1. If a loved one, friend or neighbor receives Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits but is no longer physically or mentally able to take care of his or her financial affairs, you may want to consider becoming a representative payee. 

  2.   As a representative payee you will be able to help them with managing their money.  Being a representative payee is not the same as having power of attorney.  Even if you do have power of attorney, you will need to apply to be a representative payee in order to have the benefit payments made to you on the beneficiary’s behalf.

  3. Social Security conducts a careful investigation, then appoints a relative, friend or other interested party to serve as the representative payee.  This means that if you agree to be a representative payee and you are appointed, Social Security pays you the person’s benefits to use on his or her behalf.

  4. As a representative payee, you are responsible for using the benefit payments to help meet the basic needs of the beneficiary.  Primarily, the funds should be used to provide food, clothing, shelter, utilities and other essential needs for the person eligible for benefits.

  5. As a representative payee, you need to be aware of the beneficiary’s needs so you can decide how benefits can best be used for his or her personal care and well-being. Each year, Social Security will mail you a form to account for the benefits you have received.

Learn more by reading Social Security’s booklet, A Guide For Representative Payees, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10076.html.

  1. Yes. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/applyforbenefits to help your relative, neighbor, or friend apply for Social Security benefits online in one of the following ways.

  2. If you are completing the application information with your relative, neighbor, or friend, just click on the button on the first page of the Internet application that reads, "I am helping someone who wants to apply for benefits and is with me." When the application is complete, your relative, neighbor or friend must sign the application electronically by clicking the “Sign Now” button at the end of the application.

  3. You are not allowed to sign the Social Security application on your relative's, neighbor's, or friend's behalf. If you are completing an application for your relative, neighbor, or friend who is not with you, just click on the button that reads, "I am helping someone who is not with me, and therefore cannot sign the application at this time."

  4. When the application is complete, click the “Finish” button at the end of the application. An application will be mailed to your relative, friend, or neighbor for him or her to review, sign, and return to the Social Security Administration.

  1. The five month waiting period ensures that during the early months of disability, we do not pay benefits to persons who do not have long-term disabilities. 

  2. Social Security disability benefits can be paid only after you have been disabled continuously throughout a period of five full calendar months. Therefore, Social Security disability benefits will be paid beginning with the sixth full month after the date your disability began. 

  3. You are not entitled to benefits for any month in the waiting period. For this reason, a person should apply as soon as possible if they think they may qualify for disability benefits.

  4. You can call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment or you can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov

  1. For purposes of determining whether Social Security benefits are payable, a person's earnings for a taxable year are the sum of pay for services as an employee plus all net earnings from self-employment (minus any net loss from self-employment) for that year.

  2. Wages for Social Security purposes are gross wages - wages before any payroll deductions for income tax, Social Security tax, dues, insurance, or other deductions by the employer. Social Security uses gross wages as the basis for Social Security credit and for determining whether benefits must be withheld because of earnings. Non-work sources of income do not count as wages for the earnings test.

  3. This includes inheritance payments, pensions, income from investments, IRA distributions, interest, 401(k) distributions, or other sources. The Social Security retirement program insures against loss of earnings from work and not against the failure to have investment income.

  4. More information can be found in Social Security’s publication called "How Work Affects Your Benefits," available on the Internet at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10069.html

  1. Your Social Security benefit depends on your earnings. Generally, the higher your earnings, the higher your Social Security benefit.

  2. Under certain circumstances, special earnings can be credited to your military pay record for Social Security purposes.  The extra earnings are for periods of active duty or active duty for training. These extra earnings may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefits.

  3. The special military earnings are credited to the earnings that Social Security averages over your working lifetime, not directly to your monthly benefit amount. It is also important to understand that you can get both Social Security benefits and military retirement.

  4. You do not need to do anything until you apply for Social Security benefits.  When you file for retirement benefits you will be asked to provide proof of military service. 

Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits because of your military retirement benefits. You will get your Social Security benefit based on your earnings. You can refer to the SSA website for more details about this subject: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10017.html

  1. If you retire early, the monthly benefit amounts will be smaller to take into account the longer period you will receive them. If you retire late, you will get benefits for a shorter period of time but the monthly amounts will be larger to make up for the months when you did not receive anything.

