how do you apply for social security benefits

When you file for your retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration will look at your earnings history and pull out your highest. Deciding when to claim Social Security benefits is one of the biggest With Social Security, it's called a withdrawal of application. Today, you can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social.

How do you apply for social security benefits -

  Special for USA TODAY

Pundits spend a good deal of time advising Americans about the best age to claim Social Security – at age 62, at full retirement age, at age 70 and the like.

But they hardly ever discuss the nuts and bolts of applying for Social Security benefits. They should.

You see, the seemingly simple act of completing an application for retirement, spouse’s, disability benefits isn’t always as straightforward as you might think. “I had a client once who described this as ‘the most complicated and bureaucratic process known to mankind,’” says Robin Brewton, the chief operations officer for Social Security Solutions.

Here’s what experts say you need to know.

Start three months before you want payments. “It doesn’t take that long to clear a claim—no way,” says Andy Landis, author of Social Security: The Inside Story. “But (starting the process early) allows time to iron out any wrinkles that come up, like finding your military discharge form – DD Form 214, Discharge Papers and Separation Documents – or other documents. Then it’s clear sailing to your first payment.”

Others suggest the same. If you want benefits to start on your 66th birth month go to the Social Security office three months prior to your birth month, says Ted Sarenski, the CEO of Blue Ocean Strategic Capital. “Social Security will only give retroactive benefits six months prior so in no case go to them more than six months past your birth month if you intend to begin benefits on your birth month.”

Most claims are done online these days. You really don’t have to apply for benefits in person anymore. Just go to www.ssa.gov and click on the “retirement” box for retirement, spousal or Medicare claims. “There are great instructions and tips there,” says Landis. “Then it takes maybe 20 minutes to complete the application.”

Other experts agree that online is the best way to apply for Social Security. “I am a firm believer in applying online for benefits,” says Kurt Czarnowski, a principal with Czarnowski Consulting.

Prefer to work with a real live human? You can, of course, still apply in person. But if you choose this route, don’t walk into your local office cold. “You might face a one- or two-hour wait, or worse,” says Landis. Instead, call 1-800-772-1213 to set up an appointment, for either a phone or in-office claim. Of note, the Social Security Administration (SSA) generally doesn’t publish the phone numbers of their local offices. You can find your local office and its business hours at https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp.

Consider this warning from Brewton if you do decide to file in person: “Our experience with our own clients has been that the (SSA) agents have attempted to get them to do something different than the client wanted.”

Word to the wise. The SSA’s phones are staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in whatever time zone you’re in. “But they’re swamped mid-day, from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” says Landis. “Instead, call near either end of the day, like 8 a.m. or 5 p.m. If the recording says it will be a long wait, just hang up and call back at a better time.”

When calling Uncle Sam, Landis recommends always having a magazine or other diversion at hand in case you have to wait.

The two “gotcha” questions. When you file, there are two questions that seem to trip people up, according to Brewton. One: “If you are eligible for both a retirement benefit and a spouse’s benefit, do you want to delay receipt of retirement benefit?” And two: “When do you want benefits to begin?”

So many consumers are confused by the first question, says Brewton. “Some don’t know that they may be eligible for multiple benefits; others just simply don’t understand the question,” she says, noting that the question applies only to those who are still eligible to “restrict the scope of the application to spousal benefits only” or what some refer to as filing a restricted application. This applies only to those who were born on or before Jan. 1, 1954. “Those wanting to receive only spousal benefits must answer ‘yes” to this question,” she says. “If you answer “no,” your own retirement benefits will begin.”

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The second question is a “gotcha” because, says Brewton, the field is pre-populated with the earliest possible date for someone to start benefits. “For those who are filling out the application up to four months in advance of when they want benefits to start, they’ll need to change the date in the field,” she says. “If a consumer has carefully crafted a claiming strategy, particularly if it is coordinating retirement and spousal or divorced spouse benefits, the wrong date can cost thousands of dollars and ruin the strategy.”

Use the comment section. Would-be Social Security beneficiaries should always use the comments section near the end of the application to clearly spell out what their intentions are, says Brewton. “If they’re trying to file a restricted application, they should say so,” she says. “If they want to collect divorced spouse benefits at full retirement age and switch to their own later, they should say it in the comments. This is documentation of your intent in the event an error occurs in processing.”

Also, Brewton recommends asking someone to sit with you while you file – a friend, spouse, family member. “It will help you get a second set of eyes on the questions and your answers,” she says.

Make a mistake? If you discover that you made a mistake during the filing process, the sooner it is addressed, the better. Unfortunately, a correction isn’t easy to pull off and requires substantial documentation, says Brewton. “I recommend that clients who file in person or on the phone get the name of the person who assisted with the filing and have that person read the questions and answers back to the consumer,” she says.

Brewton recommends documenting conversations with dates and times. “I do believe that, given the number of Social Security beneficiaries, actual errors are few,” she says. But they do happen from time to time and they can be significant.

Landis also notes that the SSA will contact you if they have any questions about your application. However, the SSA, just like the IRS, will not email you. “Be aware of scammers trying to get your Social Security number,” says Sarenski.

Ultimately, says Brewton, the best defense against errors is a good offense – a smart claiming strategy that is written down. “If a consumer doesn’t feel heard by the SSA, or if the SSA is trying to convince them that a claiming strategy isn’t possible, the best bet is to walk away and get professional assistance. You can always file later.”

Filing for Social Security disability is the hardest. Those filing for Social Security Disability Insurance tackle it in stages, starting online at www.ssa.gov. “The SSA needs to know all your doctors and hospitals that have information about your medical condition,” says Landis. But here’s a trick of the trade that will save you a ton of work: “If one doctor or hospital has all your records, just list that source and say they have everything,” Landis says. “Then be prepared to wait—it takes months to decide a disability claim. The sooner you start, the sooner it will be done.”

