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How To Apply For Social Security Benefits By Phone

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Paying Taxes On Your Retirement Benefits

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

Social Security retirement benefit recipients must pay Federal income taxes on their benefits. Due to personal income levels, about one-third of recipients actually have to pay some amount annually.

Each year, the Social Security Administration will mail recipients a Form SSA-1099 that shows the amount of benefits received during the preceding year. This form should be used to complete tax returns and help determine in any taxes are owed.

As a general rule, if you file as an individual and your combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay taxes on up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefits. If your combined income is more than $34,000 you may be required to pay taxes on up to 85 percent of your benefits.

If you file a joint return and you and your spouses income is between $32,000 and $44,000, then 50 percent of your benefits may be taxed. If your combined income is about $44,000, then up to 85 percent of your benefits may be subject to income tax.

To assist with tax planning, Social Security can withhold Federal taxes throughout the year for benefit recipients which may be preferable to making quarterly estimated tax payments.

Eligibility For Social Security Spousal Benefits

Before applying for benefits, you should be married for at least a full year. In addition, your spouse must have already started to collect benefits and youll need to be at least 62 years old.3

If youve experienced multiple marriages and/or divorces, its up to you to choose whichever spousal benefit is more impactful, given the other requirements have been met. Additionally, if you have employment experience you may be eligible for a personal benefit. In this case, you may receive your own benefit if it is greater than the spousal benefit in question.

Information You Need To Apply For Social Security Over The Phone

When you are ready to submit your Social Security application by phone, be ready to answer specific questions about your eligibility. The representative you speak with will need to ask you questions that relate to:

  • Personal information. Social Security office case workers need to know your name, Social Security Number , where you were born and your native language.
  • Work history. In order to submit your SS application, you need to answer questions regarding how long you worked and paid Social Security taxes. You also must report if you had any recent work-related injuries.
  • Military service. If you served in the military, you need to inform your SS office when you apply for benefits.
  • Your family. You need to report information relating to your children, as well as your current or past marriages.
  • Income. You cannot file your Social Security application unless you report your earnings.

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If You’re Not Sure Why You Received A Payment

Contact the authorizing agency directly to find out why they sent the payment. You may be able to find the authorizing agency in the memo line of the check. View this diagram of a sample Treasury check to help you locate the authorizing agency contact information on your own check. Scroll about half way down the page to see the diagram.

If you’re unable to find which agency authorized the payment, . They can help you determine which government agency you need to contact. To find which RFC you need to call, look for its city and state at the top center of the check.

Use the Treasury Check Verification System to verify that the check is legitmate and issued by the government.

If You’re Ready To File For Social Security Benefits Here Are Five Steps To Guide You


Are you ready to apply for Social Security benefits? Have you made your retirement plan, run the different scenarios, and decided that now’s the time? Unfortunately, Social Security offices are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, so you can’t just walk in and discuss it with a counselor. There are, however, several other ways to claim your benefits, and they’re much simpler than walking into an office.

Luckily, the Social Security Administration is performing all services via telephone or online. It’s easiest to do it online, but if you’re having difficulty navigating the website, you can make an appointment with a Social Security representative for a telephone consultation. Here are five steps to guide you through the process.

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Eligibility For Retirement Benefits

When you work and pay Social Security taxes , you earn Social Security credits. Most people earn a maximum of four credits per year. In 2021, you earn one Social Security or Medicare credit for every $1,470 in covered earnings each year. You must earn $5,880 to get the maximum four credits for the year. The number of credits you need to get retirement benefits depends on your date of birth. If you were born in 1929 or later, you need 40 credits . People born before 1929 need fewer than 40 credits .

If you stop working before you have enough credits to qualify for benefits, your credits will remain on your Social Security record. If you return to work, later on, you can then add credits so that you may qualify. No retirement benefits can be paid until you have the required number of credits.

If you are like most people, however, you will earn many more credits than you need to qualify for Social Security. While these extra credits do not increase your Social Security benefit, the income you earn while working will increase your benefit.

Leaving The United States

If you are a U.S. citizen, you can travel or live in most foreign countries without affecting your eligibility for Social Security benefits. Your checks can be sent there. However, there are a few countries where Social Security will not send your checks. If you work outside the United States, different rules apply in determining whether you can get your benefit checks.