  2. There are advantages and disadvantages to taking your benefit before your full retirement age. The advantage is that you collect benefits for a longer period of time. The disadvantage is your benefit is permanently reduced.

  3. Each person's situation is different. Remember that if you delay your benefits until after full retirement age, you may be eligible for delayed retirement credits up to age 70 that would increase your monthly benefit. 

  4. Keep in mind that there are other things to consider when making the correct decision about your retirement benefits. For example, your earnings from employment will be a factor until you reach full retirement age, so early benefits may not be an option for you.

  5. If you come from a long-lived family, you may need the extra money more in later years, particularly if you outlive other pensions or annuities that have limits on how long they are paid.

  6. Do you have other income to support you if you decide to delay the start of your benefits? If you stop working, not only will you lose your paycheck, but you may also lose valuable health insurance provided by your employer.  Will other family members qualify for benefits on your record?

  7. Lastly, if you decide to delay your benefits until after age 65, you should still apply for Medicare benefits within three months of your 65th birthday. If you wait longer, your Medicare medical insurance (Part B) may cost you more money.

  1. You should contact the office that is processing your application and tell them that you wish to change or add some information.

  2. You can find the name and address of the appropriate office on the application page called "What's Next," which you should have printed for your records.

  3. If you do not know what office is processing your claim, you may call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to speak to a representative.

  4. Social Security will stop the processing and/or payment of any benefits that are a result of the application you filed, and they will notify you in writing of any action(s) they take take.

  1. If you get Social Security benefits you can change your address online by answering a series of questions that have to match our records.

  2. You can also change your address on the Internet if you have established a permanent password. In either case, just go to www.socialsecurity.gov and click on the link “What You Can Do Online.”

  3. If you do not want to answer the questions that are asked online or you do not have a permanent password, you cannot submit a change of address online. Instead, you can either speak to a Social Security representative by calling the toll-free  1-800-772-1213.

  4. If you are not receiving benefits or Medicare, and do not have an overpayment or claim pending with Social Security, they  do not keep a record of your address. If you received a Social Security Statement with an incorrect address, those addresses came from the Internal Revenue Service and you must make the correction with the IRS, not Social Security.

  1. You can sign up or change your direct deposit account a couple of ways.

  2. (1) You can fill out a “Direct Deposit Sign Up Form” and take it to your financial institution or Social Security office.  The form is available at www.socialsecurity.gov/deposit/1199a.pdf

  3. (2) You can call Social Security toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and handle it over the telephone.

  4. (3) You can go online and get a password at https://secure.ssa.gov/acu/IPS_INTR/main.jsp  Then you can start or change your direct deposit instructions by going to www.socialsecurity.gov  This is only for Social Security benefits.

  5. Which ever way you choose to go, be sure to have your Social Security number and a personal check or statement from your new account.  Social Security will need information from these documents to create your new direct deposit.

  1. You can check the status of your pending Social Security application on the Social Security website, www.socialsecurity.gov 

  2. It doesn’t matter whether you applied for benefits online, in person, or on the phone.  And it doesn’t matter whether the application is for retirement, disability, survivors or spouse’s benefits. 

  3. You can get instant status on your claim at any computer with Internet access.  It is quick, easy, and secure. Go to the  www.socialsecurity.gov and select the “Check the status of your application” link on the upper, left-hand side.  Then enter the Social Security number and the confirmation number you were given when you applied.  It’s that simple. 

  4. While you are at the Social Security website, there are other things you can do.  For example, visit the “Questions” link for answers to hundreds of the most frequently asked Social Security questions.  You also can read Social Seurity’s online publications about benefits.

  1. Your Social Security benefit amount usually doesn’t stay the same.  The benefit amount increases each year and protects beneficiaries against inflation. Social Security provides an annual cost-of-living increase that is based on the consumer price index.

  2. The 2009 increase for beneficiaries is 5.8 percent. There is another way that your benefit might increase. When you work, you continue to pay Social Security taxes, even though you are receiving benefits. Social Security refigures your benefits to take into account your extra earnings.

