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When Do You Become Eligible For Social Security

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Is The Social Security Definition Of Disability Out Of Date

How long do I need to work to become eligible for Social Security benefits?

The Social Security Advisory Board has asked whether the Social Security definition of disability should be changed in some fundamental way. The Academy’s Disability Policy Panel studied this question at length and reached the following conclusions:

Programs for people with disabilities should use definitions of disability as eligibility criteria that match the purpose of the program. A single, one-size-fits-all definition would not suit the varied needs of the highly diverse population of people with disabilities, nor would it match the particular purposes of different programs.

If the purpose of the program is to establish civil rights protections, a broad definition of disability, such as in the ADA is used: Disability means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

If the purpose is to define eligibility for vocational rehabilitation, then the legal definition of eligibility is based on need for and likelihood of benefiting from such services.

Programs that provide personal assistance or long-term care services generally define eligibility in terms of the need for those particular services, such as need for assistance with activities of daily living.

The Social Security test of work disability is very strict. A less strict test of inability to work would benefit people with partial disabilities and it would cost more.

How Are My Social Security Benefit Amounts Calculated

The calculations are complicated. The amount of any benefit is determined by a formula based on the average of your yearly reported earnings since you began working.

But to complicate matters further, Social Security computes your average earnings differently depending on your age. If you reached age 62 or became disabled on or before December 31, 1978, Social Security averages the actual dollar value of your total past earnings — and bases the amount of your monthly benefits on that amount.

If you turned 62 or become disabled on or after January 1, 1979, Social Security divides your earnings into two categories: Earnings from before 1951 are credited with their actual dollar amount, up to a maximum of $3,000 per year and from 1951 on, yearly limits are placed on earnings credits, no matter how much you actually earned in those years.

When Can I Start Receiving Part B Benefits

Since Part B coverage is optional, the enrollment rules are slightly different than Part A. Since Part B is optional and requires a premium, you will not be automatically enrolled in Part B. If you decide that you would like to receive this coverage, you can sign up during your initial enrollment period. This 7-month period begins three months before you turn 65, includes your birth month, and continues for three months after you turn 65.

Many people today are still working at the age of 65, and they choose to delay the start of their Part B coverage because they are still covered under their employers health plan. In this case, you are entitled to a special enrollment period after retirement. When you stop working, you have 8 months to sign up for Part A/Part B after your employer provided coverage ends.

If you do not sign up for coverage during your initial enrollment period or a special enrollment period when your eligibility for Medicare begins, then Medicare provides for open enrollment periods each year from January to March. You can sign up during this time for coverage to begin on July 1. However, you will likely be required to pay a late enrollment penalty because you did not sign up when you become eligible.

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What Is Social Security

The Social Security program was established in 1935 to provide retirement income for certain U.S. workers. It was later expanded to cover most of the workforce. Today, it remains Americas pension plan and the financial lifeline that many people use to stay afloat in their old age.

Social Security provides 37% of elderly men and 42% of elderly women with at least 50% of their income. For 12% of elderly men and 15% of elderly women, its at least 90% of their income. There are specific rules for filing or updating your Social Security.

How does Social Security work? Regardless of your age, you really should know. Here are the answers to 10 questions that people most often ask.

Who Misses Out On Social Security Benefits And Why

Am I Eligible for Social Security Benefits?

    Does everyone get Social Security? No. Still, American workers who will not qualify for Social Security retirement benefits are relatively rare. If you are one of them, its important to know, so you can secure other sources of income or determine whether its possible for you to become eligible. What follows are the eight most common categories of workers who lack Social Security eligibility and thus are not entitled to benefits.

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    When Can I Start Collecting Social Security Retirement Benefits

    The Social Security Administration used to consider 65 to be full retirement age for the retirement benefit. Benefits amounts were calculated on the assumption that most workers will stop working full time and will claim retirement benefits when they reach age 65.

    Now that people are generally living longer, Social Security’s rules about what is considered full retirement age have changed. Age 65 is still considered full retirement age for anyone born before 1938. But full retirement age gradually increases from age 65 to 67 for people born in 1938 or later. For anyone born after 1960, the full retirement age is 67.

    How Can A Social Security Agreement Help Me Qualify For Benefits

    A social security agreement can help you qualify for benefits by allowing you to combine your periods of contribution or periods of residency in Canada with your periods of contribution or periods of residency in the other country to meet the minimum eligibility criteria. It can also reduce or eliminate restrictions based on citizenship or on payment of pensions abroad.

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    There Are Social Security Benefits For Surviving Spouses And Children

    If your spouse dies before you, you can take a Social Security survivor benefit, but not 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, but the benefit will be reduced because it’s taken before full retirement age. If you remarry before age 60, you cannot get a survivor benefit. But if you remarry after age 60, you may be eligible to receive a survivor benefit based on your former spouse’s earnings record.

    Eligible children who are under age 18 or were disabled before age 22 can also receive a Social Security survivor benefit, worth up to 75% of the deceased’s benefit.

    How Do You Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits

    The 5 Step Process To Know If You Qualify For Social Security Disability

      Disability benefits are available to qualified recipients under two programs, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Income . SSI is a means-tested program for people with disabilities who have very limited means, but SSDI is an insurance program that is available to qualified workers with disabilities regardless of their resources. As of January 2018, some 13.8 million disabled workers and their dependents were receiving SSDI benefits from Social Security.

      SSDI pays cash benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability. Benefits continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis, or until you reach retirement age. At that point, the disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same. After receiving SSDI benefits for two years, you also become eligible for health insurance coverage under Medicare. The disability program also includes a number of work incentives to ease your transition back to work.

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      Who is eligible?

