You Can Undo A Social Security Claiming Decision
There aren’t many times in life you can take a mulligan. But Social Security offers you the chance for a do-over. Say you claimed your benefit, but soon thereafter wish you had waited to take it. Within the first 12 months of claiming Social Security benefits, you can withdraw the application. You will need to pay back all the benefits you received, including any spousal benefits based on your record. But you can later restart your Social Security benefits at the higher amount youll earn by waiting.
Early claimers have another opportunity for a do-over: They can choose to suspend their Social Security benefit at full retirement age. Say you took your benefit at age 62. Once you turn full retirement age, you can suspend your benefit. You don’t have to pay back what you have received, and your benefit will earn delayed retirement credits of 8% a year. Wait to restart your benefit at age 70, and your monthly payment will get up to a 32% boost — which could erase much of the reduction from claiming early.
How Your Social Security Benefits Are Earned
To be eligible for Social Security benefits in retirement, you must earn at least 40 “credits” throughout your career. You can earn as many as four credits a year, so it takes 10 years of work to qualify for Social Security.
In 2021, you must earn $1,470 to get one Social Security work credit and $5,880 to get the maximum four credits for the year.
Ssa Income Limits For Disability Benefits
The 2015 monthly income limit for individual SSI claimants is $733. This number is called the Federal Benefit Rate, or FBR. The FBR represents not only the maximum earnings per month but also the maximum payment a claimant can receive each month. In other words, you can neither earn nor receive more than $733 per month. The FBR for couples is higher: $1,100 per month.
If you earn more than the FBR, dont panic. You could still potentially qualify, because some of your earnings dont count toward the FBR. The SSA uses a complex formula to determine how much of your income is countable, and certain portions of your income and earnings are excluded. For example, the SSA does not count any of the following:
- The first $20 of your monthly income.
- Income tax refunds.
- Loans that youre responsible for repaying.
- Need-based assistance you receive from the state of Pennsylvania or New Jersey.
- The value of SNAP .
Finally, you must also have limited resources. Your resources include all and any of the following:
Applying For Ssdi On A Deceased Spouses Record
Many non-working spouses play important roles in their family as caregivers for children or homemakers. If the working spouse has passed away and the non-working spouse becomes disabled, they may be able to get benefits using their deceaseds spouses record instead of their own. This only applies in limited situations, but it can help widows and widowers get the benefits they need, potentially at a higher rate than they would be able to get under SSI.
Unfortunately, these benefits are not available to everyone. You have to be between the ages of 50 and 60, and your condition must have already started before your spouse passed away or within 7 years after their death. This means that disabled spouses who rely on their spouses income can receive benefits if their spouse passes. This is also beneficial for spouses who perhaps receive a disability in the same accident that killed their spouse.
This is unfortunately limited in who it can cover, but it is one way to get disability benefits without work history of your own. If you are younger than 50 and your spouse has passed away, the SSA essentially expects you to return to the workforce on your own or to apply for SSI benefits instead of SSDI.
Benefits For Your Family
If youre getting Social Security retirement benefits, some members of your family may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. If they qualify, your ex-spouse, spouse, or child may receive a monthly payment of up to one-half of your retirement benefit amount. These Social Security payments to family members will not decrease the amount of your retirement benefit.
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Earn Ssa Work Credits In Some Countries
You may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.
How To Get A Social Security Card
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Can You Collect Social Security If You Never Paid Into It
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California Adjusted Gross Income
You must have $1 to $75,000 of California AGI to qualify for GSS II. Only certain income is included in your CA AGI . If you have income that’s on this list, you may meet the CA AGI qualification. To receive GSS II and calculate your CA AGI, you need to file a complete 2020 tax return by October 15, 2021. Visit Ways to file, including free options, for more information.
Income included in CA AGI
Generally, these are included in your CA AGI:
- Wages and self-employment income
- Gains on a sale of property
Visit Income types for a list of the common types of income.