  3. If the worker's earnings for the year are higher than the earnings that were used in the original benefit computation, Social Security substitutes the new year of earnings. The higher your earnings, the more your refigured benefit might be. Each case is different and Social Secuirty recomputes your benefit based on your lifetime earnings.

  4. You don’t have to do anything. A recomputation of your benefits will be done automatically in the year following the close of the year in which you worked. We usually complete all recomputations by September of the following year. If you are entitled to a higher benefit, it is retroactive to January of the year after the year when you had the additional earnings.

  1. Social Security recovers an overpayment by withholding the monthly Social Security check until the overpayment is paid in full.  There are also other methods of recovery.

  2.   There are also other methods of recovery.  For example, a payment arrangement can be initiated. This involves agreeing upon a monthly amount that will be deducted from future monthly benefits until the balance is paid in full. 

  3.   If the overpaid individual no longer receives Social Security payments, Social Security can recover the overpayment from the individual's federal tax refund. This is called the Tax Refund Offset.

  4.   Benefit overpayments can also be withheld from family benefits paid on the Social Security number holder's record.

  5.   The most important thing to remember is for an individual to notify Social Security timely of any events that might affect the amount of their benefit.

  1.     No.  Social Security count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you're self-employed.  Non-work income such as annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. 

  2. Most pensions will not affect your benefits.  However, your benefit may be affected by government pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax.  You can apply for retirement benefits online at www.socialsecurity.gov

  1. You are credited only with earnings for which you pay Social Security (also known as FICA) taxes. If you are an employee, you can find this information on your W-2.

  2. If you are self-employed, the amount is taken from the Schedule SE you file as part of your 1040 personal income tax return. Earnings from interest, dividends, and other sources (generally referred to as unearned income) are not included.

  3. Regardless of your total earnings for a year, Social Security counts only earnings that are subject to FICA tax.

  4. The contribution and benefit base is $106,800 for wages paid and self-employment income earned beginning in 2009. In other words, regardless of your wages or self-employment earnings for 2009, only the first $106,800 is taxed and only that amount is used in computing a benefit. However,

No. Social Security benefits are not payable for the month in which a beneficiary dies.

  1. This applies whether the person dies on the first or the last day of the month. This provision has been in the law since 1939 and can be changed only by an amendment to the Social Security Act. The legislative history of this provision does not show why benefits are not payable for the month of death. However, the provision complements the provision of the law that allows us to pay survivors benefits for the entire month of death.

The Social Security Administration is responsible for two major programs that provide benefits based on disability: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on prior work under Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

  1. Under SSI, payments are made on the basis of financial need. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons.  To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be "insured" for Social Security purposes. 

  2. Disability benefits are payable to blind or disabled workers, widow(er)s, or adults disabled since childhood, who are otherwise eligible.  The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.

  3. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program financed through general revenues.  SSI disability benefits are payable to adults or children who are disabled or blind, have limited income and resources, meet the living arrangement requirements, and are otherwise eligible. 

  4. The monthly payment varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate of $674 in 2009, which may be decreased by countable income and resources. 

If you become disabled a second time within five years after your previous disability benefits stopped, there is no waiting period before benefits start. 

  1. If your claim is approved, you can receive benefits for the first full month of disability. It can take from three to five months to get a decision on a disability claim, depending on how long it takes to obtain your medical records and any other information we need to decide whether you are disabled.  You can help shorten this time by providing as much information as possible when you apply for benefits. 

  2. For more information about applying for benefits, review the booklet, “Disability”, which is available at www.socialsecurity.gov under the link “Forms and Publications”.

You are automatically enrolled in Medicare after you get disability benefits for two years. Social Security starts counting the 24 months from the month you were entitled to receive Disability, not the month when you received your first check.

  1. People with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) get Medicare beginning with the month they become entitled to disability benefits.

  2. Medicare has two parts - hospital insurance and medical insurance. Hospital insurance helps pay hospital bills and some follow-up care. The taxes you paid while you were working financed this coverage, so it is premium free.

  3. The other part of Medicare, medical insurance, helps pay doctors' bills and other services. You will pay a monthly premium for this coverage if you want it.

