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How To Qualify For Social Security Retirement Benefits

Why Did I Get Two Social Security Checks This Month

ð´Can I Apply For Social Security Retirement Benefits In Advance of Age 62

If youre owed back payments, you could get two checks, according to GOBankingRates, a personal finance website. Also, if you receive either retirement or disability benefits, as well as Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, because your income is below certain thresholds, you also could receive two payments.

Social Security Disability Benefits Faq

Social Security benefits are most commonly used to help retirees cover expenses. But the Social Security Administration also has disability benefits available to those who meet certain strict requirements.

In this context, a disabled person is someone who is medically unable to work for at least a year or has been diagnosed with a medical condition that will result in death. To qualify for disability payments, youll need to have worked for a specified period of time before being declared disabled. A medical provider will also have to certify that your disability exists.

Lets go over some of the most commonly asked questions about Social Security disability benefits.

Special Rules For People Who Are Blind Or Have Low Vision

We consider you to be legally blind under Social Security rules if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye. We will also consider you legally blind if your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with a corrective lens. Many people who meet the legal definition of blindness still have some sight and may be able to read large print and get around without a cane or a guide dog.

If you do not meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits. This may be the case if your vision problems alone or combined with other health problems prevent you from working.

There are several special rules for people who are blind that recognize the severe impact of blindness on a person’s ability to work. For example, the monthly earnings limit for people who are blind is generally higher than the limit that applies to non-blind workers with disabilities.

In 2022, the monthly earnings limit is $2,260.

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To Wait Or Not To Wait

Consider taking benefits earlier if . . .

  • You are no longer working and can’t make ends meet without your benefits.
  • You are in poor health and don’t expect the surviving member of the household to make it to average life expectancy.
  • You are the lower-earning spouse, and your higher-earning spouse can wait to file for a higher benefit.

Consider waiting to take benefits if . . .

  • You are still working and make enough to impact the taxability of your benefits.
  • Either you or your spouse are in good health and expect to exceed average life expectancy.
  • You are the higher-earning spouse and want to be sure your surviving spouse receives the highest possible benefit.

When A Spouse Dies The Widow Will Receive Both Your And Your Spouses Benefits

What You Need to Know About Social Security and Retirement Benefits

This one is also false. The survivor benefit you were entitled to receive is the greater of the two, but not the combination of the two. While this preserves the greater of the two Social Security benefits, survivors may lose an important part of their income stream when their spouse dies. As a result, it may make sense to plan and create an additional pool of money to protect the surviving spouse from that loss of income.

Below are answers to questions commonly asked.

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Social Security Retirement Benefit Basics

Social Security was originally intended to provide older Americans with continuing income after retirement. Today, though the scope of Social Security has been widened to include survivor, disability, and other benefits, retirement benefits are still the cornerstone of the program.

How Do You Qualify for Retirement Benefits?

When you work and pay Social Security taxes , you earn Social Security credits. You can earn up to four credits each year. You generally need 40 credits to be eligible for retirement benefits.

How Much Will Your Retirement Benefit Be?

Your retirement benefit is based on your average earnings over your working career. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits, so if you have some years of no earnings or low earnings, your benefit amount may be lower than if you had worked steadily. Your age at the time you start receiving benefits also affects your benefit amount. Although you can retire early at age 62, the longer you wait to retire , the higher your retirement benefit.

Retiring at Full Retirement Age

Your full retirement age depends on the year in which you were born.

Tip: If you were born on January 1 of any year, refer to the previous year to determine your full retirement age.

If you retire at full retirement age, youll receive an unreduced retirement benefit.

Retiring Early Will Reduce Your Benefit

Thats because even though youll receive less per month, you might receive benefits over a longer period of time.

How Does Social Security Disability Affect Retirement Benefits

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Whether retirement is only a few years away or youre a younger disabled worker planning for the future, understanding the impacts of receiving Social Security Disability Insurance is important. Find out what you need to know about disability and retirement, plus tips for managing your benefits, from the Social Security disability lawyers at SSDA USA.

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Benefits For Widows Or Widowers With Disabilities

If something happens to a worker, benefits may be payable to their widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse with a disability if the following conditions are met:

  • The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse is between ages 50 and 60.
  • The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse has a medical condition that meets our definition of disability for adults and the disability started before or within seven years of the worker’s death.

Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivors benefits. If they want to apply for these benefits, they should contact Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment

To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.

We use the same definition of disability for widows and widowers as we do for workers.

How Do I Apply For Retirement Benefits

Applying Online for Social Security Retirement Benefits

To apply for retirement benefits, please visit www.ssa.gov/retire. In order to be eligible for retirement benefits, you must have enough credits have paid into Social Security and be fully insured under the Social Security system. The amount you receive depends on how much you earned when you were working. You can also delay applying for Social Security retirement. If you do so, your extra income may increase your benefit amount, and you will receive a credit. To find out more, please call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.

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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.

Can I Collect My Retirementbenefits Early

You can start collecting Social Security as early as age 62 but theres a catch. If you collect before you reach your full retirement age , youll receive a lower monthly payment permanently. For example, if your FRA is 67, but you begin to claim benefits at 62, youre signing up to get 30% less. However, this reduction will decrease for each month you wait after age 62, up until your FRA. Think of your FRA as your break-even point.

