How To Apply For Social Security
For many years it was necessary to go down to the Socialsecurity office in person to file for benefits. Today, you can still file inperson, but you also have other options.
You can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to request anapplication. Or, even easier, you can apply for your retirement benefits at www.ssa.gov.
During your application, Social Security will gather aconsiderable amount of information about you. This may include the birth datesand marriage dates for you and your spouse. You may need to present youroriginal documents such as a marriage license, birth certificates, and taxreturns.
Bring in your W-2 for the last couple of years and youllalso want your bank account information so that you can set up direct depositof your benefits.
One way that you can be ultra-prepared for your Social Security application is to review your earnings records every year while you are still working. Individuals can sign up for an account at MySocialSecurity.gov. You should log in to your account every year and review your earnings history because eventually your benefit will be determined by the top 35 years of annual earnings during your lifetime.
What About Taxes On Social Security
Keep in mind that Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your combined income. Your combined income is equal to your adjusted gross income , plus non-taxable interest payments , plus half of your Social Security benefit.
As your combined income increases above a certain threshold , more of your benefit is subject to income tax, up to a maximum of 85%. For help, talk with a CPA or tax professional.
In any case, if you’re still working, you may want to postpone Social Security either until you reach your full retirement age or until your earned income is less than the annual limit. In no situation should you postpone benefits past age 70.
Getting A Social Security Number For A New Baby
The easiest way to get a Social Security number for your child is at the hospital after they are born when you apply for your childs birth certificate. If you wait to apply for a number at a Social Security office, there may be delays while SSA verifies your childs birth certificate.
Your child will need their own Social Security number so you can:
- Claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return
- Open a bank account in their name
- Get medical coverage for them
- Apply for government services for them
Keep your Social Security card in a safe place to protect yourself from identity theft.
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Obtain A Receipt Wait For Your Ssn Card
Anyone applying for a Social Security Number will receive a “receipt,” consisting of a form letter confirming that you have submitted an application. There are three different versions of this receipt, depending on circumstances:
- Your application is accepted and will take 10-14 days
- Your application is under processing and may take 1-3 months for review
- Your application has been rejected
If you got a receipt notice you are eligible to begin work. Show a copy of your receipt notice to your employer.
For more information, please see the following SSA publications:
Delayed Retirement Benefit Increases Are Also Permanent
Now lets consider on the other hand that Mary has the means to wait until age 70 to file for her benefits. She will earn 8% per year for every year that she waits to file, so this results in a permanent 24% increase in her monthly benefits.
Since her benefit at her FRA age would have been $2000, Mary will now take home $2,480/month for the rest of her life.
This is a significant increase and may be well worth waitingfor if Mary has the means to do so. We recommend discussing your SocialSecurity benefits with your financial advisor to determine what age you willfile at based on your own personal needs, budget, and any other income fromretirement savings.
Another consideration in deciding when to file should be your spouse. If you have a higher benefit check and you pass away, your spouse will be able to collect 100% of the benefit you were taking home or eligible to take home upon your spouses full retirement age.
So, if you delay enrollment until age 70 before filing for Social Security, you are also increasing the amount that your spouse can someday receive if you pass away first. We call this maximizing your Social Security benefits for your family and it should be a consideration in your retirement strategy.
Lastly, waiting beyond age 70 will not increase your benefits any further, so plan to file no later than age 70.
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How Are Social Security Disability Benefits Calculated
In a few words, the SSDI benefit amount you may receive monthly is calculated based on the average lifetime earnings that you have accumulated up to the point when you became disabled. You cannot be denied SSDI benefits because you have too many assets or unearned income however, the amount you receive may be affected by other income sources.
The benefits are calculated using your average indexed monthly earnings over a period of time. If you received paychecks from an employer and a portion of your check was withheld for Social Security taxes, those may count as covered earnings. If your employer was not required to collect Social Security taxes from your paycheck, your wages from that employer do not count as covered earnings and may reduce the amount you will receive for your SSDI benefits.
Are Social Security Benefits Taxed After Age 66
Once you reach full retirement age, Social Security benefits will not be reduced no matter how much you earn. However, Social Security benefits are taxable. If your combined income is more than $44,000, as much as 85% of your benefits may be subject to income taxes.