For information about potential benefits on someone else's record, you should visit your local office. Privacy rules prohibit Social Security from giving you his or her record, so they can't give you his Statement. However, they can tell you what benefits you may be entitled to, after they have established your relationship to him.

  1. As a divorced spouse, you would need to establish that the two of you were married for at least 10 years. That means you will need to furnish your marriage and divorce records.

  2. Friday is the best day to visit the local SSA office. The hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  In the meantime you may want to read the booklet, “What Every Woman Should Know.” Here is the link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10127.html

You can appeal the decision, and the most convenient way to go about it is to appeal online.  An Internet appeal is a starting point to request a review of our decision about your eligibility for disability benefits. 

  1. If your application is denied for medical reasons, you can complete and submit the required appeal request online.  The disability appeal report asks you for updated information about your medical condition and any treatment, tests or doctor visits since Social Security  made its decision.  

  2. You will find it at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability

  3. If you were denied for non-medical reasons, you should contact your local Social Security office to request the review. 

  4. You can find your local office by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov and selecting “Find a Social Security Office.”  You also may call the toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), to request an appeal.   

Self-employed people must report their earnings and pay the taxes directly to the IRS. You are self-employed if you operate a trade, business or profession, either by yourself or as a partner.

  1. You report your earnings for Social Security when you file your federal income tax return. If your net earnings are $400 or more in a taxable year, you must report your earnings on Schedule SE for Social Security coverage purposes, in addition to the other tax forms you must file.

  2.   The Social Security tax rate for 2009 is 15.3 percent (the same as 2008) on self-employment income up to $106,800 (it was $102,000 in 2008). If your net earnings exceed $106,800, you continue to pay only the Medicare portion of the Social Security tax, which is 2.9 percent, on the rest of your earnings.

  3. There are two income tax deductions that reduce your tax liability. The deductions are intended to make sure self-employed people are treated in much the same way as employers and employees for Social Security and income tax purposes.

  4. First, your net earnings from self-employment are reduced by an amount equal to half of your total Social Security tax. This is similar to the way employees are treated under the tax laws in that the employer's share of the Social Security tax is not considered income to the employee.

  5.   Second, you can deduct half of your Social Security tax on the IRS Form 1040 (line 29). This means the deduction is taken from your gross income in determining adjusted gross income.

  6. It cannot be an itemized deduction and must not be listed on your Schedule C. The IRS is the authority on tax matters. For more detailed information on how the self-employed report their earnings please contact the IRS.

It is important that you review page 3 of the Social Security Statement you receive each year to make sure the earnings record is correct and that Social Security has recorded each year that you worked.

  1. You are the only person who can look at the earnings chart and know whether it is complete and correct. If  Social Security records are wrong, you may not receive all the benefits to which you are entitled. If some, or all, of your earnings from the last year are not shown on your Statement, it could be that they were processing last year's earnings reports when your Statement was prepared.

  2. Your complete earnings for the last year will be shown on the next Statement you receive. Call Social Security right away at 1-800-772-1213 if any earnings for years before last year are shown incorrectly. If possible, have your W-2 or tax return for those years available. If you do not have a current Statement, you can request one at the Social Security website, www.socialsecurity.gov

The Social Security Act defines the basic statute of limitations beyond which earnings ordinarily may not be corrected: 3 years, 3 months, and 15 days after the close of the taxable year in which wages are paid.

  1. However, the Act also defines exceptions to protect Social Security contributors from unfair treatment because of any delay on the part of the Social Security Administration in processing earnings.

  2. The exceptions permit Social Security to correct errors after the statute has expired and include authority for Social Security to confirm records with tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service. These exceptions also allow Social Security to correct errors due to employee omissions from processed employer reports or missing reports.

  3. Social Security is also able to correct errors "on the face of the record," that is, errors they can find by examining the records of processed reports; and include wages reported by an employer as paid to an individual but not shown in Social Security records.  

First, if you begin receiving Social Security benefits at age 62, the earliest possible age for receiving retirement benefits, your benefit amount will be lower than if you had waited until full retirement age. 

  1. Second, because of the years when you worked part-time and had low earnings, your benefit amount may be lower than if you had continued in your previous job paying the maximum. Your benefit payment is based on how much you earned during your working career. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits. 