Filing a survivor claim? Most claims can be filed online. Not this one. If you’re filing a survivor claim (widow, widower, or surviving child), you can’t do it online, says Landis. Start by calling 800-772-1213 for a claims appointment.

Don’t be late. Every type of claim has a time limit, especially Medicare, says Landis. “You can file up to three months before you want benefits, he says. “Delaying? Not advised.”

What can you expect after you file? You should be aware of and plan for the fact that Social Security benefits are paid one month in arrears, says Czarnowski. “For example, say someone retires at the end of June and intends to start collecting Social Security benefits effective with the month of July,” he says. “That person won't receive his/her first payment until August.”

Also note, says Czarnowski, that anyone born between the 1st and the 10th of the month is always paid on the 2nd Wednesday of the month; anyone born between the 11th and the 20th of the month is always paid on the 3rd Wednesday of the month; and anyone born between the 21st and the end of the month is always paid on the 4th Wednesday of the month. “And by ‘paid’ I mean that their payment is ‘direct deposited’ into their bank account on that date,” he says. “This is something that people need to understand and anticipate, and in my experience, many of them don't.”

Examine your documents. Sarenski suggests examining your “introductory” letter and all other correspondence immediately upon receiving it in the mail from the SSA. “It is best to correct any errors as soon as you know of them,” he says.

More on what you'll need to complete the process can be found in this downloadable PDF.

MORE POWELL:

Robert Powell is editor of Retirement Weekly, contributes regularly to USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, TheStreet and MarketWatch. Got questions about money? Email Bob at [email protected]

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Источник: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/retirement/2017/05/10/ins-and-outs-applying-social-security-benefits/101054756/

The ins and outs of applying for Social Security benefits


Robert Powell 

Everything You Need to Know About Social Security Benefits

Kailey Hagen

Updated: Nov. 17, 2021, 10:28 a.m.

Social Security forms an important part of most people's retirement plans, but the program itself does much more than just that. In a nutshell, Social Security is designed to support disabled and retired workers and their families by providing a guaranteed source of lifetime income for those who meet certain criteria.

Here's a closer look at how the program works, the different types of Social Security benefits available, and what you can expect when you're ready to claim benefits.

Infographic explaining the retirement, disability and survivor benefits from social security.

Source: The Motley Fool

How Social Security works

Social Security is a government program that collects taxes from working Americans and distributes these funds to qualifying disabled workers, retirees, and their families to help them remain financially secure.

A worker typically must earn 40 credits to qualify for Social Security, though if they die or are disabled young, they may qualify with fewer credits. A credit in 2022 is defined as $1,470 in earned income, and you may earn up to four credits per year.

You may claim Social Security based on your own work record, if you've earned enough credits, or you may be eligible to claim spousal benefits based on your current or ex-spouse's work record if this amount is larger than what you're entitled to on your own. Dependent children and other family members may also qualify for family benefits in certain circumstances.

When you're ready to apply for Social Security, you must fill out an application online or at your local Social Security Administration office. A government representative will verify the information in your application to determine if you qualify and then you'll begin receiving monthly checks.

Types of Social Security benefits

There are three main types of Social Security benefits:

  • Retirement benefits
  • Disability benefits
  • Survivors benefits

Retirement benefits

Social Security retirement benefits are for workers 62 and older who have earned at least 40 credits. The size of your benefit checks depends on your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) over your 35 highest-earning years, and the age at which you begin benefits.

You must wait until your full retirement age (FRA) to claim your standard benefit based on your AIME. Your FRA is 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954, then it rises by two months every year thereafter until it reaches 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

Be Aware

Claiming benefits before your full retirement age (FRA) reduces your checks.

Icon dollar sign in envelope

If you begin claiming at 62, you'll get only 70% of your standard benefit if your FRA is 67 or 75% if your FRA is 66. Every month you delay benefits increases your checks slightly until you reach the maximum benefit at 70. This is 124% of your standard benefit if your FRA is 67 or 132% if your FRA is 66.

Receiving Social Security benefits under your FRA could cause you to lose some of that money back to the government if your income is high enough. The Social Security Earnings Test withholds $1 from your checks for every $2 you earn above $19,560 in 2022 if you will be under your FRA all year. If you'll reach your FRA in 2022, it'll take $1 for every $3 you earn over $51,960 if you reach this amount before your FRA. Once you're past your FRA, the government recalculates your benefit to include the amount it withheld.

Certain family members can claim benefits on your work record if doing so would give them more money than they're eligible for on their own work record. Eligible family members include:

  • Spouses
  • 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.

Disability benefits

Social Security disability benefits are available to adults 18 or older who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. You may still be eligible even if you haven't earned 40 credits, depending upon your age at the time of your disability. Your benefit is determined by your average lifetime earnings, so individuals who earned more while they were working will receive larger disability checks.

You must provide the government with information about your work history and your medical condition, including relevant supporting documents, when you apply. The Social Security Administration will review your case to decide if you are eligible. If it rules in your favor, you'll receive disability checks for as long as your disability lasts or the rest of your life, depending on the condition. If it rules against you, you may request a reconsideration or appeal to an administrative law judge.

Family members may be able to claim benefits on a disabled worker’s work record if they are:

  • A spouse 62 or older or of any age if caring for a disabled worker’s disabled child or child 16 or younger
  • Ex-spouses who were married to the disabled worker for at least 10 years and have not remarried if they meet the same criteria as spouses
  • Unmarried children up to 18, or 19 if still attending high school
  • Children of any age who were disabled before 22

Survivors benefits

Survivors benefits are benefits for the family members of deceased workers who qualified for Social Security.