Age to receive full Social Security benefits2

Year born

65 + 2 months for every year after 1937

1943-1954

66 + 2 months for every year after 1954

1960 +

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How Much Do Children Receive In Social Security Benefits

A child may receive a Social Security benefit equal to 50% of the parents full retirement benefit or disability benefit. If the parent is deceased, the child is eligible to receive up to 75% of the parents full retirement benefit.

There is a limit to the total amount that a family can receive from Social Security based on one worker’s earnings record, though. The maximum family benefit typically ranges from 150% to 180% of the parent’s full benefit amount. The formula for maximum family benefits is based on a retired parent’s work record. If the parent is disabled, a different formula applies.

Eligible Family Members Include:

How to apply for Social Security Retirement Benefits
  • 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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When Should You Apply For Social Security Benefits

You can apply for Social Security benefits starting from age 62. However, the benefits you receive will be 30% less than what you will receive if you delay taking benefits until your full retirement age.

If you wait until the full retirement age, you will receive the full benefit from Social Security. Typically, the full retirement age ranges from age 66 to 67 depending on your year of birth. If you delay taking Social Security until age 70, your monthly benefits will increase every year until you reach age 70.

When deciding when to collect Social Security benefits, you should consider your individual circumstances, life expectancy, when you plan to retire, and what other income streams you have to supplement your Social Security benefits.

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Social Security Entitlement Requirements

Many people who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income may also be entitled to receive Social Security benefits. In fact, the application for SSI benefits is also an application for Social Security benefits. We often need to obtain additional information from the person before we can award Social Security benefits.

The following sections provide information on who may be entitled to Social Security benefits.

TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS AS A WORKER YOU MUST BE:

    Age 62 or older, or disabled or blind and

    “Insured” by having enough work credits.

For applications filed December 1, 1996, or later, you must either be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present alien in order to receive monthly Social Security benefits.

HOW MUCH WORK DO YOU NEED TO BE”INSURED”?

We measure work in “work credits”. You can earn up to four work credits per year based on your annual earnings. The amount of earnings required for a work credit increases each year as general wage levels rise.

To be eligible for most types of benefits , you must have earned an average of one work credit for each calendar year between age 21 and the year in which you reach age 62 or become disabled or blind, up to a maximum of 40 credits. A minimum of six work credits is required, regardless of age.

The rules are as follows:

Born After 1929
40

WHO CAN RECEIVE BENEFITS ON YOUR EARNINGS RECORD?

If you are receiving retirement or disability benefits, your spouse may qualify if he or she is:

Back

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Earn Enough Work Credits

First, you must earn enough work credits to get Social Security eligibility. You earn work credits during your working years while paying Social Security taxes. You need at least 40 work credits to qualify for Social Security benefits. Rememberhow Social Security works you pay taxes into the system while working and then receive benefits from the system upon your retirement.

You can earn up to four credits each year, so you will generally need at least ten years of work to be eligible for benefits. To earn one credit, you will need to earn $1,510 in covered earnings in 2022. This means that you must pay Social Security taxes on those earnings. You should know that the amount it takes to earn one credit generally increases each year. So, in 2022, it would require $6,040 in earnings to get all four credits. You might earn this much in a month or two, and that would give you all four credits for the year. If you are self-employed, you will want to make sure that you are properly paying your Social Security taxes. Failure to pay your taxes will mean that you are not earning work credits and you will not have Social Security benefit eligibility when the time comes.

Forty work credits is the minimum number required to be eligible for benefits, but earning more credits than this will not increase your benefit amount. Your monthly payments are based on your earnings record and retirement age, not the number of credits that you have earned.

Delaying Retirement Will Increase Your Benefit

When You Should Apply for Social Security to Maximize Your Benefits!

For each month that you delay receiving Social Security retirement benefits past your full retirement age, your benefit will increase by a certain percentage. This percentage varies depending on your year of birth. For example, if you were born in 1943 or later, your benefit will increase 8 percent for each year that you delay receiving benefits, up until age 70. In addition, working past your full retirement age has another benefit: It allows you to add years of earnings to your Social Security record. As a result, you may receive a higher benefit when you do retire, especially if your earnings are higher than in previous years.

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Can You Do Any Other Type Of Work

If you cant do the work you did in the past, we look to see if there is other work you could do despite your medical impairment.

We consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If you cant do other work, well decide you qualify for disability benefits. If you can do other work, well decide that you dont have a qualifying disability and your claim will be denied.

How We Deduct Earnings From Benefits

In 2022, if youre under full retirement age, the annual earnings limit is $19,560. 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, there is no limit on how much you can earn and still receive your benefits.

Lets look at a few examples. You are receiving Social Security retirement benefits every month in 2022 and you:

  • Are under full retirement age all year. You are entitled to $800 a month in benefits.

    You work and earn $29,560 during the year. Your Social Security benefits would be reduced by $5,000 . You would receive $4,600 of your $9,600 in benefits for the year.

  • Reach full retirement age in August 2022. You are entitled to $800 per month in benefits.

    You work and earn $63,000 during the year, with $52,638 of it in the 7 months from January through July.

    • Your Social Security benefits would be reduced through July by $226 . You would still receive $5,374 out of your $5,600 benefits for the first 7 months.
    • Beginning in August 2022, when you reach full retirement age, you would receive your full benefit , no matter how much you earn.

If you are eligible for retirement benefits this year and are still working, you can use our earnings test calculator to see how your earnings could affect your benefit payments.

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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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