  2. To test different retirement scenarios, we suggest you use our new Retirement Estimator. The Retirement Estimator produces estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. So you will be able to see the impact of your present and projected future earnings on your estimated benefit.

  3. This is particularly helpful for people who are near retirement and need to get more precise estimates.

Yes, you do. Whenever you work in a job that is covered by Social Security, your employer must deduct your Social Security and Medicare taxes from your salary and must pay the equal employer's share of the taxes. 

  1. This is true, regardless of your age. Your earnings will be reported to SSA every year just like any other worker's earnings.

  2. If you are self-employed while getting benefits and your net profit from your business is more than $400, that, too, is covered by Social Security and Medicare. You must report those earnings and pay the Social Security and Medicare taxes when you file your personal income tax return for the year.

  3. Earnings after retirement may help increase the amount of your benefits. Each year Social Security reviews the records for all Social Security recipients who work. If your latest year of earnings turns out to be one of your highest years, we refigure your benefit and pay you any increase due.

  4. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the authority on all tax matters including the collection of Social Security taxes. You can direct your questions to the IRS by calling their toll-free telephone number, 1-800-829-1040 or going to www.irs.gov

Sometimes.  About one third of beneficiaries pay taxes on their Social Security. 

  1. If your total income, including Social Security and all of your other taxable income, is $25,000 or more, you’ll need to pay federal taxes on your benefits.  That amount is $32,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

  2. You might also be asking, “Will I get a tax form for my Social Security benefits?”  Yes, and you should have already received it.  Social Security Benefit Statements (Form SSA-1099) for tax year 2008 were mailed to beneficiaries and should have been received by January 31, 2009.  

  3. If you receive Social Security and haven’t received your 1099, you can request one online at www.socialsecurity.gov

  4. Here is something else to consider. If you had a child in 2008, make sure they have a Social Security number. Most parents apply for their baby’s Social Security number while still in the hospital at the same time they apply for the birth certificate.  If you didn’t, you will need to apply for your child’s Social Security number in order to claim the child as a dependent on your tax return.

  5. There is one last thing.  If you’ve legally changed your name due to marriage, divorce, court order or for any other reason, make sure you change your name with Social Security.  Make sure you change your name with your employer as well.  If you change with one source but not the other, it could cause your earnings to be improperly recorded. 

Social Security urges you to carefully check your name, Social Security number and all of the data on your W-2s and on your Social Security Statement is correct.  A mismatch could delay your tax refund and might cause problems with your Social Security benefits in the future.  Such errors are easy to fix now.  If you do notice an error, you should contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or if the incorrect information is on the W-2s, contact the personnel department of your employer.

The earlier you prepare for the April 15 tax deadline, the easier it will be to file your taxes.  Here are two helpful hints as you begin getting ready for tax season.

  1. First of all, make sure your information matches what Social Security has.  Soon you will be receiving your W-2s from your employer(s) and tax information from the IRS.  Carefully check your name, Social Security number, all of the data on your W-2s, and on your Social Security Statement or card to make sure they match up. 

  2. Make sure the number and information is correct on your W-2s.  A mismatch could delay your tax refund and cause problems with your Social Security benefits in the future.  Such errors are easy to fix now.

  3. Secondly, go online if you cannot find your 1099.  Social Security Benefit Statements (Form SSA-1099) for tax year 2008 are automatically mailed to beneficiaries and should be received by January 31, 2009.  If you receive Social Security and have not received your 1099 in the mail by the end of January, but need it to file a tax return, just go online. 

  4. Beginning in February, you can request a replacement 1099 online at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/i1099/main.html

Although you are not required to have Federal taxes withheld from your Social Security benefit, you may find that easier than paying quarterly estimated tax payments.

  1. To have Federal taxes withheld, or to change your original withholding request, you will need to complete IRS Form W-4V.  You will have to select the percentage of the monthly benefit amount you want withheld. You can choose between 7, 10, 15, or 25 percent.  Then, sign and return the form to your local Social Security office. You can also mail it.

  2. To find the address of your nearest office just go to www.socialsecurity.gov The office locator is on the left hand side of the homepage.  You can obtain IRS Form W-4V from the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4v.pdf or by calling the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-829-3676.

