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How To Apply Social Security Benefits

Can You Still Work While Receiving Social Security

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

You can continue to work while you receive Social Security benefits. But there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full benefits. The earning limit may be adjusted each year.

If you earn above the limit, Social Security will deduct a certain amount of your benefits each year.

Social Security Benefits, Earning Limits and Penalties

SSA deducts $1 from your benefits for every $3 you earn above the limit

Social Security Child’s Insurance Payment Schedule

If your child is eligible and can start receiving benefits, the payment schedule will follow yours. Note that you’ll receive the payments separately but on the same day to help differentiate the benefits.

  • If you started receiving Social Security benefits before May 1997, or if you receive both Social Security and SSI, their Social Security payment will arrive on the third day of each month.
  • If your birthday falls between the 1st and 10th of the month, their payment will be sent out on the second Wednesday of the month.
  • If your birthday falls between the 11th and 20th of the month, their payment will be sent out on the third Wednesday of the month.
  • If your birthday falls between the 21st and 31st of the month, their payment will be sent out on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Here’s the full Social Security payment schedule. For more, use our ultimate Social Security cheat sheet as a guide to your benefits.

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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: Social Security Lawyers For Survivors Benefits

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved For Social Security

Its important that you plan for when you want your benefits to start. They are not turned on like a water faucet. If youre claiming Social Security retirement benefits, plan on at least six weeks for your application to be processed. However, if your application has incorrect information or the agency is backlogged, it could take up to three months before benefits begin, warns AARP. However, you cannot apply for benefits more than four months before you want them to begin, according to the Social Security Administration.

So its a good idea to start the application at least three months before you want your benefits to start. Otherwise, you may end up with a deficit in your finances during the transition period.

Your Options: Working Applying For Retirement Benefits Or Both

Apply for Benefits, Social Security

Choosing when to start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits is an important decision. Theres no one choice that works for everyone because your lifestyle, finances, and goals are not the same as others.

Do you want to retire early, stay on the job, or work beyond retirement age?

Should you start receiving retirement benefits now, or wait until you can receive a higher benefit amount?

These are important questions youll need to answer as you plan for your retirement. Consider the four options below to help you make the best decision.

Continue Working

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Social Security Benefits For Children: Who Is Eligible And How To Apply

Your child could be eligible to receive a portion of your full Social Security benefit amount. Here’s how to find out.

Katie Teague


Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.

If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance or are eligible to receive retirement benefits and have kids, it’s possible your children could also qualify for benefits. These are called Social Security Child’s Insurance Benefits, which the Social Security Administration disburses to children as long as one parent is entitled to receive benefits.

This is to “help to stabilize the family’s financial future,” the SSA says. The Social Security money for children is also designed to help provide necessities to kids while they’re still enrolled in school.

We’ll explain how to find out if your child is eligible to receive Social Security benefits and how much they could get. We’ll also tell you the payment schedule. For more, here’s why Supplemental Security Income recipients are getting their COLA increase in December.

How To Apply For Social Security

You can apply for Social Security benefits through the Social Security website, ssa.gov. You’ll find separate applications for each Social Security benefit, including retirement, spouse’s, disability and Medicare.

You also can call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or visit a local office. Scheduling an appointment before going into the office might be worthwhile to minimize the time you spend waiting. The busiest times are typically Mondays, the morning after a federal holiday and the first week of the month, according to the Social Security Administration.

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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

How To Get A Social Security Card

How To Apply For Social Security Benefits: What You Need To Know
  • Gather your documents. Learn what documents you’ll need to get a card. Select your situation:
  • Original, replacement, or corrected card
  • U.S. born citizen, foreign-born U.S. citizen, or noncitizen
  • Apply online for a replacement card. Apply online if youre not changing anything on your card and you are eligible. This option is available in most states. You will need to make a my Social Security account first. Or complete an application. If you can not apply online, fill out an application and return it to the SSA. Find out where to take it in person or mail it.
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    How To Apply For Disability

    People who cant work because of a medical condition thats expected to last at least a year or result in death are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits as long as theyve worked long enough, SSA says. Once a disability begins, a worker must wait five months before receiving benefits.

    You can apply for benefits online or by calling 800-772-1213. SSA will send your application to a state agency that makes the decision based on information provided by your doctors. Seventy percent of applicants are denied in their initial application, according to Disability Benefits Help, a group that provides information to applicants and those rejected.

    Understanding your statement:What your Social Security benefits statement tells you, and what it doesn’t

    But denials can be appealed and the success rate for appeals is much higher, according to Disability Benefits Help. Many people hire lawyers to help with their appeals.

    People with disabilities can also receive benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program, which is based on financial need.

    Contributing: Robert Powell and Elisabeth Buchwald

    What You’ll Need To Apply For Social Security

    To apply for Social Security retirement benefits, you’ll need to be prepared with information about yourself and your work history.

    Some items on the list of personal information resemble what you’d use to fill out a job or loan application, but there’s also certain information you’ll need to compile.

    • About you: Your date and place of birth and Social Security number your citizenship status your original birth certificate or other proof of birth and proof of U.S. citizenship or authorization to work in the U.S.

    • About your current and/or former spouse: Names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth or ages, dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death .

    • About your children: Names of any unmarried children under 18, or under 19 and in elementary, middle or high school, or children with disabilities that started before age 22.

