How Do I Apply For Medicare Benefits
If you are already receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits or railroad retirement checks, Social Security will contact you a few months before you become eligible for Medicare and give you the information you need to register. You should sign up for Medicare even if you dont plan to retire at age 65, or you may be penalized a 10% premium surcharge for each year past age 65 that you do not have Medicare. However, if you are age 65 or older and are covered under a group health plan either from your own employment or you are covered from your spouses employment, you may delay enrolling in Medicare medical insurance without having to wait for a general enrollment period or pay the 10% premium surcharge for late employment. The rules allow you to:
- Enroll in Part B any time you are covered under the group health plan, or
- Enroll in Part B during an eight-month special enrollment period that begins with the month your group health coverage ends or the month your employment ends, whichever comes first
I disagree with the SSAs decision on my claim. How can I appeal? Please visit www.ssa.gov/pubs/10041.html or call 1-800-772-1213 to file an appeal. All appeals should be sent to your local office to find your local office, please visit www.ssa.gov/locator.
What If I Live Abroad
Most U.S. citizens who live in foreign countries after they retire can qualify for Social Security benefits. However, the U.S. government will not send Social Security payments to those living in Cuba or North Korea. Additionally, Americans living in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan must qualify for an exception in order to receive benefits while living abroad.
Taking Social Security: How To Benefit By Waiting
For those who are able to do so, it may make sense to wait even longer, because youll receive a larger monthly benefit even more than your full benefit. Every month past your full retirement that you delay, Social Security will increase your check by about 0.7 percent per month.
If your full retirement age is 66, then heres how much your check would increase:
|A $1,000 check becomes
So if your full retirement age is 66, then if you can wait two more years and claim benefits at age 68, youll increase your monthly check by 16 percent. In this case, if your full benefit were $1,000 a month, your new benefit would become $1,160 per month. And youll still receive cost of living adjustments on top of this amount, typically raising your payout a little each year.
Workers have other ways to grow their Social Security benefits, too, but its important to start early.
How Do I Collect Survivor Benefits
Survivor benefits are Social Security payments to family members of a wage earner who has died. Unlike spousal benefits, the size of the survivor benefits you leave behind changes depending on when you opt to collect your individual benefits. As a result, if you take your individual benefits early, youre locking in lower lifetime income not only for yourself, but also for your spouse should you die before him or her. If you delay receiving benefits to earn a higher PIA, that amount is eligible to pass on to your surviving spouse.
As a spouse, you may be entitled to survivor benefits if youve been married for at least nine months at the time of your spouse’s death. You can collect survivor benefits as young as age 62, but if you do, those benefits will be reduced. Children and parents may also be eligible for survivor benefits, but only under specific circumstances.
Survivor benefits would replace benefits youre already receiving if the survivor benefits are of higher value. Additionally, if you receive a pension based on work without paying into Social Security, your survivor benefit may be reduced accordingly.
How Do I Qualify For Social Security Retirement Benefits
When you work and pay taxes, you earn credits toward Social Security retirement benefits. These credits are based on your annual earnings you can accrue a maximum of four credits per year. Once youve acquired 40 credits , youre fully insured and eligible to receive retirement benefits.
Your paychecks will withhold Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax until youve earned up to the taxable earnings base for the year.
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What If I Have A Complaint About Social Security
The best way to file a complaint is to call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 . We can usually solve most problems during that call. You also can write or visit your local Social Security office. If you do not receive a satisfactory answer from us, you may write to the following address:
Social Security Administration
Retirement Income Benefits For Qualified Family Members
Even if your spouse has never worked outside your home or in a job covered by Social Security, he or she may be eligible for spousal benefits based on your Social Security earnings record. Other members of your family may also be eligible. Retirement benefits are generally paid to family members who relied on your income for financial support. If you’re receiving retirement benefits, the members of your family who may be eligible for family benefits include:
- Your spouse age 62 or older, if married at least one year
- Your former spouse age 62 or older, if you were married at least 10 years
- Your spouse or former spouse at any age, if caring for your child who is under age 16 or disabled
- Your children under age 18, if unmarried
- Your children under age 19, if full-time students or disabled
- Your children older than 18, if severely disabled
Your eligible family members will receive a monthly benefit that is as much as 50 percent of your benefit. However, the amount that can be paid each month to a family is limited. The total benefit that your family can receive based on your earnings record is about 150 to 180 percent of your full retirement benefit amount. If the total family benefit exceeds this limit, each family member’s benefit will be reduced proportionately. Your benefit won’t be affected.