  3. You will need the Adobe Reader software to view this file. You may also obtain the form by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.  You can call between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday to speak to a representative. It is best to call during the first or last hour.

Social Security number (SSN) but Social Security cannot place a fraud alert on your Social Security number. 

  1. There are several steps that you can take to protect yourself if you believe that your SSN has been compromised. If you suspect that someone else is using your SSN for work, or you have received notice from the IRS of unreported taxable income that is not yours, you should report the problem to SSA by calling 1-800-772-1213.

SSA representatives will take the appropriate action to ensure that your Social Security records are correct. If your SSN has been used to run up bills or to obtain credit, Social Security cannot straighten out your credit record. However, we suggest you take the following steps.

  ● Notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).
 ● File an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at
 ● File a report with the local police or the police department where the identity theft took place, and keep a copy of the police report as proof of the crime.
 ● Contact the fraud units of the three major credit-reporting bureaus.
  ● Call each creditor to report fraud for any account that has been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
  ● Close the credit accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Always keep your card in a safe place. Do not carry it with you unless you need it for a specific purpose.  You can prevent the loss or misuse of your card by keeping it with other valuable personal documents

The Office of the Inspector General investigates possible violations of section of the Social Security Act. That section of the law authorizes civil monetary penalties for misuse of certain Social Security words, symbols, or emblems. Please send the complete mailing (or a copy), including the envelope, along with a brief explanation, to: Office of Counsel to the Inspector General, Social Security Administration, Room 300, Altmeyer Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235.

Social Security

Questions & Answers



Can I receive the Social Security check on behalf of my mother?  She is in declining health and I help with all her bills.  What do I have to do?

Can I help a neighbor, friend or relative apply for Social Security benefits online?

Why is there a five-month waiting period for  Social Security disability benefits to begin?

What income counts toward the earnings test limit?

How do I get Social Security credit for my military service?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking benefits early instead of waiting to full retirement age?

I have already submitted my online application for Social Security benefits. but I need to change and add some information.  What should I do?

How do I notify Social Security that I have changed my address?

I use direct deposit to receive my monthly Social Security payments.  I’ve changed banks.  How do I change my direct deposit to my new bank?

How can I check the status of my application for Social Security benefits?

When I begin receiving benefits will the amount be the same for the rest of my life?

I received too much in Social Security benefits.  How will SSA recover the overpayment?

I’m about to retire and I get rental income from a prpoerty I won.  Does investment income count as earnings and affect my ability to collect Social Security benefits?

I have many sources of income.  What should I report in the earnings questions on the Social Security Statement request form?

My mother died February 25.  Is her estate entitled to the check which arrived march 3, which is for the month of February? If not, why not?

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI Disability?

I had a serious back injury four years ago and received disability benefits. Now my back problems have returned and I may not be able to continue working much longer.  I waited several months before I received my check the first time.  If I reapply for benefits, will my wait be as long as it was the first time?

Do I automatically get Medicare benefits if I’m eligible for disability benefits?

I am divorced, but I think I am eligible for benefits on my ex-husband’s record.  Can I get one of these Social Security Statements on his record?

I just got turned down for disabiity benefits.  Can I appeal the decision, or should I file a new application?

I am self-employed.  How do I pay my Social Security taxes?

How can I check my Social Security earnings for accuracy?

Is there a time limit for correcting my earnings statement?

I paid the maximum amount of Social Security taxes for many years and retired early.  Then I took part-time employment and I am now earning much less.  How will this affect my benefit at age 62 and at full retirement age?

I’m receiving Social Security benefits.  Do I still have to pay Social Security and Medicare tax on my earnings if I continue to work?

Are Social Security benefits taxable?

Does Social Security have any advice to make tax filing and future benefit applications easier?

This is the first year that I will complete a tax return showing that I also receive Social Security benefits.  What should I do to make sure I am prepared for this?

How can I have federal income taxes withheld from my Social Security check?

I believe my Social Security number has been compromised.  Can I put a fraud alert on my SSN?

I have received misleading advertising about Social Security.  How do I report this?