Did you know?

The amount of the survivors benefit depends on the deceased worker's average income, adjusted for inflation, and their relationship to the deceased.

Icon hand with dollar sign

Surviving spouses who are 60 or older (50 or older if disabled) may claim survivors benefits, as can surviving spouses of any age if they are caring for the deceased worker's child who is under 16 or disabled. The same rules apply for ex-spouses as long as they were married to the deceased worker for at least 10 years and have not remarried.

The deceased worker's children under 18, or up to 19 if still enrolled in high school, are eligible for benefits, as are disabled children of any age if they were disabled before 22. Parents of the deceased worker may also qualify for benefits if the deceased was providing 50% or more of their financial support before they died.

In addition to these benefits, the surviving spouse or children may be eligible for a one-time death benefit of $255.

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Brief history of Social Security

The Social Security program was created by the Social Security Act that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law in 1935. The first checks went out in 1940. Originally it paid benefits only to workers 65 and older, but in the 1970s the government altered it to allow workers to claim benefits as early as 62. It also instituted annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to help Social Security keep pace with inflation.

The program has worked fairly well so far, but many people fear for the future, when there will be fewer workers to support a greater number of Social Security recipients. The latest Social Security Trustees' Report indicates the program's trust funds would be depleted by 2034, after which it would be able to pay out only about 76% of benefits to retirees and about 92% to disabled workers.

The government has proposed several possible solutions for ensuring the long-term sustainability of the program, but at present no plans have been set. There's no risk of the program disappearing in the next decade or two, but it's possible future benefits may not go as far as they do today. That's why today's workers need to prioritize their personal retirement savings, so they can cover most of their expenses on their own.

Источник: https://www.fool.com/retirement/social-security/

When to Take Social Security: The Complete Guide

If you’re about to retire, you may be wondering whether you should start claiming your hard-earned Social Security benefits now. Here are a few key factors to consider in making that decision.

Key Takeaways

  • You can collect Social Security as early as age 62, but your benefits will be permanently reduced.
  • The longer you can afford to wait after age 62 (up to 70), the larger the monthly benefit.
  • Doing a breakeven analysis can help you determine when you would come out ahead by delaying benefits.
  • Spouses can also claim benefits as early as age 62, based on their partner’s work record.

When Can I Start Collecting Social Security?

The minimum age to claim benefits is 62. If you are turning 62 and need the income from Social Security to support yourself, then you can start claiming your benefits now. However, if you have enough other income to keep you going until you are older, you may want to delay increasing the size of your monthly benefit.

What Is Full Retirement Age (FRA)?

The size of your monthly Social Security benefit depends on a few factors, including how much you earned over the years, the year you were born, and the age when you start claiming—down to the month.

You’ll receive your full monthly benefit if you start claiming when you reach what Social Security considers your full retirement age (FRA), sometimes also referred to as “normal retirement age.” FRA was 65 when Social Security began, but it has been raised to 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later. To find your FRA, see the chart below.

Finding Your Full Retirement Age (FRA)

Year of Birth

Full (Normal) Retirement Age

1937 or earlier

65

1938

65 and 2 months

1939

65 and 4 months

1940

65 and 6 months

1941

65 and 8 months

1942

65 and 10 months

1943–1954

66

1955

66 and 2 months

1956

66 and 4 months

1957

66 and 6 months

1958

66 and 8 months

1959

66 and 10 months

1960 and later

67

Source: Social Security Administration

How to Calculate Social Security Benefits

Let’s say your FRA is 66. If you start claiming benefits at age 66 and your full monthly benefit is $2,000, then you’ll get $2,000 per month. If you start claiming benefits at age 62, which is 48 months early, then your benefit will be reduced to 75% of your full monthly benefit—also called your “primary insurance amount.” In other words, you’ll get 25% less per month, and your check will be $1,500.

That reduced benefit won’t increase once you reach age 66. Rather, you’ll continue to receive it for the rest of your life. It may go up over time due to cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), but only slightly. You can do the math for your own situation using the Social Security Administration (SSA) Early or Late Retirement Calculator, one of a number of benefit calculators provided by the SSA that can also help you determine your FRA, the SSA’s estimate of your life expectancy for benefit calculations, rough estimates of your retirement benefits, individualized projections of your benefits based on your personal work record, and more.

Although the cost-of-living adjustments announced each year are usually only slight increases, Social Security benefits will increase by 5.9% in 2022, marking the largest increase since 1982.

What Happens If You Claim After Your FRA?

If you wait until your age 70 to start claiming benefits, then you’ll get an extra 8% per year—or, in total, 132% of your primary insurance amount ($2,640 per month in the example above) for the rest of your life. Claiming after you turn 70 doesn’t increase your benefits further, so there’s no reason to wait longer than that.

The longer you can afford to wait after age 62 (up to 70), the larger your monthly benefit will be. Nevertheless, delaying benefits doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll come out ahead overall. Other factors should be considered, including your expected longevity and whether you (or your spouse) plan to file for spousal benefits. You should also consider the tax, investment opportunity, and health coverage implications.

70

The age at which delayed retirement credits cease (for those who have not yet taken their Social Security benefits)

Your Likely Longevity

So much of our strategy on maximizing Social Security retirement benefits depends on guesses as to how long we’ll live. Of course, any of us could die in an accident or get a dire diagnosis next week, but putting aside these unpredictable possibilities, how long do you think you’ll live? How are your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and other health markers? How long have your parents and other relatives lived?

If you foresee an above-average life expectancy for yourself, then you may come out ahead by waiting to claim benefits. If not, then you may want to claim your benefits as soon as you’re eligible.

