex-spouses can also take a survivor benefit if their ex died after the divorce, and, like any survivor benefit, it will be worth up to 100% of what the ex-spouse received. If you remarry after age 60, you are still eligible for the survivor benefit.
How Long Does It Take To Process Social Security Retirement Benefits
If you are considering retiring from the workforce in the near future, one of the most important things you’ll need to know is how long it will take for you to start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits after you apply for them. While it generally takes approximately six weeks for an application to be processed, it is advisable for you to initiate the process three months before you want to receive your first benefit payment.
It usually takes around six weeks to process your Social Security application for retirement benefits, but applying a few months before you need your payments is recommended.
Your May Have To Pay Taxes On Social Security Benefits
Most people know that Social Security is funded by a tax on earnings, currently 6.2% for the employee . But some retirees dont realize that you may well have to pay income tax on Social Security benefits when it comes time to claim them. Benefits lost their tax-free status in 1984, and the income thresholds for triggering tax on benefits havent been increased since then.
It doesnt take a lot of income for your Social Security benefits to be taxed. Your benefits wont be taxed if your provisional income is less than $25,000 if youre single or $32,000 if youre married. If youre single and your provisional income is between $25,000 and $34,000, or married filing jointly with provisional income between $32,000 and $44,000, up to 50% of your Social Security benefits may be taxable. If your provisional income is more than $34,000 on a single return or $44,000 on a joint return, up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable.
The Social Security Administration says about 40% of beneficiaries pay taxes on their benefits. Since the thresholds arent adjusted for inflation, the number of beneficiaries who pay taxes on Social Security benefits increases every year. The Social Security Trustees annual report estimates that taxes on Social Security will total $45.1 billion in 2022, up from $34.5 billion in 2021.
You may also have to pay state income taxes on your Social Security benefits. See our list of the 12 States That Tax Social Security Benefits.
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.
How To Apply For A Newborns Social Security Number
To apply for your childs Social Security number you must complete a birth registration form. When completing this form, you must check a box to request a number for your child. It is also necessary to provide the parents Social Security numbers.
You may be wondering where do you get the birth registration form. Most hospitals will distribute the birth registration form after a child has born and while the mother is still a patient. If the birth did not occur at a hospital or for some reason the birth registration form was not completed, new parents can visit a local Social Security Administration office and request the number in person. If this were the case, you need to do the following:
- Fill out the Form SS-5 and provide the parents Social Security numbers
- Provide at least two documents that prove your childs age, identity, and citizenship status. One of these documents should be your childs birth certificate, and the second document can be a medical record or the hospitals birth record.
- Present proof of your own identity, you may present your drivers license or passport.
After you have submitted the application at the SSA office, your childs Social Security card should be delivered between 6 to 12 weeks. If your child is older than one-year, it can take a lot longer to process your application. This is because the SSA will contact your states department of vital statistics to verify the validity of the birth certificate provided on the application.
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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Seeking Help With Your Case
When you try to prove your qualifications on your own, knowing how much information is necessary and the best documentation to submit can be difficult. If you have an SSI lawyer or someone else familiar with the application and approval process look at your application, you can improve your chances of approval.
Still, it is common for well-qualified applicants to receive a denial of their initial SSI claim. Some of our clients come to us about their disability benefits claim after they receive a letter of denial. When this happens, we immediately begin taking our clients through the disability appeals process to get them the benefits they deserve.
Of course, this appeals process takes time. This means it could be months where you have no income whatsoever.
Inside The Social Security Disability Claim Review Approval Process
Getting the SSA to approve your SSD benefits claim is a lengthy process full of questions. What goes on behind the scenes during the Social Security disability claims approval process? How many people handle one application? How does the agency investigate a persons work history and confirm his or her medical condition? These are common questions many who are thinking about applying for SSD benefits ask themselves and their attorneys. Most people dont have an inside look at the claims approval process and may not realize a lot of work goes into examining each application.
The SSA has revised its disability approval process numerous times to make it more efficient and user-friendly to ensure all eligible applicants receive their needed payments. Understanding the internal process can help applicants gain a better picture of the SSD application timeline. Here are the basics of the process:
1. Application Handed Over to the State Disability Agency and a Disability Examiner
According to Tim Moore, a former disability examiner for the SSA, the first step in the long claims approval process is to send your Social Security disability benefits application to a state disability agency, which is also called Disability Determination Services .
2. Examiner Contacts Medical Personnel and Past Employers
3. Specialist May Ask You to Complete Daily Living Questionnaire
4. Examiner Makes Initial Claim Determination
5. Application Goes to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
What Are The Financial Eligibility Rules For Ssi Disability
- Have a monthly income below $2,260 if youre blind and $1,350 if you have another disability. Couples must have less than $2,607, combined. Alimony, child support, alimony, SNAP earned interest, TANF, etc., all count towards this amount.
- Own total assets under $2,000 . Cash in your bank accounts and items you could sell, like stocks and bonds, lottery tickets, etc., count toward this total. The car and home you own, daily living items and wedding rings arent included.
You Can Undo A Social Security Benefits Claiming Decision
There arent many times in life you can take a mulligan. But Social Security offers you the chance for a do-over. Lets say you claimed your benefit, but now regret the decision and wish you had waited. During the first 12 months of claiming benefits, you can withdraw your application. You will have to repay all of the benefits youve received, along with any spousal benefits, but when you restart benefits, youll receive a larger amount, just as you would have if you had delayed filing in the first place.
If it has been more than 12 months since you filed for Social Security, you cant withdraw your application and restart benefits at a later date. But early retirees who have returned to the workforce are not totally out of luck: Once you reach full retirement age, you can suspend benefits until age 70. This will enable you to earn delayed-retirement credits of 8% a year . This can add up to tens of thousands of dollars for many people, says William Meyer, chief executive of Social Security Solutions.
Recommended Reading: How To Apply For Social Security Retirement Benefits
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%.
What Are The Steps To Get Approved For Social Security
The actual steps to get approved for Social Security are fairly straightforward. According to the Social Security Administration, heres what youll need to do:
Gather the information and documents you need to apply.
Complete and submit your application, typically online.
They will review your application and contact you if they need more information.
They will mail you a decision letter.
You start receiving your retirement benefits.
The specifics regarding your application are slightly more involved. Heres the information youll need to know.
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