  1. If you did not receive a Social Security statement this year, request another personal statement from Social Security.  Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement.  Then click on the link, “Need to request a Statement?”.

  2. Fill in the following information to make your request: your name as shown on your Social Security card, your Social Security number, your date of birth, your place of birth, and your mother's maiden name-last name only.

  3. You also can provide the following information to make your estimate more accurate by providing your last year’s earnings and an estimate of your current and future earnings, and the age you plan to stop working.

  4. Once you make your request, Social Security will mail you a Statement, which should arrive in two to four weeks.  Give it a careful look to make sure your earnings and information are reported correctly, and contact Social Security if you find anything wrong. After you review your Statement, it is a good idea to keep it with your other important papers. 

  5.   If you want to go one step further in your retirement planning, use the Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. You can get an instant estimate of your future benefits based on your earnings record by entering various retirement age scenarios.

  1.   When you choose to retire - between age 62 and 70 - can dramatically affect your monthly Social Security benefit amount.

  2.   If you choose to receive benefits early, the monthly payments are reduced based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach full retirement age. The reduction rate depends on when you were born.  The maximum reduction at age 62 is 25% for people born between 1947 and 1958 and 30 percent for people born after 1959.

  3.   If you wait until your full retirement age, your benefits will not be reduced. 

  4.   If you choose to delay retirement, your benefit will increase up to eight percent a year from your full retirement age until age 70.  There is no additional benefit increase after you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.

  5. Social Security has an online calculator that can provide immediate retirement benefit estimates to help you plan for your retirement.  The online Retirement Estimator uses information from your own earnings record, and lets you create “what if” scenarios.  Try it at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator

  6. Read “When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10147.html. Retirement decisions are unique to everyone.  Make sure you are up to date with the important information you will need to make the choice that is right for you.

  1. No.  It is true that the full retirement age is gradually rising from 65 to 67, but “early” retirement age will remain at 62.  

  2. Keep in mind, however, that by taking early retirement, your benefits will be reduced.  For more information on the factors to consider, read the fact sheet “When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10147.html

  1. When you have more than one job in a year, each of your employers must withhold Social Security taxes on your wages without regard to what the other employers may have withheldYou may then end up with total Social Security taxes withheld that exceed the maximum.

  2. You can claim a refund of the excess taxes that were withheld on form 1040 when you file your personal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service.

  3. You should contact the IRS at http://www.irs.gov for more information on how to claim a refund of overpaid Social Security taxes. 

  1. To get benefits, a child must have a parent who is disabled or retired and entitled to Social Security benefits; or died after having worked long enough in a job where he or she paid Social Security taxes.

  2.   The child also must be unmarried and younger than age 18. If the child is 18-19 years old, they must be a full-time student (no higher than grade 12). A child who is 18 or older and disabled may also qualify for benefits on the record of a parent. The disability must have started before age 22.

  3. Within a family, a child may receive up to one-half of the parent’s full retirement or disability benefit, or 75 percent of the deceased parent’s basic Social Security benefit. 

  4.   There is a limit to the amount of money that can be paid to a family.  The maximum family payment can be from 150 to 180 percent of the parent’s full benefit amount. 

  5. Social Security offers an online publication, “Benefits for Children” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10085.html.

  1. If you are a spouse who has not worked or who has worked for very low wages, you could be entitled to a benefit equal to as much as one-half of your retired spouse's full benefit.  

  2. Even if you are divorced, you may be eligible for benefits based on the employment record of your former spouse. 

  3. To get benefits on your spouse’s record, you must be at least age 62 or have a qualifying child in your care — a child who is under age 16 or who receives Social Security disability benefits. The amount of your spousal benefit depends on your age at retirement.  

  4.   If you begin receiving benefits before full retirement age, your benefits will be permanently reduced in most cases. You may also be eligible for a retirement benefit based on your own earnings.  If that benefit is higher than the spousal benefit, Social Security would pay you the higher benefit. 

  5.   Compare which of the two benefits would be more beneficial to you, and consider your options.. If you have reached your full retirement age and are eligible for a spouse's benefit as well as your own retirement benefit, you may choose to receive the spouse's benefits only in order to continue accruing delayed retirement credits on your own Social Security record. 