To make an educated guess about when to claim, try doing a breakeven analysis. The analysis can tell you when the total benefits you would receive by waiting will begin to exceed the total that you would receive by taking benefits earlier. If, for example, you’d get $1,500 a month starting at age 62 or $2,000 a month starting at age 66, then you will have received roughly the same amount in total benefits by age 77 or so. At that point, the higher monthly benefits that you’d get as a result of waiting will begin to pay off.

The Social Security website will tell you that regardless of when you start claiming, your lifetime benefits will be similar if you live as long as the average retiree. The problem is that not everyone will have an average life expectancy, hence all the different claiming strategies.

Divorced spouses can collect Social Security benefits based on their ex-spouse’s work record under certain conditions.

Claiming Spousal Benefits

Because of the program’s spousal benefits, being married can further complicate the decision of when to take Social Security. Some divorced spouses are also entitled to benefits based on their ex-spouse’s work record.

Spouses Who Don’t Qualify for Their Own Social Security

Spouses who didn’t work at a paid job or didn’t earn enough credits to qualify for Social Security on their own are eligible to receive benefits starting at age 62 based on their spouse’s record. As with claiming benefits on your own record, your spousal benefit will be reduced if you take it before reaching your FRA. The highest spousal benefit that you can receive is half of the benefit that your spouse is entitled to at their FRA.

While spouses get a lower benefit if they claim before reaching their own FRA, they will not get a larger spousal benefit by waiting to claim after their FRA—say, at age 70. However, a nonworking or lower-earning spouse may get a larger spousal benefit if the working spouse has some late-career, high-earning years that boost their benefits.

When a Spouse Dies

When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive the higher of their own benefit or their deceased spouse’s benefit. That’s why financial planners often advise the higher-earning spouse to delay claiming. If the higher-earning spouse dies first, then the surviving, lower-earning spouse will receive a larger Social Security check for life.

When the surviving spouse hasn’t reached their FRA, they will be entitled to prorated amounts starting at age 60. Once at their FRA, the surviving spouse is entitled to 100% of the deceased spouse’s benefit or their own benefit, whichever is higher.

No More "File and Suspend"

Note that the claiming strategy called “file and suspend,” which allowed married couples who have reached their FRA to receive spousal benefits and delayed retirement credits at the same time, ended as of May 1, 2016. However, spouses born before Jan. 2, 1954, who have attained their FRA may still be able to file a restricted application. It allows them to claim spousal benefits while delaying their own benefits up to age 70.

Social Security benefits can be taxable if your combined income is high enough.

Taxes on Your Benefits

Your Social Security benefits may be partially taxable if your combined income exceeds certain thresholds. Regardless of how much you make, the first 15% of your benefits are not taxed.

The SSA defines combined income using this formula:

  • Your adjusted gross income + nontaxable interest (for example, municipal bond interest) + half of your Social Security benefits = your combined income

If you file your federal tax return as an individual and your combined income is $25,000 to $34,000, then you may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of your benefits. If your combined income is more than $34,000, you may have to pay tax on up to 85% of your benefits.

If you’re married, filing a joint return, and your combined income is $32,000 to $44,000, then you may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of your benefits. If your combined income is more than $44,000, you may have to pay tax on up to 85% of your benefits.

An Example of Taxed Benefits

Let’s say you receive the maximum Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at FRA in 2021: $3,148 per month. Your spouse receives half as much, or $1,574 a month. Together, you receive $4,722 a month, or $56,664 per year. Half of that, or $28,332, counts toward your combined income for determining whether you have to pay tax on part of your Social Security benefits. Let’s further assume that you don’t have any nontaxable interest, wages, or other income except for your traditional individual retirement account’s (IRA’s) required minimum distribution (RMD) of $10,000 for the year.

Your combined income would be $38,332—half of your Social Security income, plus your IRA distribution—which would make up to 50% of your Social Security benefits taxable because you’ve exceeded the $32,000 threshold. Now, you may be thinking, 50% of $56,664 is $28,332, and I’m in the 12% tax bracket, so the tax on my Social Security benefits will be $3,399.84.

Fortunately, the calculation takes other factors into account, and your tax would be a mere $225. You can read all about the taxation of Social Security benefits in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 915.

Tax Considerations for Social Security Benefits

How do these tax considerations affect when you should apply for Social Security benefits? At today’s marginal tax rates, they may not have much of an impact on most people. Still, tax rates and income thresholds can change, so it’s worth remembering that you will lose less of your Social Security to taxes if you are in a lower marginal tax bracket when you begin to collect.

You should also note that if you decide to return to work, even part-time, and aren’t yet at your FRA, your Social Security benefits may be temporarily reduced. The reduction is $1 for every $2 of earned income over $18,960 in 2021 (and $19,560 in 2022). During the year when you reach your FRA, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 in income over $50,520 in 2021 ($51,960 in 2022) until the month when you become fully eligible. That money isn’t lost, however. The SSA will credit it to your record when you reach your FRA, resulting in a higher benefit.

Investing Your Benefits

Are you a disciplined, savvy investor who thinks you could earn more by claiming early and investing your benefits than by claiming later and receiving Social Security’s guaranteed higher benefits? Then you may want to claim early instead of waiting until age 70.

However, it's important to remember that investments have risks, and you may lose a portion or all of your invested money. Even the savviest investors can’t predict how their investments will perform, especially in the short term.

If you claim early, invest in the stock market, and average an 8% annual return—which is far from guaranteed— then you almost certainly will come out ahead compared with claiming late, according to an analysis by Dan Caplinger, director of investment planning for The Motley Fool. However, if your returns are lower, if you receive reduced Social Security benefits because you continue working past age 62, if you have to pay taxes on your Social Security income, or if you have a spouse who would benefit from claiming Social Security benefits based on your record, then another Caplinger analysis suggests that all bets are off.