    • Previous Social Security applications: If you or someone else filed for Social Security benefits, Medicare or Supplemental Security Income on your behalf, you’ll need to provide additional information.

    • Where benefits should be directed: Routing and account information for your bank or other financial institution.

    • When benefits begin: You’ll need to indicate which month you want your retirement benefits to kick in. Also, if you’re within three months of turning 65, you’ll need to indicate whether you wish to enroll in Medicare Part B to get medical insurance coverage.

    About the author:Taryn Phaneuf is a writer at NerdWallet.Read more

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    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.

    Other Information Your Social Security Application May Ask For

    How to Apply Online For Social Security Retirement Benefits ...

    If youre married, youll also need to provide your spouses name, Social Security number , date of birth and age. Youll also need to have the date and place of marriage, and this goes for any former spouses as well. For logistical purposes, youll want to indicate what month you want your benefits to begin, and youll need to provide your banks routing number and your account number.

    As part of your application, you can also indicate if you would like to enroll in Medicare Part B, but youll have to be eligible.

    You should also note in your application if:

    • You have any unmarried children under the age of 18 or disabled children under the age of 22.
    • Youve ever filed for Social Security benefits, Medicare or Supplemental Security Income on your behalf
    • Youve ever used a different SSN

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    What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability Insurance

    There is no set list of approved disabilities, but the Social Security Blue Book, also known as Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, is an online directory of physical and mental health conditions that automatically qualify if you meet the stringent requirements for diagnosis. For adults, they are broadly split into 14 categories.

    • Blood disorders like sickle cell anemia, thrombosis and hemophilia
    • Cancer, including Leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, breast cancer and prostate cancer
    • Cardiovascular illnesses, such as congenital heart disease and heart failure
    • Cognitive andmental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, dementia, depression and intellectual disabilities
    • Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems, such as non-mosaic Down syndrome
    • Digestive system illnesses, such as bowel or liver disease
    • Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia
    • Genitourinary disorders like chronic kidney disease
    • Immune system diseases like HIV, inflammatory arthritis and lupus
    • Musculoskeletal issues that are congenital or acquired, such as spinal disorders or amputations
    • Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injuries
    • Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • Special sense and speech disorders, such as impaired hearing, sight and speech
    • Skin disorders, such as burns, dermatitis and ichthyosis

    Social Security Benefits For Surviving Spouses

    If your spouse was receiving Social Security benefits upon their death, you must report the death as soon as possible. You can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays or visit your local Social Security office in person.

    You are eligible for a one-time, lump-sum death benefit of $255 from Social Security if:

    • You were receiving benefits on your spouses record at the time of death, or
    • If you were living in the same household as your spouse at the time of death.

    Any benefits received in the name of your spouse during the month of death or later must be returned to the Social Security Administration as soon as possible.

    If your spouse worked long enough under Social Security, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits. You must be age 60 or older or disabled and 50 or older to qualify.

    How much youll receive depends on the percentage of your spouses benefit as well as your age and the type of benefit youre eligible for.

    You must apply for survivor benefits in person. You can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment.

    Calculate Your Life Expectancy

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    If You’re 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.

    When To Get Started With Your Application

    How to Apply for Social Security Benefits and when You Get Paid.

    Keep in mind that even if you are working on getting all the documents you need for your application, you can still begin the application process. The timing of the application can have an impact on how much you receive in benefits. For example, waiting until the full retirement age to apply will allow you to receive full benefits. Filing before this age can lead to a decrease in your monthly payment amount.

    If your full retirement age is 67, but you choose to receive benefits starting at 62, you could receive up to 30% less in monthly payments. Those who wait will receive larger payments and that amount will grow until you reach the age of 70.

    However, remember that starting the process to get retirement benefits doesnt mean they will come immediately. Its recommended that you apply for benefits no later than two months before you want to start getting payments. All SSA retirement benefits are set up to be paid for the month prior. So, someone who applies in March might start getting benefits in April but wont be paid the amount until May.

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    Do You Need A Lawyer To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits

    The short answer is no youre not required to retain an attorney to assist you with your application for Social Security Disability. However, there are some good reasons you may want to consider working with an attorney from the beginning:

    • An experienced Social Security Disability attorney will know exactly how to assemble your application and documentation to ensure that the process isnt held up by technical errors or omissions.
    • Most initial applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied, requiring the claimant to appeal before actually receiving benefits. An attorney who has worked with you from the initial application will be in the best position to assist you as the process becomes increasingly complicated.
    • If youre adapting to a new or worsening medical condition that has rendered you unable to work, you dont need the added stress of managing the details of the application and appeals process. When you leave that in the hands of an experienced professional, you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family.

    Perhaps the best reason to consider working with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney is this: statistics show that claimants who have legal representation at Social Security Disability appeals hearings are significantly more likely to be approved. Why not give yourself the best possible chance?

    Is My Child Eligible For Benefits

    To qualify for Social Security Child’s Insurance Benefits, you and your child must meet certain requirements. As a parent, you must have worked and earned enough Social Security credits , and you must also be eligible to receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Children can also receive benefits if they have a deceased parent.

    For a child to qualify for benefits, they must be unmarried, dependent on the parent and must meet at least one of the following criteria.

    • They’re under age 18.

    You can check your child’s eligibility by using the Social Security Administration’s screening tool.

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