What Are Medicare Quarters And How Do They Affect My Coverage
When learning about your Medicare costs, you may have come across the mention of quarters. Medicare quarters refer to the amount of qualified time that you paid Social Security and Medicare taxes.
To qualify for Medicare Part A hospital insurance coverage without having to pay a premium, you typically must have paid Medicare taxes for 40 quarters, equal to 10 years.
But what counts as a qualified Medicare quarter? Do you need 40 quarters to qualify for Medicare? Read this helpful guide to learn more about your Medicare coverage options and how Medicare quarters work.
Ways To Score A Higher Social Security Check
“My Social Security benefit is way more than I need,” said no one, ever. Social Security is a nice retirement safety net, but it often falls short as a primary source of retirement income.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to score a bigger Social Security check — which could mean more fun and less stress in retirement. Read on for six reliable ways to boost your federal retirement benefit.
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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How To Check Your Social Security Statement Online
It’s easy to check your Social Security statement online. Everything works exactly as you’d expect and the website security is tight. Here’s how.
From the main page of your account, you have access to all of your basic Social Security info, such as your earning record:
And your estimated benefits:
You can also download your most recent Social Security statement and/or order a replacement card.
There’s not a lot to see in your Social Security account, but that’s fine. Sometimes you simply need to check your estimated benefits or your lifetime earnings. The Social Security website makes that easy and efficient to do.
What Is A Social Security Card
Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.
When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.
What Is The Mission Of The Federal Benefits Unit
The Regional Federal Benefits Unit of the American Embassy in San Jose is responsible for providing services to all the Central American countries as well as Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela in South America. We assist U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who have inquiries or receive benefits from the Social Security Administration, Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.; We have staff located in three U.S. Embassies: Santo Domingo, San Jose, and Buenos Aires.
Will My Medicare Coverage Be Affected By The Social Security Double
No; although your Social Security benefits may be reduced by these two provisions, your coverage will not be affected. If you believe that, based on your age and/or amount of creditable service with the MTRS, you are exempt from either the Windfall Elimination Provision or the Government Pension Offset, the Social Security Administration will require you to submit a letter from us that states the date on which you met the eligibility requirement. To request this letter,
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Brief History Of Social Security
The Social Security program was created by the Social Security Act that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law in 1935. The first checks went out in 1940. Originally it paid benefits only to workers 65 and older, but in the 1970s the government altered it to allow workers to claim benefits as early as 62. It also instituted annual cost-of-living adjustments to help Social Security keep pace with inflation.
The program has worked fairly well so far, but many people fear for the future, when there will be fewer workers to support a greater number of Social Security recipients. The latest Social Security Trustees’ Report indicates the program’s trust funds would be depleted by 2035, after which it would be able to pay out only about 76% of benefits to retirees and about 92% to disabled workers.
The government has proposed several possible solutions for ensuring the long-term sustainability of the program, but at present no plans have been set. There’s no risk of the program disappearing in the next decade or two, but it’s possible future benefits may not go as far as they do today. That’s why today’s workers need to prioritize their personal retirement savings, so they can cover most of their expenses on their own.
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What Is A Quarter Of Coverage
To calculate a persons eligibility for premium-free Medicare Part A insurance, Medicare counts the number of employment quarters the individual worked.
A quarter of coverage is a 3-month calendar quarter in which a person worked in a job and paid Medicare taxes. Every quarter of coverage earned counts as one credit toward qualifying for free Medicare Part A.
During a quarter of coverage, an employee pays Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes, which combine withheld taxes for Medicare and Social Security.
On a paycheck, Medicare withholding tax appears as Fed Med/EE. Each year has four quarters. Roughly, 40 quarters equals 10 years of work.
The 40-quarters rule only applies to premium-free Medicare Part A. Other parts of Medicare, including Medicare Part B, involve a monthly premium regardless of how long a person has worked in their lifetime.
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How To Claim The Ertc: Your Top 13 Questions Answered
May 14th, 2021
How do employers claim an Employee Retention Tax Credit ? What are gross receipts when it comes to the employee retention credit? MPs HR services team addresses the top questions and provides answers about ERTC eligibility. Get advice from HR providers on how to take advantage of this substantial pandemic assistance. MPs HR services team address the top 13 questions about how to claim the ERTC.
Workers Who Die Before Age 62
The minimum age to start claiming Social Security retirement benefits is 62. If someone dies young, then dependent children and spouses may be entitled to survivor benefits. At age 60, for example, widows and widowers can begin receiving Social Security benefits based on their deceased spouses earnings record . Terminally ill patients can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance , which means they will still receive some benefit from their contributions to the system.
What if you are terminally ill and have reached the minimum retirement age? If you are single, claiming right away may be the most sensible strategy. However, if you have a spouse, postponing may provide your spouse with greater benefits. The spousal benefit can be as much as 50% of the worker’s benefit, depending on the spouse’s age at retirement and if the spouse is eligible for retirement benefits based on their own earnings record. The Social Security Administration has an online calculator that helps determine benefits for spouses.