Income excluded from CA AGI
Generally, these are not included in your CA AGI:
- Social Security
- Supplemental Security Income /State Supplementary Payment and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants
- State Disability Insurance and VA disability benefits
- Unemployment income
You would generally not qualify for GSS II if these were your only sources of income. However, if you have income that is included in CA AGI in addition to this list, you may qualify for GSS II.
If you receive Social Security
You may be wondering whether or not you qualify for GSS II if you receive Social Security income. Social Security income is not included in CA AGI. However, if you have $1 or more of CA AGI , you may qualify for GSS II.
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You Can Claim Social Security Benefits Earned By Your Ex
Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you’ve lost the ability to get a Social Security benefit based on your former spouse’s earnings record. You can receive a benefit based on his or her record instead of a benefit based on your own work record if you were married at least 10 years, you are 62 or older, and single.
Like a regular spousal benefit, you can get up to 50% of an ex-spouse’s benefit — less if you claim before full retirement age. And the beauty of it is that your ex never needs to know because you apply for the benefit directly through the Social Security Administration. Taking a benefit on your ex’s record has no effect on his or her benefit or the benefit of your ex’s new spouse. And unlike a regular spousal benefit, if your ex qualifies for benefits but has yet to apply, you can still take a benefit on the ex’s record if you have been divorced for at least two years.
Note: Ex-spouses can also take a survivor benefit if their ex has died after the divorce, and, like any survivor benefit, it will be worth up to 100% of what the ex-spouse received. If you remarry after age 60, you are still eligible for the survivor benefit.
A claiming strategy if youre divorced: Exes at full retirement age who were born on January 1, 1954, or earlier can apply to restrict their application to a spousal benefit while letting their own benefit grow.
Beware The Social Security Earnings Test
Bringing in too much money in earned income can cost you if you continue to work after claiming Social Security benefits early. With what is commonly known as the Social Security earnings test, you will forfeit $1 in benefits for every $2 you make over the earnings limit, which in 2021 is $18,960. Once you are past full retirement age, the earnings test disappears, and you can make as much money as you want with no impact on benefits.
Any Social Security benefits forfeited to the earnings test are not lost forever. At your full retirement age, the Social Security Administration will recalculate your benefits to take into account benefits lost to the test. For example, if you claim benefits at 62 and over the next four years lose one full years worth of benefits to the earnings test, at a full retirement age of 66 your benefits will be recomputed — and increased — as if you had taken benefits three years early, instead of four. That basically means the lifetime reduction in benefits would be 20% rather than 25%.
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Survivor Or Dependent Benefits
The only way to receive Social Security benefits if you have not worked is if you are the dependent or spouse of a deceased worker. Each month, millions of workers pay a portion of their income to the Social Security Administration, and later will be allowed to rely on a modest income in retirement. However, some of the money collected each month goes towards the distribution of payments for survivors of beneficiaries who had paid in or were receiving Social Security benefits.
Survivors can receive Social Security benefits from a decreased beneficiaries and work at the same time. The Social Security Administration does warn, however, that if you have a total income above a certain limit, the benefits will be reduced, but not lost. Once the survivor or spouse reaches retirement age, the amount withheld will be added to their benefit amount.
If you are eligible to receive survivor benefits it is important to claim them quickly, as they are not retroactive in many cases.
How many spouses or survivors receive benefits?
In 2020, around 11 percent of Social Security benefits were sent to the survivors of deceased workers. In economic terms, the total amount sent to the almost six million survivors was $7.9 billion.
Working And Earning Work Credits
There is a chart available to understand how many work credits and years of work are required based on your age. In order to earn work credits, you need to work and pay into Social Security. In 2020, you must earn $1,410 to earn one work credit.
Younger workers can qualify for disability benefits with fewer work credits. If you become disabled before age 24, you must have earned 6 credits in the three years prior to the onset of your disability. If you become disabled between age 24 and 31, you need credits for half the time between age 21 and the onset of your disability. For example, if you become disabled at age 29, you would need four years of prior work, or 16 credits.
You will also need to have worked recently to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. If you worked in your youth but took off 6 years to raise a family, you will no longer qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Most SSDI recipients need to have worked recently, usually any 5 of the past 10 years.