Claiming Social Security benefits could make you ineligible to put more money into a health savings account (HSA).

Timing and Your Health Coverage

Your health insurance coverage can also play a role in deciding when to claim Social Security benefits. Do you have a health savings account (HSA) to which you would like to keep contributing? If so, note that if you’re age 65 or older, then receiving Social Security benefits requires you to sign up for Medicare Part A, and once you sign up for Medicare Part A, you’ll no longer be allowed to add funds to your HSA.

The SSA also cautions that even if you delay receiving Social Security benefits until after age 65, you might still need to apply for Medicare benefits within three months of turning 65 to avoid paying higher premiums for life for Medicare Part B and Part D.

In 2022, the average monthly premium for Part D will be $33 per month versus $31.47 in 2021. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, the average monthly premium will be $19 per month in 2022 versus $21.22 in 2021. However, if you are still receiving health insurance from your or your spouse’s employer, you might not yet have to enroll in Medicare.

On March 17, 2020, all Social Security offices were closed completely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Oct. 16, 2021, they are only open by appointment, and to get an appointment; you need to be in a “limited, critical situation.” Most people will have to transact their business online, by phone, or through the mail.

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to take Social Security just because you’re retired. If you can live without the income until age 70, then you will ensure the maximum payment for yourself and lock in the maximum spousal benefit. Just be sure that you have enough other income to keep you going and that your health is good enough that you are likely to benefit from the wait. When you’re ready, you can apply for benefits online, by phone, or at your local Social Security office.

Источник: https://www.investopedia.com/retirement/when-take-social-security-complete-guide/

5 Social Security Benefits You Can Claim Online

Retirement / Social Security

Close up of social security application with calculator and pen.

courtneyk / Getty Images

Applying for and obtaining social security benefits can be confusing — but these five can be easily claimed online. Before you register for or use any of the online tools for SSA benefits, you’ll need to register for a “my Social Security” account online. The process is fairly straightforward, you’ll simply need to provide some basic identification.

See: Next Year’s Social Security Checks Could Get Biggest COLA Bump in 13 Years
Find: 5 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About Social Security

Retirement or Spouse’s Benefits

You need to be at least 61 years old and 9 months in order to claim these benefits. Another added requirement — you also need to want your benefits to start in no more than four months. Applying for retirement benefits is essentially changing your financial status with the IRS and the SSA, which can have monetary ramifications if you change your mind or make changes outside of the allowable timeframes. Make sure to use the online tools to properly align your benefits with your goals. The online application for retirement and spouse’s benefits can be found here.

Disability Benefits

You can easily apply for disability benefits online if you are:

  • 18 or older
  • not currently receiving benefits on your own social security record
  • unable to work because of a medical condition expected to last at least 12 months or result in death
  • have not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days.

You can access the online application here. You can also appeal a rejected request for disability benefits here.

Supplemental Security Income

SSI is federal income that is funded by taxpayer dollars and helps people who have little or no income and who are age 65 or older, blind, or have disabilities. You can be under 65 for the benefit, but need to meet certain disability requirements. To see if you are eligible to apply and meet all requirements, click here.

Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that is mainly used by people aged 65 or older and used in retirement as health insurance. Certain people younger than 65 who have disabilities and those with end-stage renal disease can also be eligible for Medicare. If you are almost aged 65, you should apply for Medicare benefits three months before turning age 65 the SSA advises. Medicare is the basic insurance policy for seniors provided by the government, and there are a number of supplemental policies and add-ons you can pay for depending on your situation. Click here for the benefits page.

See: The SSA Has an Online Portal to Manage Your Social Security – Here’s Why You Should Use It
Find: When Social Security Runs Out: What the Program Will Look Like in 2035

Help With Prescription Drug Costs

Those who simply need some extra assistance with the cost of their prescription drugs and daily medications can apply for it through the SSA benefit website here. You must be enrolled in a Medicare Prescription Drug program to receive this benefit.

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Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

Источник: https://www.gobankingrates.com/retirement/social-security/5-social-security-benefits-claim-online/

Social Security Benefit for 2022 With Added COLA: When will it arrive?

Great news for all Social Security beneficiaries, who are set to receive a massive aid from the givernment that will increase how do you apply for social security benefits living adjustment.Social Security Administration just released a schedule of the exact dayes when the increased payments for all beneficiaries will arrive. If you wanted to find out these dates, you've come to the right place. We got you covered. This increase will consist of a 5.9% to the cost-of-living adjustment. If your birthday falls on the 1st through the 10th of each month, that means you will receive your benefits on the second Wednesday of the month. For example, people who were born between January 1 and 10, their benefots will be paid on January 12, 2022.

Those who have their birthday between the 11th and 20th of each month will get their benefit paid on the third Wednesday of every month. Last but not least, those who were born between the 21st and 31st of every month will get their benefits on the fourth Wednesday of every month. For 2022, these final payments will happen on January 26. As per the Social Security Administration, this benefit will aid about 80 million Americans. We are talking about the biggest historic increase in the last 39 years in the midst how do you apply for social security benefits a major inflation and severe increases in Medicare Part B premiums. But the most important question still needs tobe answered, especially by beneficiaries who are interested in getting this monthly check.

How much will Social Security offer beneficiaries?

To those who wonder, these benefits are set to begin during the first month of 2022. These increases are directly related to the COLA increase that will help beneficiaries get 100 extra dollars on each check. Before the COLA increase, these checks were worth $1,565 and now they are wirth $1,657. This means that COLA increase will bring $1,200 on a yearly basis to all beneficiaries of the Social Security program. Finally, retured couples who are both getting this benefit will receive $2,753. Widowed mothers with children are set to receive $3,187 and a widow/widower alone is getting $1,553. Disabled workers and spouses with children are getting an average $2,383 while disabled workers are getting $1,358. All payments are based on the worker's average payment but it will either increase or decrease depending on a variety of different factors ranging from working experience, earnings ir marriage status. The SSA website has more detailed information for each case.


