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How To Apply To Social Security Benefits

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How to Apply for Social Security Benefits


If you think you may be eligible for payments, you can apply for disability benefits online with the Social Security Administration.

If you think you may be eligible for payments, call the Social Security Administration at to file a claim or contact your local Social Security office.

In person+

If you think you may be eligible for payments, visit your local Social Security office. You should call first to make an appointment.

Social Security Benefits For A Divorced Spouse

Divorce is devastating not just emotionally but financially as well. If you are dependent on your partner for your finances, then the money sources might get very limited. But does a divorce affect your social security support as well?

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When And How To Apply For Social Security

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Social Security could be a significant part of your retirement plan. But it doesn’t kick in automatically. To start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits, you’ll need to figure out when you want them to start and then submit an application.

Learn how to apply for Social Security, according to the Social Security Administration website.

The Basics About Survivors Benefits

Apply for Benefits, Social Security

. If you are working and paying into Social Security, some of those taxes you pay are for survivors benefits. Your spouse, children, and parents could be eligible for benefits based on your earnings.

. You and your family could be eligible for benefits based on the earnings of a worker who died. The deceased person must have worked long enough to qualify for benefits.

For more information, please read .

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Working While Collecting Social Security Retirement

Many people choose or need, to keep working after claiming Social Security retirement benefits. However, if you continue work after claiming early retirement benefits your Social Security benefits may be reduced until you reach your full retirement age.

If you retire at age 62, Social Security will deduct money from your retirement check if you exceed a certain amount of earned income for the calendar year. For example, the income limit in 2018 was $17,040 or $1,420 per month. The income limit increases annually. Until you reach your full retirement age, Security will reduce your benefit by $1 for every $2 you earn over the income limit. Once you reach your full retirement age, you will receive your full Social Security retirement benefit with no limitation on how much income you earn from working.

The worse news is that Social Security does not apply the early retirement work penalty by simply deducting a small amount from each monthly benefit check. Instead, the agency may withhold several months entire checks until the total reduction is paid off. This means your annual budget will have to account for a certain number of months without a benefit check. Complete details on this decidedly complicated process can be found in Social Securitys pamphlet on How Work Affects Your Benefits. You can also use Social Securitys earnings test calculator to see how much your reduction will be and when your checks will be withheld.

How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits

More than 8 million Americans receive disability payments from the Social Security Administration, mostly through Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI.

To qualify for SSDI, you must be diagnosed with an injury or condition that prevents you from working for at least a year or is expected to result in death.

Another form of disability benefit is Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, which is funded by the Treasury Department and aimed at individuals whose financial resources are below specified limits.

Applicants for both programs need to present substantial evidence to support a disability claim and the process can take a considerable amount of time, usually involving an in-person or phone interview.

Here’s what you need to know to apply for Social Security disability benefits, including what is available and what conditions qualify.

For more on Social Security, find out when checks go out, how to access your benefits online and how retirement benefits are calculated.

Read Also: How To Sign Up For Medicare Benefits

Other Information Your Social Security Application May Ask For

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

Ways To Apply For Social Security Benefits

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

As far as the application process is concerned, you have a few options on how to go about it. Lets discover them below:

  • Fill out an online application via the Social Security website. This is probably the most common way of applying, as it is user-friendly with simple language.
  • Visit the Social Security company during working hours. In the United States, these hours are between 7 am and 7pm, Monday thru Friday. You will find that a face-to-face connection is very helpful in answering questions, assisting you in filling out the necessary paperwork, along with key advise if your application does not go through successfully.

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Tips For A Successful Retirement

  • Saving for retirement requires a strong financial plan and smart investing. A financial advisor help you on both fronts. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesnt have to be hard. SmartAssets free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If youre ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Dont forget to include Social Security payments in your retirement plans. They may not have a titanic impact on your finances in retirement, but they can line your pockets with some extra cash when you might need it. SmartAssets Social Security calculator can help you get an idea of your future benefits.
  • If you are thinking about where to retire, SmartAssets retirement tax-friendliness tool can help you figure out how your Social Security benefits, property taxes, and retirement account and pension withdrawals will be taxed in each state.

How And When To Apply For Social Security Benefits

  • B.S., Texas A& M University

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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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.

Work Information Youll Need When Applying For Social Security

How to Apply for Social Security: A Step

What you do for a living may have an impact on your benefits, so youll need to supply the SSA with some employment information as well. This includes the name and address of your employer for both this year and last year.

Youll also need to know how much money you earned this year, last year and potentially next year. Youll need an estimate of next years income if youre applying in September, October, November or December.

Similar to the above section, you should also indicate on your application if any of these conditions apply to you:

  • Youve been unable to work because of injury, illness or another condition at any point within the past 14 months.
  • Youve qualified for a pension or an annuity from a federal or state government employer.
  • You or your spouse have ever worked for the railroad industry in any capacity
  • Youve earned any Social Security credit under the social security system of another country

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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 Receive Federal Benefits

To begin receiving your federal benefits, like Social Security or veterans benefits, you must sign up for electronic payments with direct deposit.

