When Can You File For Social Security
The earliest when you can apply for Social Security benefits is at age 61 and nine months, and you can expect to receive your first payment four months laterthe month after your birthday. Typically, Social Security benefits are paid the month after they are due or must be specified. For example, the Social Security website states that an individual who wants their benefits to start in May will receive their first benefit check in June.
For example, if you turn 62 on Dec. 15, then your first full month of eligibility is January, and your payment for that month will arrive in February. If you have already reached age 62 and met all other eligibility criteria, then you may begin collecting benefits in the same month when you apply if you specify, although your first payment still would not arrive until the following month.
Do I Have To Enroll In Medicare At 65
If you have chosen to continue working and postpone receiving Social Security payments, you might wonder if you can postpone receiving Medicare.
In this case, you may want to ask Medicare to postpone your Part B Medicare. You cannot receive Social Security benefits after 65 without Medicare Part A coverage. Dont worry, Medicare Part A doesnt cost most people anything, so this shouldnt be an issue.
If you delay Medicare Part B and Part D because you are still working and therefore covered by your employer, you can add those parts later when you retire.
If you work for an employer with less than 20 employees, Medicare will be the primary insurance, so you should choose to keep both Parts A and B and your employer will be a secondary insurance provider.
How Much Social Security Will I Get If I Retire At 63
Monthly Social Security payments are reduced if you sign up at age 63, but by less than if you claim payments at age 62. A worker eligible for $1,000 monthly at age 66 would get $800 per month at age 63, a 20% pay cut. If your full retirement age is 67, you will get 25% less by signing up at age 63.
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Reasons You Might Not Receive Social Security Benefits
Social Security is a lifeline for millions of retirees and other older Americans who are still in the workforce. Making sure you qualify for every dollar youve got coming to you is not a step you want to skip and believe it or not, Social Security is not guaranteed. In fact, there are more than a half-dozen ways that you could miss out on benefits that you were counting on and that you paid for with your tax dollars.
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Youre Covered By The Railroad Retirement Act
Some railroad workers are also covered by a retirement system outside of Social Security and are ineligible for benefits. People who participate in the Railroad Retirement Act pay more of their salaries into the fund but receive higher payments when they retire particularly career employees with at least 30 years on the job.
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You Automatically Get Medicare
- You should already have Part A and Part B , because you have ALS and youre already getting disability benefits.
- We mailed you a welcome package with your Medicare card.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.
- Well mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card 3 months before your Medicare coverage starts.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.You get Part A automatically. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it. If you dont sign up for Part B within 3 months after your Part A starts, you might have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
- Well mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card 3 months before your Medicare coverage starts.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.You get Part A automatically. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it. If you dont sign up for Part B within 3 months of turning 65, you might have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
You Have Debt That Qualifies For Garnishment
Its hard for private lenders to snatch your Social Security payments, but your benefits can be garnished to satisfy certain kinds of other debts. Among them are alimony, child support and restitution, but the states determine what constitutes a valid order for garnishment. If your benefits have been garnished for any of these reasons, contact the appropriate state agency, not the SSA.
If you guessed that tax debt is one of the other exceptions, you would be correct. The Department of the Treasury can garnish up to 15% of your Social Security benefits every month until your tax debt is paid. The Treasury Department can also garnish your benefits for nontax debt, including any federal student loans you might have defaulted on.
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At What Age Do I Qualify For Medicare
Medicare eligibility for seniors begins at age 65 . Your initial enrollment period for Medicare begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday, and ends three months after the month you turn 65.
If you miss your initial Medicare enrollment window, you can sign up during the general enrollment period of January 1 through March 31 of each year. But holding off too long could cost you. If you wait too long to sign up for Medicare Part B, youll face a 10 percent increase in your Part B premiums for every year-long period you were eligible to enroll but didnt. There are also financial implications associated with waiting too long to sign up for a Part D drug plan.
That said, if youre still working and have coverage under a group health plan during the seven-month period surrounding your 65th birthday, youll get a special enrollment period that begins when you separate from your employer or your group coverage ends. As such, you wont have to worry about the aforementioned penalties provided you sign up during your special enrollment period.
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.
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Claiming Social Security Benefits At The Right Time Means More Money In Your Pocket Here’s A Guide To Everything From Knowing Your Full Retirement Age To Taking Social Security Spousal Benefits
For many Americans, Social Security benefits are the bedrock of retirement income so maximizing this stream of income is critical.
The rules for claiming Social Security benefits can be complex, but this guide will help you successfully navigate the details. Educating yourself can ensure that you claim the maximum amount to which you are entitled.
Here are 12 essential details you need to know.
Contact Social Security To Sign Up For Medicare
You can either:
Know when to sign up for Part BYou can only sign up for Part B at certain times. If you dont sign up for Part B when you turn 65, you might have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty. Find out when you can sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?
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You Moved Like Far In Retirement
In most cases, you can collect Social Security in another country if you live abroad in retirement, although you have to follow strict and specific rules from both the SSA and your host country. The SSA, however, is generally forbidden from sending payments to a handful of countries, but dont worry. None of them are exactly beacons for U.S. retirees.
They include Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Some exceptions can be made for some eligible retirees in those countries, but you can never collect Social Security in Cuba and North Korea.
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Theres An Annual Social Security Cost
One of the best features of Social Security benefits is that the government adjusts the benefits each year based on inflation. This is called a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, and helps your payments keep up with increasing living expenses. The Social Security COLA is quite valuable its the equivalent of buying inflation protection on a private annuity, which can get expensive.
