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How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

For security reasons, there are time limits for viewing each page. You will receive a warning if you dont do anything for 25 minutes, but you will be able to extend your time on the page.

After the third warning on a page, you must move to another page. If you do not, your time will run out and your work on that page will be lost.

Social Security Spousal Benefits

You may be able to get spouses retirement benefits even if you have never worked under Social Security. Your spouse must already be receiving retirement or disability benefits and you must be at least 62 years of age, and you can also qualify for Medicare if you are at least 65 years of age. You can receive spousal benefits no matter how old you are if you are caring for your spouses child who is also receiving benefits. To receive benefits, a child must be unmarried and either be under age 18 or be age 18-19 and a full-time student they can also receive benefits if they are 18 or over and disabled with a disability that started before the age of 22.

You can also receive spousal benefits even if you are divorced, if the marriage lasted ten years or longer. You must be unmarried, at least 62, your spouse must be entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits, and the amount of the benefit you receive based on your own work must be less than the benefit you would receive from your ex-spouses work. To apply for Social Security spousal benefits, you can use the online application you can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or for the deaf and hard of hearing, 1-800-325-0778 or you can make an appointment and visit your local Social Security office. If you do not live in the U.S. or in a U.S. territory, you can contact the nearest Social Security office, U.S. Embassy, or consulate

Apply For Benefits Online

You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Follow these easy steps to apply online for disability:

  • To start your application, go to our Apply for Benefits page, and read and agree to the Terms of Service. Click Next.
  • On that page, review the Getting Ready section to make sure you have the information you need to apply.
  • Select Start A New Application.
  • We will ask a few questions about who is filling out the application.
  • You will then sign into your mySocial Security account, or you will be prompted to create one.
  • Complete the application.

You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:

  • Are age 18 or older.
  • Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.
  • Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death and
  • Have not been denied for disability in the last 60 days.
  • Note: If your application was recently denied, our application is a starting point to request a review of the determination we made.

You may be able to file online for SSI at the same time that you file for SSDI benefits. Once you complete the online process above, a Social Security representative will contact you if we need additional information.

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What Happens If You Claim After Your Fra

If you wait until youre age 70 to start claiming benefits, then youll get an extra 8% per yearor, in total, 132% of your primary insurance amount for the rest of your life. Claiming after you turn 70 doesnt increase your benefits further, so theres no reason to wait longer than that.

The longer you can afford to wait after age 62 , the larger your monthly benefit will be. Nevertheless, delaying benefits doesnt necessarily mean that youll come out ahead overall. You also need to weigh in some other factors, including your expected longevity and whether you plan to file for spousal benefits. You will also need to consider the tax, investment opportunity, and health coverage implications.

Can You Do Any Other Type Of Work

Social Security Benefits for Children: The 4 Most ...

If you cant do the work you did in the past, we look to see if there is other work you could do despite your medical impairment.

We consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If you cant do other work, well decide you are disabled. If you can do other work, well decide that you dont have a qualifying disability and your claim will be denied.

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Benefits For A Disabled Child

A child under age 18 may be disabled, but we don’t need to consider the child’s disability when deciding if he or she qualifies for benefits as a dependent. The child’s benefits normally stop at age 18 unless he or she is a full-time student in an elementary or high school or is disabled.

Children who were receiving benefits as a minor child on a parents Social Security record may be eligible to continue receiving benefits on that parents record upon reaching age 18 if they are disabled.

Tips For Social Security And Retirement Planning

  • Developing smart Social Security strategies is just one aspect of savvy financial planning. An advisor whos well-versed in Social Security can offer guidance to help you make the most of your benefits. SmartAssets free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If youre ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Its never too early to start planning for retirement. A retirement calculator can help you figure out how much youll need to retire comfortably. Building a sizable nest egg may enable you to delay Social Security benefits and maximize your monthly payments once you are ready to collect.
  • Though you probably wont be able to live off them entirely, Social Security benefits are a valuable addition to your retirement income. Check your paychecks and tax documents to ensure you are contributing to the SSA.

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Social Security Spousal Benefits Requirements

Based on actuarial studies, after a married couple reaches 65 years old, a majority of the time, one spouse will outlive the other by as much as 10 years. So the decision on who should file for benefits and when that should take place can have a major long-term impact on the income of a surviving spouse.

Spouses who never worked or have had low earnings throughout the course of their life are entitled to receive up to half of their spouses full retirement benefit. Depending on your personal situation, you may receive your own benefit or a blended amount of both you and your spouses benefit. Either way, you will receive a combination of benefits that gives you the highest possible amount.

One strategy often employed is for a spouse to take their spouses retirement benefit and delay taking their own benefit. By doing so, you can continue to accrue delayed retirement benefits which will result in a larger benefit amount when you file for your own retirement benefit.

How Inflation Impacts Your Pia

How to apply for social security benefits?

Your PIA is calculated at age 62. If you wait beyond age 62, cost-of-living adjustments will be applied to your PIA for each year afterward.

If you have already had most of your 35 years of earnings, and you are near age 62 today, the age 70 benefit amount you see on your Social Security statement will likely be higher due to these cos- of-living adjustments. Many people do not account for this when doing their own calculations, which can lead them to think that taking Social Security early is a better deal, when waiting is often the better deal.

In the table below, our hypothetical worker, born in 1954, is eligible for full retirement at age 66. The column on the right shows the effect of inflation for waiting beyond age 62 to take their benefits.

Effect of Age on Claiming Benefits
Year

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How Much Will Your Divorced Spouse Receive

If you have not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, your ex-spouse can receive benefits on your record if you have been divorced for at least two continuous years.