If You Have a Bank or Credit Union Account:

  • Call the Go Direct Helpline at .

If You Don’t have a Bank or Credit Union Account:

Make Changes to an Existing Direct Deposit Account:

On Go Direct’s FAQ page, learn how to make changes to an existing direct deposit account. You also may contact the federal agency that pays your benefit for help with your enrollment.

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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.

Social Security: How Does The Cola Increase Get Applied To Spousal Benefits

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

The much higher Social Security payments that go into effect in 2023 dont only benefit retired workers they also benefit spouses of those workers.

The Social Security Administration announced last week that the 2023 cost-of-living adjustment will be 8.7% the biggest bump in 41 years. The average benefit for retired workers will rise by more than $140 a month next year vs. this year, but the average benefit for spouses will increase even more than that. The COLA increase for everyone, including spouses, will be applied according to the same formula.

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In case you need a quick primer on spousal benefits, the SSA says that when a worker files for retirement benefits, the workers spouse might be eligible for a benefit based on the workers earnings. To get the benefits, the spouse must be at least 62 years old or have a qualifying child in their care. A qualifying child is one who is under age 16 or who receives Social Security disability benefits.

The spousal benefit can be as much as half of the workers primary insurance amount, depending on the spouses age at retirement. If the spouse begins receiving benefits before full retirement age, the spouse will receive a reduced benefit. However, if a spouse is caring for a qualifying child, the spousal benefit is not reduced. Waiting longer to receive benefits will typically boost your payment amount.

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Are There Any Attachments I Need To Add To My Social Security Application

There are a few attachments you will need to have in addition to your application, and these will be important to expedite and increase your chances of the most favorable outcome when applying for Social Security Benefits. Below we will outline the necessary attachments for your convince:

  • Original Birth Certificate, or any other proof of birth from the agency that issued documentation
  • United States Citizenship, or documentation proving you are legally here in the United States
  • W-2 forms, proving that you are a self-employed worker in the United States, and dated the previous year end
  • United States Military Service Paperwork, if you were in the US military and received a certificate of release from active duty

What Are The Social Security Disability Benefits Programs

There are two programs available to provide payments to people who become disabled . It’s possible to qualify for one or both, depending on which criteria is met.

Social Security Disability Insurance

The SSDI program pays benefits for people who are disabled and have paid Social Security taxes over the years via their work or self-employment. Benefits begin six months or later after the last day of work. The amount paid depends on the person’s work history and how much they have paid into Social Security. Financial need is not a consideration.

To qualify, the person must:

  • Have a condition that prevents them from working for one year or more, or that is expected to end in death
  • Have worked long enough and earned enough credits in jobs covered by Social Security

Supplemental Security Income

SSI is based on income and need. To qualify, the person must:

  • Be age 65 or older, blind, or disabled
  • Have very limited income
  • Have very limited resources
  • Be a U.S. citizen or national, or be in an approved category of person who is not a U.S. citizen or national
  • Be a resident of the United States who is not out of the country for 30 or more consecutive days

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Social Security Disability Programs

In addition to retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration manages two programs that provide benefits to people who are disabled or blind.

Social Security Disability Insurance Program
SSDI supports disabled or blind individuals by providing benefits based on their workers contributions to the Social Security trust fund. Your contributions are based on your earnings or your spouses or parents earnings while in the workforce. Your dependents may also be eligible for SSDI benefits based on your earnings.
Supplemental Security Income Program
SSI benefits are paid out as cash assistance to people with limited incomes and resources who are elderly, blind or disabled. These benefits may also include blind or disabled children. SSI payments are a federal benefit funded by the general fund of the United States not the Social Security trust fund. Some states provide additional state supplemental benefits in addition to the federal SSI payments.

In some cases, people may be eligible for both SSI and SSDI at the same time. The Social Security Administration calls these concurrent benefits. This can happen when a disability qualifies you for Social Security Disability Benefits, but you only get a small amount of monthly SSDI benefits. This may qualify you to receive SSI benefits as well.

Comparing SSDI and SSI Programs

Up to 85%

Income Taxes for Other Benefit Programs

What Is The Future Of Social Security

Apply for Benefits, Social Security

Social Security is expected to run out of cash reserves in 2034, according to the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the retirement benefits account managed by the Social Security Administration.

However, this doesnt mean the program would be bankrupt and unable to pay out benefits. If Congress does nothing to reform the system by 2034, Social Security would still be able to pay 79 percent of promised benefits until 2090.

Social Security has run out of cash reserves before. Congress reformed the program in the 1980s by taxing benefits based on income levels and by gradually increasing the full retirement age from 65 to 67.

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