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How Social Security Approval Works
When you retire, a lot of questions cross your mind. The first question you should ask is when to claim social security benefits. See our article on When to Claim Social Security Benefits.
The next question after you decide to claim is: how long does it take to get my first social security check? It would be prudent to start by knowing how long it takes to apply for social security online. To your relief, the process will not take a lot of your time. Once your application is done and submitted, you will be wondering how long it takes to get social security approval.
Typically, it takes 6 weeks to process your application and for the benefits to start. However, it will take longer if you submit incorrect information. Also, the duration for approval will depend on the number of submissions the Social Security Administration will be processing at the time. Overall, the wait time is at least six weeks or longer depending on a number of factors.
You will need your social security number, birth certificate, and supporting financial documents when you apply. Tax return evidence and W-2 forms are also required for self-employed applicants.
For those not born in the USA, you should provide proof of citizenship. A certificate of citizenship or passport will be adequate. Also, marital information will be required.
Luckily, all these documents are not required at once when you apply. The SSA will send you notifications when they are required.
Know Your Social Security Full Retirement Age
First things first:Determine your Social Security full retirement age. For people born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66. If your birthday falls between 1955 and 1959, it gradually climbs to 67. If you are born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67.
You can claim your Social Security benefits a few years before or after your full retirement age, and your monthly benefit amount will vary as a result. More on that in a moment.
What Is The Future Of Social Security
Social Security is expected to run out of cash reserves in 2034, according to the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the retirement benefits account managed by the Social Security Administration.
However, this doesnt mean the program would be bankrupt and unable to pay out benefits. If Congress does nothing to reform the system by 2034, Social Security would still be able to pay 79 percent of promised benefits until 2090.
Social Security has run out of cash reserves before. Congress reformed the program in the 1980s by taxing benefits based on income levels and by gradually increasing the full retirement age from 65 to 67.
Early Benefits Can Still Pay Off
However, taking early benefits can still pay off despite the reduced monthly check. But youll want to be sure you budget for a reduced benefit.
No one can predict how long youll live, but if youre facing a potentially significant reduction in life expectancy and are short of income, taking Social Security early may be appropriate, Neiser says.
Married women are also good candidates for claiming early benefits because they are likely to outlive their husbands. Those widows then become eligible to receive the greater of either their benefit or their late husbands benefit.
However, this scenario works only if the husband does not claim his benefits early. By not claiming early benefits, the husband effectively increases the monthly benefit his wife eventually receives. So youll want to calculate how filing early will affect your spousal benefit here.
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How Do You Apply For Social Security Benefits
If you are eligible for Social Security benefits, you can apply online, by phone or by appointment at a local Social Security office.
How to Apply for Social Security Benefits
- Applying online is the easiest way to apply for Social Security benefits. The Social Security website allows you to apply for retirement, spouses, Medicare and disability benefits at the same site. You can also apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
- If you dont have Internet access, you can sign up by phone. You can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 .
- The Social Security Administration has restrictions on office visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. It does allow in-person visits for certain services. You should check with the SSAs Coronavirus page to see if you can make an in-person appointment at your local office.
How Long Does It Take For A Social Security Application To Be Approved
Generally, it takes about 3 to 5 months to get a decision. However, the exact time depends on how long it takes to get your medical records and any other evidence needed to make a decision. * How does Social Security make the decision? We send your application to a state agency that makes disability decisions.
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What If I Take Benefits Early
If you choose to receive your Social Security check up to 36 months before your full retirement age, be aware that your benefit is permanently reduced by five-ninths of 1% for each month.
If you start more than 36 months before your full retirement age, the benefit is further reduced by five-twelfths of 1% per month, for the rest of retirement.
For example, let’s assume that you stop working at age 62. If your full retirement age is 66 and 2 months you elect to start benefits at age 62, the reduced benefit calculation is based on 50 months. This means that the reduction for the first 36 months is 20% and 5.83% for the remaining 14 months. Overall, your benefits would be permanently reduced by 25.83%.
Effect of early retirement on benefits
1.Represents Full Retirement Age based on DOB Jan. 2, 1955
2.PIA = The primary insurance amount is the basis for benefits that are paid to an individual
What Is The Maximum Amount You Can Earn While Collecting Social Security In 2020
The Social Security earnings limits are established each year by the SSA. For 2020, those who are younger than full retirement age throughout the year can earn up to $18,240 per year without losing any of their benefits. After that, you ll lose $1 of annual benefits for every $2 you make above the threshold.