  6.   Then you can file for benefits at a later date and receive a higher monthly benefit based on the effect of delayed retirement credits. There is a booklet about this subject located on Social Security’s website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10127.html

  1. Even if your spouse has never worked under Social Security, at full retirement age the spouse can receive a benefit equal to one-half of your full retirement amount.

  2. Your spouse can begin collecting the benefits as early as age 62, but the amount will be permanently reduced by a percentage based on the number of months up to his or her full retirement age.

  3. If your spouse is caring for your child who is also receiving benefits,  can receive the full one-half benefit amount no matter what his or her age is.

  4. Your spouse would receive these benefits until the child reaches age 16. At that time, the child's benefits continue, but your spouse's benefits stop unless he or she is old enough to receive retirement benefits (age 62 or older) or survivor benefits as a widow or widower (age 60).

  5. If your spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on his or her own record, we will always pay that amount first. However, if the spouse benefit on your record is a higher amount, he or she will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. It doesn't matter if your spouse starts getting benefits before, after, or at the same time you do--we will check both records to make sure that your spouse gets the higher amount whenever he or she becomes entitled to it.

  1. She would only be eligible for 50 percent if she waited until her full retirement age to apply on his record.

  2. A spouse can choose to retire as early as age 62, but doing so may result in a benefit as little as 32.5 percent of the worker's primary insurance amount.

  3. A spousal benefit is reduced 25/36 of one percent for each month before normal retirement age, up to 36 months. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is further reduced 5/12 of one percent per month.

  4. This reduction factor is applied to the base spousal benefit, which is 50 percent of the worker's primary insurance amount.

  5. For example, if the worker's primary insurance amount is $1,600 and the worker's spouse chooses to begin receiving benefits 36 months before his or her normal retirement age, Social Security will first take 50 percent of $1,600 to get an $800 base spousal benefit. Then they compute the reduction factor, which is 36 times 25/36 of one percent, or 25 percent. Applying a 25 percent reduction to the $800 amount gives a spousal benefit of $600.  In this example, the final spousal benefit is 37.5 percent of the primary insurance amount.

  1. Yes, you can. If you are receiving widows, widowers, or divorced widows or widowers benefits, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as early as age 62.

  2. This assumes you are eligible for retirement benefits and your retirement rate is higher than your rate as a widow or widower. In many cases, a widow or widower can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and then, at full retirement age, switch to the other benefit at an unreduced rate.

  3. Since the rules are complicated and vary depending on your situation, you may want to call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to make an appointment to talk with a Social Security representative about the options available to you.

  1. A former spouse can receive benefits under the same circumstances as a current spouse or widow/widower if the marriage lasted 10 years or more.

  2. Benefits paid to a surviving divorced spouse will not affect the benefit rates for other beneficiaries.

  3. Please note that in general, a person applying as a widow/widower cannot receive benefits if they remarry before the age of 60 (50 if disabled) unless the latter marriage ends, whether by death, divorce, or annulment. However, remarriage after age 60 (50 if disabled) will not prevent payments on a former spouse's record.

  4. For more information, call the SSA’s toll-free number (1-800-772-1213), and ask for the booklet “What Every Woman Should Know.” You can also view the booklet by going to www.socialsecurity.gov and clicking on the text link “Forms and Publications.” 

I didn’t get my Social Security statement yet.  How do I get one?

How does applying for Social Security benefits at age 62 or 67 impact the benefit amount?

Social Security’s full retirement age is rising from 65 to 67.  Does this mean the “early” retirement age will also go up from 62 to 64?

I worked more than one job this year and overpaid my Social Security tax.  How do I get a refund?

My husband wants to retire at age 62.  Will our 15 year-old son qualify for benefits?

Am I eligible for Social Security benefits from my spouse’s record?

My spouse doesn’t have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security or Medicare.  Can my spouse qualify on my record?

I thought a wife could receive 50% of her husband’s benefits if she waited until her full retirement age to apply on his record.

I want to start receiving a widow’s benefit at the earliest age possible - 60.  When I turn 62 can I switch to my own retirement benefit if it is more?

I was married to my “ex” for 10 years.  If I remarry, which spouse receives my benefits?

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