      As with retirement benefits, you must have accumulated a certain number of work credits before you can qualify for SSDI disability benefits. However, fewer credits are required to qualify for the disability program than for retirement. You can earn up to four credits per year of employment. How many credits you need to qualify for disability depends on the age you become disabled.

      Who is “disabled”?

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      You Can Undo A Social Security Claiming Decision

      There aren’t many times in life you can take a mulligan. But Social Security offers you the chance for a do-over. Say you claimed your benefit, but soon thereafter wish you had waited to take it. Within the first 12 months of claiming Social Security benefits, you can withdraw the application. You will need to pay back all the benefits you received, including any spousal benefits based on your record. But you can later restart your Social Security benefits at the higher amount youll earn by waiting.

      Early claimers have another opportunity for a do-over: They can choose to suspend their Social Security benefit at full retirement age. Say you took your benefit at age 62. Once you turn full retirement age, you can suspend your benefit. You don’t have to pay back what you have received, and your benefit will earn delayed retirement credits of 8% a year. Wait to restart your benefit at age 70, and your monthly payment will get up to a 32% boost — which could erase much of the reduction from claiming early.

      Social Security Phone Number

      You can contact Social Security by phone by calling their toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, their TTY phone number is 1-800-325-0778. You can use their automated telephone services to obtain recorded information and to conduct some business 24 hours a day. You can speak with a Social Security representative if you call between 7am and 7pm Monday through Friday. You can also reach their TTY number if you call between 7am and 7pm Monday through Friday. For instructions on their Automated services click here.

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      What If You Don’t Earn Enough Work Credits

      If you do not earn 40 work credits over the course of your career, you will not become eligible for Social Security on your own work history. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of luck in getting benefits.

      In some cases, you can qualify for spousal benefits instead of claiming your own retirement benefits. Spousal benefits are available if you’re currently married, or if you are divorced but your marriage lasted a decade. You can also qualify for survivor benefits if you’ve been widowed or if your ex-spouse passed away after a marriage lasting 10 years or longer.

      These spousal or survivor benefits could give you Social Security income even if you never worked at all. They could also, in some cases, be worth more than your own retirement benefits if you earned enough work credits but your earnings weren’t as high over the course of your career.

      Basic Requirements To Receive Social Security Retirement Benefits

      Do you Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

      The first test a potential Social Security recipient has to meet involves immigration status. If you’re a U.S. citizen, then you meet this test. However, you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen if you’re lawfully present within the U.S. under ordinarily accepted statuses. That includes officially recognized permanent residents, but it also can cover other lawful nonimmigrants such as those who’ve sought and received political asylum.

      Once you’ve established eligibility based on citizenship or lawful immigration status, Social Security then turns to your work history to see if you’ve worked long enough in a job that pays Social Security payroll taxes into the system in order to qualify for benefits. The SSA has a in which workers can earn up to four credits every year. In 2018, it takes $1,320 to earn a credit, so workers who earn a total of $5,280 will have earned the four-credit maximum for the year. It takes 40 credits to qualify for retirement benefits, so at four credits per year, it usually takes a person 10 years to become eligible.

      Finally, for retirement benefits, you have to reach a certain age before Social Security will make payments. As you’ll see below, the age at which you qualify for full retirement benefits varies depending on when you were born, but all retirees can claim early benefits before reaching that full retirement age. However, when you start receiving benefits also has an impact on how much Social Security will pay you.

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      Benefits May Be Taxable

      You will have to pay taxes on your benefits if you file a federal tax return as an individual and your total income is more than $25,000. If you file a joint return and you and your spouse make more than $32,000 jointly, you will have to pay taxes on your benefits. For more information, call the InternalRevenue Service at 800-829-3676.

      How Much Work Do You Need

      In addition to meeting our definition of disability, you must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits.

      Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year.

      The amount needed for a work credit changes from year to year. In 2021, for example, you earn one credit for each $1,470 in wages or self-employment income. When you’ve earned $5,880, you’ve earned your four credits for the year.

      The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.

      For more information on whether you qualify, refer to How You Earn Credits.

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      Disability Awards And Your Retirement

      Disability awards are usually paid until retirement at age 65. There are some exceptions that depend on individual circumstances, such as age at the time of injuryand a specific plan made prior to the injury to work beyond age 65.

      If you receive a monthly disability award, youre also entitled to a retirement benefit. We set aside five percent of your award and invest it until the date of your retirement. In the case of lump sum benefits, we pay this at the time the award is granted. For monthly benefits, we pay this when you have reached the age of retirement.

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      Paying Taxes On Your Retirement Benefits

      Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability 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.

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      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.

      How To Apply For Social Security Benefits

      The application process by itself is fairly easy and can be accomplished either online, by telephone or in person at a local Social Security office. Generally, people can apply for Social Security when they turn 62, but in many instances, it makes good financial sense to delay applying for benefits.

      Social Security also provides benefits for spouses and children as well. Spouses who have not been high wage earners throughout their lives can actually piggyback off of their spouses earnings and draw as much as 50 percent of a retirement benefit using their spouses Social Security record. Certain rules do apply in this set of circumstances. Divorced spouses may also qualify for benefits if their marriage lasted for at least 10 years and they do not remarry before applying for benefits.

      In addition, if children meet requirements, they can also apply for benefits from their parents Social Security work records as well. They may be eligible for funds if a parent passes away and they are under 18 and still in school.

      Once a benefit amount has been set, that dollar amount cant go down, but it can go up, based on cost of living increases. Some benefit recipients may experience a temporary reduction based on income from other sources, but the base amount will always remain steady.

      For an overview of Social Security and to start applying for retirement benefits, go to www.socialsecurity.gov or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

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