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How Do I Apply For Social Security Benefits
Applying for Social Security benefits is a straightforward process, but there are a few things to keep in mind as you go through the application process.
To start, youll need to gather some basic information about yourself and your work history. This includes your Social Security number, birth certificate, and records of your earnings. Youll also need to have a good idea of when you want your benefits to start.
Once you have all of this information gathered, you can begin the application process online, by phone, or in person at your local Social Security office. The process is similar regardless of how you apply, but applying online may be the most convenient option.
When applying, youll be asked a series of questions about your work history, earnings, and date of retirement. Youll also be asked to provide some basic information about your health and any disabilities you may have. Once youve completed the application process, youll need to wait for a decision from Social Security. This can take a few weeks or longer depending on the complexity of your case.
Benefits May Be Taxable
You will have to pay taxes on your benefits if you file a federal tax return as an individual and your total income is more than $25,000. If you file a joint return and you and your spouse make more than $32,000 jointly, you will have to pay taxes on your benefits. For more information, call the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-3676.
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Why Are Mutual Funds Good For Retirement Investments
Mutual funds help you get exposure to different asset classes and sub-classes, which may enable you to get superior returns. Historical data shows that equity has been the best performing asset class in the long term and has the potential to create wealth for investors over a long investment horizon.
How Does Social Security Work
While employed, you pay a 6.2% Social Security tax on earnings up to a maximum amount , and your employer pays a matching 6.2%. If you are self-employed, then you are responsible for the entire 12.4% tax yourself.
The money is not held in a personal account, such as a bank account. Rather, the money that you pay into Social Security today goes to provide monthly benefits for current retirees and other Social Security recipients.
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When Can You Collect Social Security
Many people still think of age 65 as the age to retire, but that has changed. To collect full benefits, you cannot apply for Social Security until you are:
- 66, if born in the 19431954 range
- 66 and 2 months, if born in 1955
- 66 and 4 months, if born in 1956
- 66 and 6 months, if born in 1957
- 66 and 8 months, if born in 1958
- 66 and 10 months, if born in 1959
- 67, if born in 1960 or later
If you delay retirement to age 70, then you will receive increased Social Security benefits. The percentage will depend on the year you were born, with a maximum 8% increase as the max. You can also choose to start collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but your benefits will be reduced.
Theres An Annual Social Security Cost
One of the best features of Social Security benefits is that the government adjusts the benefits each year based on inflation. This is called a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, and helps your payments keep up with increasing living expenses. The Social Security COLA is significant. Its the equivalent of buying inflation protection on a private annuity, which can get expensive.
Because the COLA is calculated based on changes in a federal consumer price index, the size of the COLA depends largely on broad inflation levels determined by the government . In 2023, Social Security beneficiaries will likely see a 9.7% COLA in their monthly Social Security benefits, the biggest increase since 1981. The COLA for 2023 will be announced on October 13.
Heres what COLAs have been in other recent years:
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Get Help Qualifying For Disability Benefits
The truth is, applying for disability can be a long and sometimes frustrating process. Most first-time applicants are denied, and appeals can take months. However, this doesnt mean you should give up hope. With the help of an experienced Social Security disability lawyer, you can increase your odds of being approved the first time and strengthen your claim should you need to go through the appeals process.