If you have worked intermittently, but have earned income within the past couple of years, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
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Can A Person Who Has Never Worked Collect Social Security
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Do Immigrants Over 65 Qualify For Social Security
Most people who immigrate to the United States after reaching retirement age have not accumulated the requisite 40 work credits to qualify for U.S. Social Security unless they worked in the country for a cumulative 10 years when they were younger.
However, those who are able to legally work in the U.S. for a year and a half after arriving, and who earn at least $1,470 per quarter , may qualify to receive prorated U.S. Social Security benefits, under a totalization agreement with their countries of origin.
A totalization agreement is an arrangement between two countries with similar social security programs that ensures workers and their employers dont pay social security taxes on the same earnings in both countries. It also prevents individuals from double-dipping when they claim benefits. The U.S. has such agreements with the following countries:
- The United Kingdom
An immigrant who comes to the U.S. from Italy, for example, and has some work history in both countries, but not enough to fully qualify for Social Security benefits in either country, can combine his or her foreign and domestic work history in order to qualify for Social Security benefits, explains investment advisor Mark Hebner.
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Myth #: You Must Claim Your Social Security Benefit At Age 62
Some people think you have to start claiming your Social Security benefits at age 62. That’s a myth: 62 is the earliest age you can claim your benefit, but it’s not the only age to do so.
Your base benefit is calculated according to your “full retirement age,” or FRA, and your FRA is determined by your date of birth. The Social Security Administration calculates your base Social Security benefit based on your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most .
Tip: You’ll find your FRA at Social Security’s website, SSA.gov, or on a paper statement mailed to you by the SSA. If you were born between 1955 and 1959, your FRA is 66 plus some months. If you were born in 1960 or later, your FRA is 67.
If you claim Social Security benefits any time before your FRA, you lock in a permanent reduction in monthly income. Claiming at 62 translates to a reduced monthly income of 25% to 30%, relative to your FRA monthly benefit. That means you may receive a lot less monthly retirement income, every year, for potentially several decades. A key consideration for when you claim Social Security benefits is maximizing your income for a retirement that could last longer than 30 years.
Wait until age 70 and lock in a “bonus”:
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No 2 Survivors Benefits If You Are A Widow
If your husband has died and you are a widow, you can collect survivors benefits beginning at age 60. As long as your husband worked long enough to qualify for benefits, you can apply.
Typically, a person needs to earn wages from a job or self-employment for at least 10 years or earn 40 credits.
However, the younger a person is when they died the fewer credits needed in order to collect survivors benefits.
Important You cannot apply for these benefits online. Check the details on survivors benefitson the Social Security Administrations website for more details.
In addition to survivors benefits, you may qualify for a one-time payment of $255.00 if you were living with your husband at the time of his death, or were receiving benefits on his record.
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How To Receive Federal Benefits
To begin receiving your federal benefits, like Social Security or veterans benefits, you must sign up for electronic payments with direct deposit.
If You Have a Bank or Credit Union Account:
- Call the Go Direct Helpline at .
If You Don’t have a Bank or Credit Union Account:
- Direct Express debit card – a pre-paid debit card. Get help by calling the Go Direct Helpline at .
Make Changes to an Existing Direct Deposit Account:
Learn how to make changes to an existing direct deposit account. You also may contact the federal agency that pays your benefit for help with your enrollment.
Can You Get Disability Benefits If You Have Never Worked
\The overlap between different Social Security Administration benefits programs can get confusing. SSI, SSDI, retirement benefits, concurrent benefits, survivors benefits, benefits for adults, benefits for children, benefits for widows and widowers the list goes on and on. Each benefits program comes with its own set of eligibility criteria, and the standards for employment can vary dramatically.
In general, you can apply for disability benefits without a work history, but you need to choose the right program or apply on a family members employment record instead. A lawyer can help you figure out if you are eligible based on someone elses record or determine whether need-based SSI benefits are the best program to apply for.
For help with your disability application and eligibility, call our Pennslyvania Social Security disability lawyers at Young, Marr & Associates today at 515-2954 in Pennsylvania or 557-3081 in New Jersey. We offer free legal consultations.
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