Because the COLA is calculated based on changes in a federal consumer price index, the size of the COLA depends largely on broad inflation levels determined by the government. In 2021, Social Security beneficiaries saw a 1.3% COLA in their monthly Social Security benefits.
The Kiplinger Letter predicted in September that the COLA for 2022 could be 6%, which would be the largest adjustment since 1982. The final COLA for 2022 will be announced on Oct. 13.
Heres what COLAs have been in other recent years:
- 2009: 5.8%
- 2021: 1.3%
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Social Security Disability Programs
In addition to retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration manages two programs that provide benefits to people who are disabled or blind.
- Social Security Disability Insurance Program
- SSDI supports disabled or blind individuals by providing benefits based on their workers contributions to the Social Security trust fund. Your contributions are based on your earnings or your spouses or parents earnings while in the workforce. Your dependents may also be eligible for SSDI benefits based on your earnings.
- Supplemental Security Income Program
- SSI benefits are paid out as cash assistance to people with limited incomes and resources who are elderly, blind or disabled. These benefits may also include blind or disabled children. SSI payments are a federal benefit funded by the general fund of the United States not the Social Security trust fund. Some states provide additional state supplemental benefits in addition to the federal SSI payments.
In some cases, people may be eligible for both SSI and SSDI at the same time. The Social Security Administration calls these concurrent benefits. This can happen when a disability qualifies you for Social Security Disability Benefits, but you only get a small amount of monthly SSDI benefits. This may qualify you to receive SSI benefits as well.
Comparing SSDI and SSI Programs
|Up to 85%|
Income Taxes for Other Benefit Programs
Making Sure You Have Submitted All Your Information Correctly Could Speed Up The Processing Time Of Your Application But It Could Still Be Over A Month
Without delays concerning the pandemic, it can take the Social Security Administration about six weeks to process an application. For many people, this benchmark is even too long. For someone requiring support to survive, six weeks can be an eternity.
Another factor which affects the turnaround time of applications is making sure your application is correct mistakes obviously make the process longer.
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How To Retire In 2021
When you are ready to retire, there are certain basic things you should do before you leave the comfort and security of your old job. You need to make final adjustments to your financial plan and make important decisions about Social Security and health insurance.
Heres a checklist for retiring in 2021:
- Sign up for Medicare or other health insurance.
- Check your retirement benefits.
- Take advantage of last-minute benefits at work.
- Consider rolling over your 401 to an IRA.
- Make a financial plan.
Remember to do these things if 2021 is the year youre finally going to take the leap into retirement.
There Are Social Security Survivor Benefits For Spouses And Children
If your spouse dies before you, you can take a Social Security survivor benefit. However, that won’t be in addition to your own benefit. You must choose one or the other. If you are at full retirement age, that benefit is worth 100% of what your spouse was receiving at the time of his or her death .
A widow or widower can start taking a survivor benefit at age 60. However, the payment will be reduced because it’s taken before full retirement age. If you remarry before age 60, you are not eligible for a survivor benefit. If you remarry after age 60, you may be eligible for a survivor benefit based on your former spouse’s earnings.
Eligible children who are under age 18 or were disabled before age 22 can also receive a Social Security survivor benefit. It would be worth up to 75% of the deceased’s benefit.
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If Health Problems Force You To Retire Early
Sometimes health problems force people to retire early. If you cannot work because of health problems, you should consider applying for Social Security disability benefits. The amount of the disability benefit is the same as a full, unreduced retirement benefit. If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, those benefits will be converted to retirement benefits.
How Many Free Home Covid Tests Will Be Available
Each Medicare beneficiary can claim up to eight free over-the-counter home tests per month. This is in addition to the four free COVID tests available to every U.S. household at COVIDTest.gov.
Eight tests per month for Medicare beneficiaries matches what private insurers must cover for their customers. There is no limit on lab-conducted COVID tests ordered by a doctor.
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Theres A Social Security Spousal Benefit
Marriage brings couples an advantage when it comes to Social Security. One spouse can take what’s called a spousal benefit, worth up to 50% of the other spouse’s Social Security benefit. For example, if your monthly Social Security benefit is worth $2,000 but your spouse’s own benefit is only worth $500, your spouse can collect a spousal benefit worth $1,000 — bringing in $500 more in income per month.
Just as the benefit based on your own work history is reduced if you claim it early, the same is true for a spousal benefit. That 50% figure is the maximum amount that only a spouse who is at least full retirement age is eligible for. Taking the spousal benefit early at, say, age 62, reduces the amount to as little as 32.5% of the higher earners benefit. If you take your own benefit early and then later switch to a spousal benefit, your spousal benefit will still be reduced.
Where Will The Free Home Tests Be Available
The tests will be available to Medicare beneficiaries through eligible pharmacies and other participating entities, according to the CMS announcement. Meena Seshamani, director of CMSs Center for Medicare, told the Washington Post that the program will include pharmacies that already participate in Medicare, plus additional retailers that want to be involved.
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How Your Social Security Benefits Are Calculated
Your Social Security benefits are based on the 35 calendar years in which your income was the highest. If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, each year with no earnings will be entered as zero. You can increase your Social Security benefit at any time by replacing a zero or low-income year with a higher-income year.
There is a maximum Social Security benefit amount you can receive, though it depends on the age you retire. For someone at full retirement age in 2021, the maximum monthly benefit is $3,113. For someone filing at age 70, the maximum monthly amount is $3,895.
Apply For Retirement Benefits
Starting your Social Security retirement benefits is a major step on your retirement journey. This page will guide you through the process of applying for retirement benefits when youre ready to take that step. Our online application is a convenient way to apply on your own schedule, without an appointment. You can also apply by phone or by appointment at a Social Security office.
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