If you do not qualify for Social Security payments, then you will need to ensure that you have sufficient income to support your lifestyle in retirement.
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Children Can Collect Social Security Benefits Too
Minor children of Social Security beneficiaries can be eligible for benefits. Children up to age 18 and disabled children older than 18 may be able to receive up to half of a parent’s Social Security benefit. The disability must have occurred before the age of 22. As long as the disability prevents the person from working, the adult child can continue collecting the benefit even after the parent has died.
What Are Employment Quarters For Social Security
The Social Security Administration calls employment quarters by several names, such as quarter of coverage and Social Security credits or simply credits.
How credits for Social Security retirement benefits have been calculated has changed over the years. Today, Social Security credits are based on your total income during the year, and the year is divided into four employment quarters.
The dollar amount needed to earn credits may go up slightly each year, according to the Social Security Administration, as average earnings increase. For more information on the current earnings needed to earn Social Security or Medicare work credit, visit the;Social Security website.
There are special rules for certain types of jobs, such as domestic work, farm work, and work for a church or similar organization that does not collect Social Security and Medicare taxes. Employment of this sort may count towards your employment quarters for retirement and Medicare benefits, but you should contact the Social Security Administration to confirm. Conversely, some people may not qualify for Social Security retirement credits, such as federal employees hired before 1984, railroad employees with more than 10 years of service, and employees of some state and local governments. Other factors may be used to determine their eligibility for premium-free Medicare Part A.
NEW TO MEDICARE?
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Is There A Maximum Benefit
Yes, there is a limit to how much you can receive in Social Security benefits. The maximum Social Security benefit changes each year. For 2021, itâs $3,895/month for those who retire at age 70 . Multiply that by 12 to get $46,740 in maximum annual benefits. If that’s less than your anticipated annual expenses, youâll need to have additional income from your own savings to supplement it.
How To Stop Social Security Check Payments
The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.
If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.
Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.
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Balancing Now And Later
The simplest way to boost your Social Security paycheck is to fix an inaccurate earnings record. Beyond that, you’re stuck with trade-offs. You either work longer or forgo benefits now to enjoy higher income later.
The trade-offs might make sense, but only you can decide on the strategy that’ll bring you closer to the easygoing retirement you crave.
The $16,728 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook
If you’re like most Americans, you’re a few years behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $16,728 more… each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.
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Next Steps To Consider
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Checklist For Your Social Security Claiming Strategy
- Know your numbers. Find out your FRA, earnings history, and estimated benefits.
- Stay current. Sign up for your most current statements on SSA.gov.
- Do the math. Use calculators on SSA.gov to check out your monthly benefit options.
- Get the facts. Don’t succumb to myths; use primary resources such as SSA.gov.
Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary
You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.;
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Work Credits And Quarters
At one time, Social Security work credits were also known as “quarters of work.” You had to earn the work credit amount in a single quarter , and could earn no more than a single credit in a quarter. That is no longer the case. You earn work credits on the minimum $1,360 of earnings no matter when or how frequently you earn them. Theoretically, you could earn four work credits in a single month in which you make $5,440. That would max out your work credits for the year, however.
Your Monthly Social Security Benefits Grow The Longer You Wait To Claim
You can collect Social Security benefits as soon as you turn 62, but taking benefits before your full retirement age results in a permanent benefits reduction of as much as 25% to 30%, depending on your full retirement age.
If you wait until you hit full retirement age to claim Social Security benefits, youll receive 100% of your earned benefits. Or you can keep waiting to claim your Social Security benefits all the way to age 70. There’s a big bonus to delaying your claim — your monthly Social Security benefit will grow by 8% a year until age 70. Any cost-of-living adjustments will be included, too, so you don’t forgo those by waiting.
Waiting to claim your Social Security benefits can benefit your heirs as well. By waiting to take his benefit, a high-earning husband, for example, can ensure that his low-earning wife will receive a much higher survivor benefit in the event he dies before her. That extra income of up to 32% could make a big difference for a widow whose household is down to one Social Security benefit.
When You Choose To Start Taking Social Security Benefits
The yearand even the month within that yearthat you choose to begin taking Social Security benefits affects how much you receive each month. You can start claiming Social Security benefits early as age 62, the current early retirement age. But you wont get your full PIA. Itll be reduced based on how many months you have until your full retirement age. This reduction can really add up, topping in at as high as 30% for particularly early claimers.
You can avoid these surcharges on your PIA, of course, simply by waiting to start payments until your full retirement age. This is generally between ages 66 and 67, depending on when you were born.
You can even add onto your base amount by delaying when you start benefits. After you reach full retirement age, you can boost your benefits by up to 8% of your PIA annually simply by not claiming Social Security. These benefit increases are known as delayed retirement credits, and you can accrue them up to age 70.
An important note: These benefit rate changes are performed to provide roughly the same cumulative benefit over a lifetime, assuming a roughly average lifespan. In other words, if you start Social Security earlier, youll probably claim it for longer; someone with the same lifespan who delayed payments would claim them for less time. To provide them the same total benefit, earlier payments must be smaller and later benefits have to be larger to catch up.