Social Security is essentially taxpayer-funded public insurance.                                                                 The program was originally designed to protect citizens when they encounter situations that make it difficult for them to provide for themselves. These protections include old age, unemployment and disability.  Over the years, the program has expanded to cover many more citizens and circumstances.

What Exactly Is       

Social Security?

How Much Does Social Security Pay?

Who Qualifies For  Social Security?

The Social Security Administration regulates who receives Social Security income.                      In most cases, Social Security income is available to people aged 62-67 and older, retired or disabled individuals who meet specifically defined Social Security Program rules and guidelines.  See http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook-toc.html

On average Social Security replaces about 40% of your average paycheck.                     The amount of Social Security retirement benefits you receive depends on how many years you worked in the U.S. before retiring. As of 2009, the maximum benefit for a person who worked at least 35 years is $2,323 a month.  Benefits for spouses and other Social Security beneficiaries is different. For the most current calculations click on     http://www.ssa.gov/estimator/

How Do The U.S.  Taxpayers Fund Social Security?

Social Security benefits are collected through payroll taxes paid by current                      workers and paid out to beneficiaries when they meet specific criteria.                                                                    Most workers and employers are required to pay Social Security tax. The Social Security         tax is actually two taxes. One is used to provide retirement, survivors and disability         pensions.  The other tax (the Medicare tax) is used to supplement the premiums paid by those who are eligible for Medicare insurance.

You should apply for social security online or in person at the age of 62.                                     When you apply you will be asked to provide identification and fill out the appropriate application documents.  To find complete information see the Social Security Handbook at: http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook-toc.html

When Should I Apply For Social Security Benefits?

Do you know how much income you will need for retirement?

Find information and retirement calculators on insurance, financial planning and major financial investment websites on AsYouAge.

What Are Survivors or Spousal Benefits?

It is important for your spouse, your family, executor and/or representative to know                             what Social Security benefits may still be available to them if you die.                                                                                                              If you regularly contribute to Social Security through your payroll tax deductions, some of those taxes go toward the cost of survivor’s insurance.  When you die, your surviving spouse and children can apply for  survivors’ benefits. Three groups are eligible for social security survivor's benefits: spouses, children and dependent parents.


Click the link below for the most current information, guidelines and appropriate application forms:  http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ww&os2.htm


You can review Chapter 4 of the Social Security Handbook by clicking on the following link: http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.04/handbook-toc04.html

What is SSI, or Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a tax-payer funded, federally-run                                 financial aid program designed to help aged, blind and disabled adults                                     and children who have limited resources and little or no income.                                                                                                                              SSI income benefits are also available to people 65 and older who do not have disabilities, but who meet certain financial limits. It provides qualified beneficiaries with money to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. Funds for SSI are not taken out of payroll social Security taxes; they come our of the federal government’s the general fund. 


Find out more in Chapter 21 of the Social Security Handbook by clicking on this link:            http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.21/handbook-toc21.html


You can apply online for Supplemental Security Income benefits by clicking on this link:      http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/links_ssi.htm

What Is SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance is a financial assistance program that                                 pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a long-term                             medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.                                                                                              You also qualify for Medicare coverage automatically after you have received                     disability benefits for two years. Certain family members of disabled workers                             also can receive money from Social Security under this program. 


Other government programs provide benefits to people with a partial disability or                 short-term disability and cannot work, but SSDI only provides benefits for those who                 meet this very strict legal definition of disability.  


More complete information on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is  available at     http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10029.pdf and in Spanish at http://www.ssa.gov/espanol/10929.html

You can apply for Disability Benefits from Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov You can also call Social Security Monday through Friday from 7AM to 7PM at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY at 1-800-325-0778) to make an appointment to file a disability claim at your local Social Security office or to set up an appointment apply over the telephone.

The disability claims interview lasts about one hour. If you schedule an appointment,                     a Disability Starter Kit will be mailed to you. The Disability Starter Kit will help you                     get ready for your disability claims interview. You can also get the Social Security Disability Starter Kit at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilitty

How Do I Apply  For Social Security Disabilty Benefits?               

Apply to receive Social Security benefits online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityonline/

You can fill out and submit a step-by-step application. It is easy to follow and takes about 15 minutes.

You can also apply by phone or in person at any Social Security office. Call 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778, Monday through Friday between 7 AM and 7 PM.  Tell the representative you want to apply for Social Security Retirement Benefits.  

If you live outside the United States and its territories, contact the nearest U.S. Social Security office, U.S. Embassy or Consulate (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/foreign/), or the Veterans Affairs Regional Office (VARO) in the Philippines.

How Do I Apply     For Social Security?

It takes a long time to process an application for disability benefits - from three to five months - so it is important to apply for these benefits as soon as you become disabled.            

To apply for disability benefits:                                                                                           

    (1) Complete an application for Social Security Benefits  www.socialsecurity.gov

    (2) Fill out the Social Security Disability Report.

You can complete the Disability Report online at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/3368 You also can print out the Disability Report, complete it and return it to your local Social Security office.

In addition to the basic application for disability benefits, there are other forms you will need to fill out. One form collects information about your medical condition and how it affects your ability to work. Other forms give doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals who have treated you permission to send us information about your medical condition.

Even if you don’t have all the information together at first, it is still wise begin the application process as soon as you become disabled.  Social Security may be able to assist in getting the information you need.

When Is The Best Time To Apply For Disability Benefits?

To complete your Disability Benefits Application you will need to provide at least the following information:

•Your Social Security number;

•Your birth or baptismal certificate;

•Names, addresses and phone numbers of the doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics that took care of you and dates of your visits;

•Names and dosage of all the medicine you take;

•Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers that you already have in your possession;

•Laboratory and test results;

•A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did; and

•A copy of your most recent W-2 Form (Wage and Tax Statement) or, if you are self-employed, your federal tax return for the past year.


In addition to the basic application for disability benefits, there are other forms you will need to fill out. One form collects information about your medical condition and how it affects your ability to work. Other forms give doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals who have treated you permission to send the information about your medical  condition to the Social Security’s Disability Benefits division.

Is There Any Other Information I Will Need to Provide?

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Social Security is the primary income source for older, widowed, retired, Veteran and disabled Americans.

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