Источник: https://www.marca.com/en/lifestyle/us-news/2021/11/23/619d3cb546163f677a8b457d.html
  Special for USA TODAY

Pundits spend a good deal of time advising Americans about the best age to claim Social Security – at age 62, at full retirement age, at age 70 and the like.

But they hardly ever discuss the nuts and bolts of applying for Social Security benefits. They should.

You see, the seemingly simple act of completing an application for retirement, spouse’s, disability benefits isn’t always as straightforward as you might think. “I had a client once who described this as ‘the most complicated and bureaucratic process known to mankind,’” says Robin Brewton, the chief operations officer for Social Security Solutions.

Here’s what experts say you need to know.

Start three months before you want payments. “It doesn’t take that long to clear a claim—no way,” says Andy Landis, author of Social Security: The Inside Story. “But (starting the process early) allows time to iron out any wrinkles that come up, like finding your military discharge form – DD Form 214, Discharge Papers and Separation Documents – or other documents. Then it’s clear sailing to your first payment.”

Others suggest the same. If you want benefits to start on your 66th birth month go to the Social Security office three months prior to your birth month, says Ted Sarenski, the CEO of Blue Ocean Strategic Capital. “Social Security will only give retroactive benefits six months prior so in no case go to them more than six months past your birth month if you intend to begin benefits on your birth month.”

Most claims are done online these days. You really don’t have to apply for benefits in person anymore. Just go to www.ssa.gov and click on the “retirement” box for retirement, spousal or Medicare claims. “There are great instructions and tips there,” says Landis. “Then it takes maybe 20 minutes to complete the application.”

Other experts agree that online is the best way to apply for Social Security. “I am a firm believer in applying online for benefits,” says Kurt Czarnowski, a principal with Czarnowski Consulting.

Prefer to work with a real live human? You can, of course, still apply in person. But if you choose this route, don’t walk into your local office cold. “You might face a one- or two-hour wait, or worse,” says Landis. Instead, call 1-800-772-1213 to set up an appointment, for either a phone or in-office claim. Of note, the Social Security Administration (SSA) generally doesn’t publish the phone numbers of their local offices. You can find your local office and its business hours at https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp.

Consider this warning from Brewton if you do decide to file in person: “Our experience with our own clients has been that the (SSA) agents have attempted to get them to do something different than the client wanted.”

Word to the wise. The SSA’s phones are staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in whatever time zone you’re in. “But they’re swamped mid-day, from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” says Landis. “Instead, call near either end of the day, like 8 a.m. or 5 p.m. If the recording says it will be a long wait, just hang up and call back at a better time.”

When calling Uncle Sam, Landis recommends always having a magazine or spencer savings bank nutley nj diversion at hand in case you have to wait.

The two “gotcha” questions. When you file, there are two questions that seem to trip people up, according to Brewton. One: “If you are eligible for both a retirement benefit and a spouse’s benefit, do you want to delay receipt of retirement benefit?” And two: “When do you want benefits to begin?”

So many consumers are confused by the first question, says Brewton. “Some don’t know that they may be walmart 1 hour photo for multiple benefits; others just simply don’t understand the question,” she says, noting that the question applies only to those who are still eligible to “restrict the scope of the application to spousal benefits only” or what some refer to as where is the west coast of the united states a restricted application. This applies only to those who were born on or before Jan. 1, 1954. “Those wanting to receive only spousal benefits must answer ‘yes” to this question,” she says. “If you answer “no,” your own retirement benefits will begin.”

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The second question is a “gotcha” because, says Brewton, the field is pre-populated with the earliest possible date for someone to start benefits. “For those who are filling out the application up to four months in advance of when they want benefits to start, they’ll need to change the date in the field,” she says. “If a consumer has carefully crafted a claiming strategy, particularly if it is coordinating retirement and spousal or divorced spouse benefits, the wrong date can cost thousands of dollars and ruin the strategy.”

Use the comment section. Would-be Social Security beneficiaries should always use the comments section near the end of the application to clearly spell out what their intentions are, says Brewton. “If they’re trying to file a restricted application, they should say so,” she says. “If they want to collect divorced spouse benefits at full retirement age and switch to their own later, they should say it in the comments. This is documentation of your intent in the event an error occurs in processing.”

Also, Brewton recommends asking someone to sit with you while you file – a friend, spouse, family member. “It will help you get a second set of eyes on the questions and your answers,” she says.

Make a mistake? If you discover that you made a mistake during the filing process, the sooner it is addressed, the better. Unfortunately, a correction isn’t easy to pull off and requires substantial documentation, says Brewton. “I recommend that clients who file in person or on the phone get the name of the person who assisted with the filing and have that person read the questions and answers back to the consumer,” she says.

Brewton recommends documenting conversations with dates and times. “I do believe that, given the number of Social Security beneficiaries, actual errors are few,” she says. But they do happen from time to time and they can be significant.

Landis also notes that the SSA will contact you if they have any questions about your application. However, the SSA, just like the IRS, will not email you. “Be aware of scammers trying to get your Social Security number,” says Sarenski.

Ultimately, says Brewton, the best defense against errors is a good offense – a smart claiming strategy that is written down. “If a consumer doesn’t feel heard by the SSA, or if the SSA is trying to convince them that a claiming strategy isn’t possible, the best bet is to walk away and get professional assistance. You can always file later.”