If your ex-spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on their own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your record is higher, they will get an additional amount on your record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount.

If your ex-spouse was born before January 2, 1954, and has already reached full retirement age, they can choose to receive only the divorced spouses benefit and delay receiving their own retirement benefit until a later date.

If your ex-spouses birthday is January 2, 1954 or later, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age no longer exists. If your ex-spouse files for one benefit, they will be effectively filing for all retirement or spousal benefits.

How Retirement Benefits Work

Social Security replaces a percentage of your pre-retirement income based on their lifetime earnings. The portion of your pre-retirement wages that Social Security replaces is based on your highest 35 years of earnings and varies depending on how much you earn and when you choose to start benefits.

When you work, you pay taxes into Social Security. We use the tax money to pay benefits to:

  • People who have already retired.
  • People who are disabled.
  • Survivors of workers who have died.
  • Dependents of beneficiaries.

The money you pay in taxes isnt held in a personal account for you to use when you get benefits. We use your taxes to pay people who are getting benefits right now. Any unused money goes to the Social Security trust fund that pays monthly benefits to you and your family when you start receiving retirement benefits.

Additional Information

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Why Waiting May Make Sense

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.

Focus On Raising Your Income

The 5 Keys to Your Social Security Benefits

The standard benefit retirees get at FRA is calculated using a formula that takes into account the average wage you earned in your 35 highest-earning years. If you can find ways to increase the amount of income you have during as many years of your career as possible, the wage your benefit is based on should be higher.

The more years you earn more than the typical American does, the better your chances of substantially beating the $1,657 average benefit. On the other hand, if you have many years when you don’t earn much, chances are good that your Social Security income will be below what your peers receive.

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Exceptions To Benefit Payment Schedule

As 2022 nears and beneficiaries await their first payment of the new year, the SSA noted there are several exceptions to the new schedule. For example, payments are sent on the third of each month when:

  • You first filed for benefits before May 1997
  • You are receiving a Supplemental Security Income and Social Security payments
  • The state pays for your Medicare premiums
  • You live in a foreign country

For those who receive SSI benefits but do not get Social Security payments, their scheduled payment date will be on the first of each month.

If you rely on Social Security benefits and are waiting for the new payment schedule to start in 2022, you can take out a personal loan now to help meet your monthly expenses. Visit Credible to compare multiple lenders at once and choose the lender with the best personal loan rates for you.

Apply For Survivor Benefits

If your deceased spouse was eligible for a higher Social Security payment than you are, you may be eligible for that higher survivor benefit. You may qualify for the higher benefit even if your spouse died before applying for benefits.

If you begin to collect Social Security benefits before you reach normal retirement age, not only will you receive a reduced benefit, but after your death, your surviving spouse will, too.

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When To Apply For Social Security

As stated above, you are eligible to apply for Social Security retirement benefits when you are 61 and nine months. You can start collecting benefits as soon as you turn 62.

However, just because you can, does not mean that you should.

The longer you delay starting your benefits, the more your monthly income will be. In fact, the difference in lifetime income between starting at age 62 and waiting until your maximum retirement age can be more than $100,000 and for many people much much more.

While you can start benefits at age 62, the Social Security Administration considers that early. Depending on your birth year, you do not reach what the SSA calls full retirement age until sometime between ages 66 and 67.

  • For every month prior to your full retirement age that you begin taking benefits, around 0.55% is deducted from your payout.
  • And, for every year that you defer your benefits, you will receive a larger amount when you finally do begin drawing Social Security. The amount of the bonus is dependent, once more, on your birth date. For example, someone born in 1944 has a full retirement age of 66. If they start benefits at age 69, they will receive eight percent more benefits for each year they delay.

Getting A Social Security Number For A New Baby

How to maximize Social Security benefits – Let’s Get Down to Business

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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Social Security Entitlement Requirements

Many people who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income may also be entitled to receive Social Security benefits. In fact, the application for SSI benefits is also an application for Social Security benefits. We often need to obtain additional information from the person before we can award Social Security benefits.

The following sections provide information on who may be entitled to Social Security benefits.

TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS AS A WORKER YOU MUST BE:

    Age 62 or older, or disabled or blind and

    “Insured” by having enough work credits.

For applications filed December 1, 1996, or later, you must either be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present alien in order to receive monthly Social Security benefits.

HOW MUCH WORK DO YOU NEED TO BE”INSURED”?

We measure work in “work credits”. You can earn up to four work credits per year based on your annual earnings. The amount of earnings required for a work credit increases each year as general wage levels rise.

To be eligible for most types of benefits , you must have earned an average of one work credit for each calendar year between age 21 and the year in which you reach age 62 or become disabled or blind, up to a maximum of 40 credits. A minimum of six work credits is required, regardless of age.

The rules are as follows:

Born After 1929
40

WHO CAN RECEIVE BENEFITS ON YOUR EARNINGS RECORD?

If you are receiving retirement or disability benefits, your spouse may qualify if he or she is:

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How To Get A Social Security Card

  • Gather your documents. Learn what documents you’ll need to get a card. Select your situation:
  • Adult or child
  • Original, replacement, or corrected card
  • U.S. born citizen, foreign born U.S. citizen, or noncitizen
  • Apply online for a replacement card. Apply online if youre not changing anything on your card and you are eligible. This option is available in most states. You will need to make a my Social Security account first. Or complete an application. If you can not apply online, fill out an application and return it to the SSA. Find out where to take it in person or mail it.
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