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Understanding Your Full Retirement Age
Though you can begin benefits as early as age 62, you need to understand how filing earlier than your Full Retirement Age will reduce your monthly benefit.
You will reach your Full Retirement Age will be based uponthe year you were born.
People born between 1943 1954 attain their FRA when they turn 66. If you were born later than this, Social Security adds two months for every year later that you were born. So, for example, someone born in 1955 will attain their FRA at 66 and two months, while someone born in 1956 will attain FRA at 66 and four months.
Anyone born in 1960 or later will attain their FRA at age67.
The sliding scale is based on some legislation that was passed years ago to try to help Social Security stay in good financial shape. By changing the age at which beneficiaries reach their FRA, this legislation helped to extend the number of future years that Social Security would be able to continue paying out benefits.
The Social Security website offers a number of great online calculators to help you determine your benefit level based upon when you file. The main thing to keep in mind is that the earlier you file, the lower your monthly check will be.
How Far In Advance Do I Need To Apply For Social Security
Financial Safety Planning, Inc.
As we speaks column addresses questions on when youll be able to submit your utility to start advantages, Social Safetys earnings take a look at, working half time whereas receiving incapacity advantages and what occurs to cash paid in Social Safety taxes however not collected. Larry Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston College and the founder and president of Financial Safety Planning, Inc, which markets Maximize My Social Safety and MaxiFi Planner.
See extra Ask Larry solutions right here.
Have Social Safety questions of your individual youd like answered? Ask Larry about Social Safety right here.
How Far In Advance Do I Want To Apply For Social Safety?
Hello Larry, I flip 70 in January. How far upfront do I would like to use for Social Safety? My neighbor insists that you have to apply 4 months earlier than your advantages can begin. He says that as a result of Ive waited, the earliest I can get advantages is now March. However your solutions to different questions appear to point that this isnt true. My neighbor nevertheless is adamant and he has already utilized. He stated that is the way it labored for him however he made positive to use 4 months earlier than his birthday. He says theres nothing I can do about it now. Is he proper? Thanks, Janet
Hello Janet, Your neighbor is incorrect. He is misunderstanding Social Safetys steerage about submitting.
How A lot Can I Work And Earn If Ive Reached Retirement Age?
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Go To A Social Security Administration Office
To apply for an SSN, you must go to a Social Security Administration office in person.
Locating an SSA Office
To find the nearest Social Security Office, you can enter your zip code in the SSA locator. Two popular SSA locations include:
- Downtown location :
- J-1 students ONLY :
- For On Campus Jobs: employer letter signed by employer and SSN support letter from OIA. Original signatures are required on letters.
- For Academic Training: DS-2019 with AT authorization and SSN support letter from OIA. Original signatures are required on letters.
Please also review the Social Security Administration Publication “International Students and Social Security Numbers” for additional information.
Ask Larry: How Far In Advance Do I Need To Apply For Social Security
Economic Security Planning, Inc.
Todays column addresses questions about when you can submit your application to begin benefits, Social Securitys earnings test, working part time while receiving disability benefits and what happens to money paid in Social Security taxes but not collected. Larry Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston University and the founder and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc, which markets Maximize My Social Security and MaxiFi Planner.
Have Social Security questions of your own youd like answered? Ask Larry about Social Security here.
How Far In Advance Do I Need To Apply For Social Security?
Hi Larry, I turn 70 in January. How far in advance do I need to apply for Social Security? My neighbor insists that you must apply four months before your benefits can start. He says that because Ive waited, the earliest I can get benefits is now March. But your answers to other questions seem to indicate that this is not true. My neighbor however is adamant and he has already applied. He said thats how it worked for him but he made sure to apply four months before his birthday. He says theres nothing I can do about it now. Is he right? Thanks, Janet
Hi Janet, Your neighbor is wrong. Hes misunderstanding Social Securitys guidance about filing.
How Much Can I Work And Earn If Ive Reached Retirement Age?
Hi Larry, I have reached my retirement age. How much can I earn if I still work full time? Thanks, Stephen
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