Filing for Social Security disability is the hardest. Those filing for Social Security Disability Insurance tackle it in stages, starting online at www.ssa.gov. “The SSA needs to know all your doctors and hospitals that have information about your medical condition,” says Landis. But here’s a trick of the trade that will save you a ton of work: “If one doctor or hospital has all your records, just list that source and say they have everything,” Landis says. “Then be prepared to wait—it takes months to decide a disability claim. The sooner you start, the sooner it will be done.”

Filing a survivor claim? Most claims can be filed online. Not this one. If you’re filing a survivor claim (widow, widower, or surviving child), you can’t do it online, says Landis. Start by calling 800-772-1213 for a claims appointment.

Don’t be late. Every type of claim has a time limit, especially Medicare, says Landis. “You can file up to three months before you want benefits, he says. “Delaying? Not advised.”

What can you expect after you file? You should be aware of and plan for the fact that Social Security benefits are paid one month in arrears, says Czarnowski. “For example, say someone retires at the end of June and intends to start collecting Social Security benefits effective with the month of July,” he says. “That person won't receive his/her first payment until August.”

Also note, says Czarnowski, that anyone born between the 1st and the 10th of the month is always paid on the 2nd Wednesday of the month; anyone born between the 11th and the 20th of the month is always paid on the 3rd Wednesday of the month; and anyone born between the 21st and the end of the month is always paid on the 4th Wednesday of the month. “And by ‘paid’ I mean that their payment is ‘direct deposited’ into their bank account on that date,” he says. “This is something that people need to understand and anticipate, and in my experience, many of them don't.”

Examine your documents. Sarenski suggests examining your “introductory” letter and all other correspondence immediately upon receiving it in the mail from the SSA. “It is best to correct any errors as soon as you know of them,” he says.

More on what you'll need to complete the process can be found in this downloadable PDF.

MORE POWELL:

Robert Powell is editor of Retirement Weekly, contributes regularly to USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, TheStreet and MarketWatch. Got questions about money? Email Bob at [email protected]

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Источник: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/retirement/2017/05/10/ins-and-outs-applying-social-security-benefits/101054756/

Understanding Social Security

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Social Security reaches almost every family at some point. It helps not only older Americans but also workers who become disabled and families in which a spouse or parent dies. Social Security is not meant to be the only source of income for people when they retire, as it only replaces about 40 percent of an average wage earner's income after retirement. Many financial experts say retirees will need 70 percent or more of pre-retirement earnings to live comfortably; therefore, private pensions, savings and investments are encouraged to help supplement the difference.

Social Security Eligibility

To become eligible for Social Security you need 40 credits (10 years of work). However, younger people need fewer credits to be eligible for disability benefits or for family members to be eligible for survivor benefits. As you work and pay taxes, you earn Social Security credits. In 2014, you earn one credit for each $1,200 in how do you apply for social security benefits up to a maximum of four credits per year.

Retirement Benefits

Choosing when to retire is one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime. Social Security retirement benefits may be reduced, increased, or unaffected depending upon your age at retirement. You are entitled to your full retirement benefit at your full retirement age. Social Security's full retirement age depends on the year in which you were born. If you were born in 1942 or earlier, you are already eligible for your full Social Security benefit. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. If you were born between 1955 and 1959, your full retirement age increases gradually until it reaches age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. The below chart shows your full retirement age by the year you were born.

Social Security Table

You can retire and collect Social Security benefits any time after age 62. If you decide to start taking benefits before your full retirement age, your benefit amount will be reduced. On the other hand, if you choose to wait nevada edd sign in age 70, you benefit amount will be more due to the delayed retirement credit you'll earn.

Note: Although the full retirement age for social security is rising, you should still apply for Medicare benefits three months before your 65th birthday. If you wait longer, your Medicare medical insurance (Part B) and prescription drug coverage (Part D) may cost you more money.

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.

When to Apply

It is recommended to apply for benefits three months before the date you want the benefits to start. You can apply for benefits on Social Security's website at www.socialsecurity.gov. Benefit payments are paid electronically, either through direct deposit to your financial institution or you can receive benefits on a prepaid debit card.

Questions Regarding Social Security

If you have questions regarding Social Security, you may want to visit the Social Security Administration's (SSA) 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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Источник: https://www.michigan.gov/reinventretirement/0,5764,7-332-69371_69423-337704--,00.html

Married couples have Social Security options

Anyone who's paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 years can start to receive retirement benefits as early as age 62 based on his or her own earnings record. A married spouse without an earnings record (or whose record would result in a lower Social Security payment) can collect on his or her spouse's earnings record when his or her spouse turns 62.

Collecting Social Security at 62 has some advantages. For example, you may be ready to retire and counting on Social Security as the cornerstone of your retirement plan. After all, if you've paid Social Security taxes for 10 years, then you're entitled to Social Security benefits.

If you or your spouse has serious health problems or a family history that suggests you may not live long enough to profit from waiting, collecting early might make the most sense for you. Just remember that if the higher earner delays, the surviving spouse's survivors benefits could also increase.

On the other hand, the earlier you start to collect, the less you'll receive each month. But if you start to collect and then change your mind, you have 2 options.

The "reset" rule

Within 12 months of starting to collect, you can "reset" your benefits to erase the reduction, but you must repay all of the benefits you and your family earned.

The voluntary suspension rule

If you started collecting before your full retirement age (FRA), you can suspend your benefits at FRA and restart them later.

Источник: https://investor.vanguard.com/retirement/social-security/strategies-for-married-couples

5 Social Security Benefits You Can Claim Online

Retirement / Social Security

Close up of social security application with calculator and pen.

courtneyk / Getty Images

Applying for and obtaining social security benefits can be confusing — but these five can be easily claimed online. Before you register for or use any of the online tools for SSA benefits, you’ll need to register for a “my Social Twiddy vacation rentals account online. The process is fairly straightforward, you’ll simply need to provide some how do you apply for social security benefits identification.