Most people who are neither U. S. residents nor U.S. citizens will have up to 15 percent of their benefits withheld for federal income tax.

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Information Needed To Apply

The application process should not take long, but you’ll need to have certain information on hand to make sure it goes smoothly, including the following when applicable:

  • Date and place of birth
  • Names and birthdays of children who are disabled, unmarried, and/or 18 or younger, or 18 or 19 and attending school full-time
  • U.S. military service information if applicable
  • Employer or self-employment details for the current year and prior two years
  • Bank direct-deposit information

The form will also ask about additional income and whether you have previously applied for SSI, other Social Security benefits, or Medicare.

If you’re married, your spouse may qualify for spousal benefits from Social Security as well. You’ll also need your spouse’s Social Security number, birth date, and other pertinent information when you apply. If your spouse signs up for Social Security benefits, he or she will have to provide the same information about you, too. If you are divorced, you may have to include your ex-spouse’s information.

How To Apply Online

How do I apply for Social Security Disability benefits?

For many applicants, submitting a Social Security benefits request online is the most convenient option. This method is usually available to applicants whose eligibility is based on meeting federal retirement, disability or spousal benefits criteria. Surviving family members and children are not generally eligible for application submission online.

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Social Security Application Process

If youre ready to apply for Social Security benefits, youve probably already given some thought to things like when you want your benefits to start or what kind of documents you might need to apply. A lot of that will will of course depend on the type of benefits youre seeking.

Applying for retirement benefits, for example, is usually less complicated than applying for disability benefits. Still, it helps to know what to expect if you plan to apply for Social Security benefits. Here, well explain the application process for benefits for retirement, spousal and survivors benefits Social Security Disability Insurance , and Supplemental Security Income .

About Benefits For Surviving Family Members And Children

Surviving family members of a person who was awaiting Social Security benefits but is now deceased can also receive assistance. To access benefits in this situation, applicants must provide the following additional information:

  • Employment history for any adults contributing to the household
  • Disability history of any adults or minors living in the household
  • Names and information about any minors living in the household
  • Information about any childrens other legal guardians or parents

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Pick The Right Date To Apply

While application processing times are quicker than they were in the past, particularly with the online application, it can still take several weeks to have your application confirmed. It can take longer if theres a mistake in your application.

Luckily, the Social Security Administration allows you to apply up to four months in advance of when you want to start collecting benefits . For that reason, we suggest you circle a day 3-4 months in anticipation to submit your application.

Do An Information Review

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

First, and review your latest Social Security statement. That will let you know the amount of benefit you’re eligible for. Review your earnings history to make sure everything is accurate. This is important, because your benefit amount is based on how much you’ve earned over your lifetime. If that information is wrong, you may not get the full amount you’re entitled to.

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When Will I Be Eligible To Receive Social Security Benefits

You must be 62 years old to begin receiving retirement benefits. When you reach the age of 61 and 9 months, you can apply.

If you begin collecting before reaching full retirement age, or FRA, Social Security cuts your amount.

Only then will you be eligible for 100% of your basic monthly benefit, which is based on your 35 highest-earning years.

If you wait until youre 70 to apply, youll earn more delayed retirement credits, which will increase your payment even more.

Other types of Social Security benefits may have a different start age:

  • Spousal benefits can start as early as age 62, as long as the spouse whose work record youre claiming is already receiving retirement benefits.
  • You can apply for survivor benefits on the record of a deceased spouse or ex-spouse when you are 60 years old 50 years old if you are disabled or any age if you are caring for the deceaseds under-16 or disabled child.

How Work Affects Your Benefits

A Retirement Earnings Test limits the amount of Social Security benefits a person between age 62 and his or her full retirement age can receive while still working.

For those reaching full retirement age in 2021, $1 in benefits will be deducted for every $3 in earnings above an annual limit up to the month of full retirement age attainment. For 2021, that limit is $50,520. This applies to months before full retirement age. No limit applies beginning the month full retirement age is reached.

For those under full retirement age throughout 2021, $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $2 in earnings above the limit of $18,960. These limits generally increase in future years.

If other family members receive benefits on your Social Security record, the total family benefits will be affected by your earnings. Not only will your benefits be offset, but those payable to your family will be offset as well. If a family member works, however, the family member’s earnings affect only his or her benefits.