To find out the difference having dedicated representation on your side can make, contact us at Social Security Disability Advocates USA today. Well arrange a free, no obligation consultation with our legal team to review your disability claim and help you make the right decision for you and your family. Get in touch 24/7 by calling , connecting with one of our LiveChat agents, or by filling out this form to request your complimentary case review.
This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.
Retiring Early Will Reduce Your Income Benefit
You can begin receiving Social Security benefits before your full retirement age, as early as age 62. However, if you retire early, your Social Security benefit will be less than if you wait until your full retirement age to begin receiving benefits. Your retirement benefit will be reduced by 5/9ths of 1 percent for every month between your retirement date and your full retirement age, up to 36 months, then by 5/12ths of 1 percent thereafter. For example, if your full retirement age is 67, you’ll receive about 30 percent less if you retire at age 62 than if you wait until age 67 to retire. This reduction is permanent–you won’t be eligible for a benefit increase once you reach full retirement age.
However, even though your monthly benefit will be less, you might receive the same or more total lifetime benefits as you would have had you waited until full retirement age to start collecting benefits. That’s because even though you’ll receive less per month, you might receive benefits over a longer period of time.
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Can I Keep A Job Even After I Start Collecting Retirement Dependents Or Survivors Benefits
Yes, and many people do just that. People who are past full retirement age may work and earn any amount without losing any of their Social Security benefits.
But before you reach full retirement age, Social Security will subtract money from your benefit check if you exceed a certain amount of earned income for the year . The limit applies only to earnings from work it does not apply to income from such things as savings, investments, pensions, or rental property. In other words, earnings from these sources will not affect your Social Security benefits.
The Social Security Administration has added a special twist for the year in which you reach full retirement age. During the 12 months prior to your birthday, you will lose one dollar of benefits for every three dollars you earn over a set monthly limit . After your birthday, you can earn any amount of money without losing benefits.
Questions Regarding Social Security
If you have questions regarding Social Security, you may want to visit the Social Security Administration’s website at www.socialsecurity.gov to find your answers. If you prefer to speak to someone directly, the SSA is available to speak with callers Monday thru Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The toll-free number is 800-772-1213.
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How Do My Social Security Benefits Change If I Retire Early Or Late
As life changes and priorities shift, you may wish to retire before or after your full retirement age. Your Ameriprise advisor can help you determine the best choice for you. Retiring early locks you into lower monthly payments and will decrease your lifetime benefit amount. Retiring later increases your monthly payment and the amount you will receive over your lifetime.
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Your Social Security Money Is Based On Your Income
The amount of money you make during your career plays an important role in determining how much money you’ll receive from Social Security. If you work a total of 45 years, only the highest 35 years of earnings would count toward your benefit amount. For example: If you earned $35,000 for the first 10 years of your employment history and $55,000 for 35 years, only the $55,000 income would count .
Is There A Maximum Benefit
Yes, there is a limit to how much you can receive in Social Security benefits. The maximum Social Security benefit changes each year. For 2022, itâs $4,194/month for those who retire at age 70 . Multiply that by 12 to get $50,328 in maximum annual benefits. If that’s less than your anticipated annual expenses, youâll need to have additional income from your own savings to supplement it.
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Lost Or Stolen Federal Payments
Report your lost, missing, or stolen federal check to the agency that issued the payment. It’s usually one of these paying agencies. If your documentation indicates it’s a different agency, and you need its contact information, look in the A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.
To get an update on your claim, contact the Treasury Department Philadelphia Financial Center at 1-855-868-0151, option 1.
Other Pensions Might Reduce Your Social Security Benefits
Your benefits will be affected if you have a pension from a job that didnt have Social Security taxes taken out of your paycheck. Common examples include people who worked for a public education system, railroad workers and Federal government employees hired before 1984 who are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System .
Two complicated provisions will affect your claiming strategy: the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset . The WEP reduces your own benefits by a discounted factor based on how many years you worked in jobs that did not withhold Social Security taxes. The GPO reduces your spousal and survivor benefits by two-thirds of the amount of your noncovered pension.
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