See: Next Year’s Social Security Checks Could Get Biggest COLA Bump in 13 Years
Find: 5 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About Social Security

Retirement or Spouse’s Benefits

You need to be at least 61 years old and 9 months in order to claim these benefits. Another added requirement — you also need to want your benefits to start in no more than four months. Applying for retirement benefits is essentially changing your financial status with the IRS and the SSA, which can have monetary ramifications if you change your mind or make changes outside of the allowable timeframes. Make sure to use the online tools to properly align your benefits with your goals. The online application for retirement and spouse’s benefits can be found here.

Disability Benefits

You can easily apply for disability benefits online if you are:

  • 18 or older
  • not currently receiving benefits on your own social security record
  • unable to work because of a medical condition expected to last at least 12 months or result in death
  • have not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days.

You can access the online application here. You can also appeal a rejected request for disability benefits here.

Supplemental Security Income

SSI is federal income that is funded by taxpayer dollars and helps people who have little or no income and who are age 65 or older, blind, or have disabilities. You can be under 65 for the benefit, but need to meet certain disability requirements. To see if you are eligible to apply and meet all requirements, click here.

Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that is mainly used by people aged 65 or older and used in retirement as health insurance. Certain people younger than 65 who have disabilities and those with end-stage renal disease can also be eligible for Medicare. If you are almost aged 65, you should apply for Medicare benefits three months before turning age 65 the SSA advises. Medicare is the basic insurance policy for seniors provided by the government, and there are a number of supplemental policies and add-ons you can pay for depending on your situation. Click here for the benefits page.

See: The SSA Has an Online Portal to Manage Your Social Security – Here’s Why You Should Use It
Find: When Social Security Runs Out: What the Program Will Look Like in 2035

Help With Prescription Drug Costs

Those who simply need some extra assistance with the cost of their prescription drugs and daily medications can apply for it through the SSA benefit website here. You must be enrolled in a Medicare Prescription Drug program to receive this benefit.

More From GOBankingRates

About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

Источник: https://www.gobankingrates.com/retirement/social-security/5-social-security-benefits-claim-online/
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    Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Heart Failure how do you apply for social security benefits

    When an individual suffers from heart failure, it can be impossible to maintain a full time job. Working a job with heart failure can be dangerous, yet the lack of income caused by an inability to work can result in significant financial stress. While it may seem like a vicious cycle, the good news is that Social Security Disability benefits may be the solution to this problem. Social Security Disability benefits can provide an individual who is suffering from heart failure with a monthly income as well as medical insurance to cover medical expenses.

    Qualifying for SSI and SSDI

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) operates two disability programs including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Each of these programs has its own criteria that an applicant must meet in order to qualify.

    To qualify for SSDI benefits, an applicant must have earned enough work credits through prior work history. As of 2014, for every $1,200 earned, a worker earns one work credits and can earn a total of four work credits each year. The number of credits needed to qualify for SSDI benefits will vary depending on your age.

    Unlike SSDI benefits, an applicant does not need any work history or work credits to qualify for SSI benefits. Instead, SSI is a needs-based program. Benefit eligibility is based on household income and assets. As of 2014, an individual cannot have a household income of more than $721 per month as an individual or $1,082 per month as a couple or household assets exceeding $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 for a couple in order to qualify for SSI benefits.

    For both SSDI and SSI benefits, an individual must meet the medical criteria set forth by the SSA to qualify.

    For more information on the disability programs visit: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/

    Meeting the Medical Criteria for Social Security Disability with Heart Failure

    When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will compare your condition to a listing of conditions known as the Blue Book. Each condition that could potentially qualify an individual for disability benefits is listed in this Blue Book, along with the criteria that must be met to qualify with each specific condition.

    Chronic heart failure is addressed in Section 4.02 of the Blue Book. According to the Blue Book, in order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to heart failure, you must be able to prove that:

    • You have been diagnosed with chronic heart failure while undergoing prescribed treatment; and
    • There is medically documented evidence of systolic failure with left ventricular end diastolic dimensions greater than 6.0 cm or ejection fraction of 30 percent or less during a period of stability or diastolic failure with left ventricular posterior wall plus septal thickness totaling 2.5 cm or greater on imaging with an enlarged left atrium greater than or equal to 4.5 cm with normal or elevated ejection fraction during a period of stability; and
    • Persistent symptoms of heart failure are present that seriously limit the ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities of daily living or there are three or more separate documented episodes of acute congestive heart failure within a 12-month period or you suffer an inability to perform on an exercise tolerance test at a workload equivalent to 5METs or less.

    For how do you apply for social security benefits information on qualifying for benefits with heart failure, visit: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/heart-failure-and-social-security-disability

    Applying for Disability Benefits

    You can apply for Social Security Disability benefits online or in person at your local Social Security office. You will be asked to fill out a number of forms, which you should complete with as much detail as possible, and you may be asked to attend a consultative exam. After completing the disability application process, you will receive a decision from the SSA within two to four months. If you are approved for benefits, this notice will tell you when benefits will begin, which benefits you will be receiving, and how much you will be receiving each month. If you are denied benefits, you have 60 days from the date of denial to appeal the SSA's decision to deny benefits.

    If you do need to pursue a Social Security Disability appeal, do not give up hope. A number of applicants who are denied during the initial stage of the application process go on to successfully receive benefits through the process of an appeal

    Источник: https://hfsa.org/applying-social-security-disability-benefits-heart-failure
    how do you apply for social security benefits

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