A special rule applies to your earnings for one year, usually your first year of retirement. Under this rule, you can receive a full Social Security check for any month you are retired, regardless of your yearly earnings. Your earnings must be under a monthly limit. If you are self-employed, the services you perform in your business are taken into consideration as well.

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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:

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.

Why Waiting May Make Sense

How To Apply For Social Security Benefits | Social Security Explained

Waiting until your FRA to apply for Social Security can increase the amount you receive in benefits each month. You will receive an 8% increase in your benefit payment for every year you delay receiving benefits. If you can put off receiving Social Security payments until age 70, that could add up to an almost 25% increase in the amount you receive each month.

Take some time to consider whether applying for Social Security benefits to begin at age 62 or at any age after that best helps you fund your retirement in the most practical way. The Social Security Administration can provide you with financial figures that will assist you in your decision-making process. Taking a hard look at the financial implications of retiring at various ages and at your personal situation will allow you to enjoy greater financial flexibility during your retirement years.

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File With An Advocate

Statistically 80% of initial applications are denied because of a simple mistake or technical error. Due to this, many applicants seek the assistance of a qualified disability advocate. A disability advocate is an experienced individual in the field of Social Security disability they know how the SSA functions, how to properly file an application, how to fight an appeal and how to get you approved for benefits. There are two different kinds of advocates: A disability lawyer and a disability non-attorney advocate.

Who Can Get Benefits From Your Income Record

Your spouse may be eligible for retirement or disability benefits if he or she is:

  • if you are 62 years old or older or if you are 62 years old or
  • divorced from you and was married to you for at least 10 years prior to your divorce, and is at least 62 years old or

If your surviving spouse meets the following criteria, he or she may be eligible for benefits:

  • a person who is 60 years old or older or a person who is 60 years
  • disabled and over the age of 50
  • divorced from you, 60 years old or older , and married to you for at least 10 years prior to your divorce or
  • under the age of 60 and caring for a child who is eligible for child benefits or under the age of 60 and caring for a child who is eligible for child benefits
  • divorced from you, under the age of 60, and caring for his or her child who is eligible for benefits based on your record.

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All Programs Except Ta 31 Tp 32 Tp 33 Tp 34 Tp 35 Tp 36 And Tp 45

All applicants must provide a Social Security number or apply for one through the Social Security Administration before certification, unless they meet one of the criteria in this section.

Exception: Undocumented aliens are not required to apply for an SSN.

Non-applicants are not required to provide an SSN or proof of an application for an SSN. When non-applicants provide an SSN, advisors may attempt to verify the SSN using the procedures explained in A-440, Verification Requirements. If verification is not available through electronic data sources, verification of the non-applicants SSN must not be requested from the applicant.

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What Do I Need To Know About Advance Designation

How to Apply for Social Security: A Step

You should be aware of another type of representation called Advance Designation. This relates to the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018, which was signed into law on April 13, 2018.

Advance Designation allows capable adult and emancipated minor applicants and beneficiaries of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Special Veterans Benefits to choose one or more individuals to serve as their representative payee in the future, if the need arises.

To help protect whats important to you, we now offer the option to choose a representative payee in advance. In the event that you can no longer make your own decisions, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing you already chose someone you trust to manage your benefits. If you need a representative payee to assist with the management of your benefits, we will first consider your advance designees, but we must still fully evaluate them and determine their suitability at that time.

You can submit your advance designation request when you apply for benefits or after you are already receiving benefits. You may do so through your personal account, by telephone, or in person.

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What Are The Requirements Of Total Disability

Disability is subjective and may refer to different conditions. For example, you may have a disability that may qualify you for disability benefits via the workers compensation system. On the other hand, you may have a disability, but it may not meet SSAs definition for disability.

According to a general definition by SSA, a disability is only qualifying when it prevents you from working and/or earning a certain wage each month. If your disability stops you from engaging in a substantial gaining activity, it falls within SSAs definition of disability. These include the following

  • You have a mental impairment or a physical disability/impairment and you can prove it medically.
  • If your disability has lasted for 12 months or you expect it to last 12 months in the future.
  • If your disability may cause your death.

Whenever you apply to claim your SSA disability benefits, the Texas Disability Determination Services will consider your application. They are going to review all the information you provide in oder to decide whether your disability satisfies the qualifying criteria. If everything seems to be in order, DDS will approve your application to receive disability benefits in Texas.

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