Documents You Need To Apply
Please select the benefit you will be applying for from the list below to see what information and documents you may need when you apply:
If you don’t have all the documents you need, don’t delay applying for Social Security benefits.
In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you. If we can’t verify your information online, we can still help you get the information you need.
Mailing Your Documents
If you mail any documents to us, you must include the Social Security number so that we can match them with the correct application. Do not write anything on the original documents. Please write the Social Security number on a separate sheet of paper and include it in the mailing envelope along with the documents.
Survivors Benefits For Spouses
Widows and widowers are eligible for benefits under their deceased spouses record, generally including:
- 100 percent of the workers benefit amount if they are at full retirement age
- 71-99 percent of the workers benefit amount if they are older than 60 but younger than full retirement age
- Benefits beginning at age 50 if they are disabled and the disability started before or within 7 years of their spouses death
- 75 percent of the workers benefit amount at any age if they are taking care of your child, who is under 16 years old or disabled, who received benefits on your record. They must also not have remarried.
Get Ssa Benefits While Living Overseas
U.S. citizens can travel to or live in most, but not all, foreign countries and still receive their Social Security benefits. You can find out if you can receive benefits overseas by using the Social Security Administrations payment verification tool. Once you access the tool, pick the country you’re visiting or living in from the drop-down menu options.
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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%
Benefits For Disabled Widows Or Widowers
If something happens to a worker, benefits may be payable to their widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse with a disability if the following conditions are met:
- The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse is between ages 50 and 60.
- The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse has a medical condition that meets the definition of disability for adults and the disability started before or within seven years of the worker’s death.
Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivors benefits. However, if they want to apply for these benefits, they should contact Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment
To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.
We use the same definition of disability for widows and widowers as we do for workers.
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What Affects Social Security Retirement Amounts:
Social Security payments are different for everyone because they are decided by a number of factors. What you get for your own retirement will depend on:
Your full retirement age: While you can start collecting as early as 62 years old, the amount of money you get from each payment will depend on if you retire before or after your full retirement age. This is based on the year you were born, and you can find your own full retirement age HERE.
When you start collecting: Collecting before your full retirement age could reduce your monthly payments, while delaying them past your retirement age could increase the amount you get.
If you continue to work:Continuing to work after you begin receiving Social Security payments could increase the amount of money you get in the future, because the SSA recalculates the payments for their recipients each year.
If your family qualifies for benefits: Some family members may qualify to get benefits from your Social Security account, as much as one half of your full retirement benefit amount. This will not lower the amount that you personally receive from your Social Security benefits.
The Social Security Administration has a Retirement Estimator to help give you a general idea of what you can expect to receive.
When Am I Eligible For Social Security
To determine whether you are eligible for social security benefits, you should consult the SSAs list of disabling conditions. If your condition is not on the list, it might be considered as another severe medical condition. Other severe medical conditions that have higher approval rates are judged by the compassionate allowances list and by quick disability determinations. Some special cases for benefits include being a widow, veteran, disabled child, or blind individual. Since the application process is quite lengthy it is important to apply as soon as possible!
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Social Security Updates: Know When You Should Apply For The Benefits
After retirement, people worry about their money. If you start at an early age, then you will earn more. The longer you wait, the higher your monthly payout will be. That is why social security is essential. CNBC reports that 60% of retired people will lead a life below poverty without social security. Millions of retirees benefit from Social Security.
If you apply for social security after your retirement, naturally, you will get less benefit. A married person can get $1 to $1.5 million in benefits in their lifetime. Any eligible employee can get social security at 62. However, you may get a reduced monthly payment if you dont want to wait for the full retirement age. Lets look at the full retirement age, which depends on the year you were born. The persons born between 1943 to 1954 then full retirement age is 66. If the person is born between 1955 and 1959, the full retirement age is between 66 and 67.
How Credits Are Earned
Since 1978, when you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn up to a maximum of four credits per year.
The amount of earnings it takes to earn a credit may change each 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.
During your lifetime, you might earn more credits than the minimum number you need to be eligible for benefits. These extra credits do not increase your benefit amount. The average of your earnings over your working years, not the total number of credits you earn, determines how much your monthly payment will be when you receive benefits.
Read our publication, “How You Earn Credits,” for more information.
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Is Your Condition Severe
Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering for at least 12 months. If it does not, we will find that you are not disabled.
If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to Step 3.
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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What Are Social Security Disability Benefits
Before delving into the specifics of who qualifies for SSD, lets start with the most basic question: What is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance provides benefits to people who have performed qualifying work and have paid Social Security taxes, or who meet certain financial criteria, and have become disabled. The benefits include a monthly payment much like Social Security retirement benefits, and either permit a person early access to Medicare coverage or entitle them to Medicaid. The disability need not be permanent: a person may qualify for Social Security Disability if he or she is unable to work for a year or more.
Request A Change In Overpayment Recovery Rate
If you agree that you have been overpaid but are unable to repay the overpayment at the SSA has asked you to, you can work out a payment plan. https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-632.html.
Keep a copy of any documents you file with the Social Security Administration and get the names of any Social Security representatives you speak with concerning your case.
- Report wages for SSI or SSDI
- Update your direct deposit information
- Get replacement forms for tax purposes
- Get online notifications about your account and
- Access multiple planning tools, such as the Retirement Calculator.
You can create your own account here:
You Dont Get To Claim Both Benefits
Sorry, but the perks of marriage dont include double-dipping. Social Security will give you whichever is higher: your own benefit or your spouses benefit, but not both.
If you qualify for some benefits based on your earnings history, technically Social Security will use your own record first. Then theyll use your spouses record to get you the maximum benefit.
Is Your Condition Found In The List Of Disabling Conditions
For each of the major body systems, we maintain a list of medical conditions that we consider severe enough that it prevents a person from doing substantial gainful activity. If your condition is not on the list, we have to decide if it is as severe as a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, we will find that you are disabled. If it is not, we then go to Step 4.
We have two initiatives designed to expedite our processing of new disability claims:
- Compassionate Allowances: Certain cases that usually qualify for disability can be allowed as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. Examples include acute leukemia, Lou Gehrigs disease , and pancreatic cancer.
- Quick Disability Determinations: We use sophisticated computer screening to identify cases with a high probability of allowance.
For more information about our disability claims process, visit our Benefits For People With Disabilities website.
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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.
What Other Factors Should You Consider When Deciding To Collect Social Security
Before you decide to collect Social Security based on your break even point, you should also consider how collecting early or delaying could impact the benefit your spouse receives.
Since the Social Security formula benefit is based on an individual’s 35 highest earning years, women often collect less in benefits than men because of career breaks during motherhood and overall lower lifetime earnings. However, the Social Security spousal benefit erases some of the disparity in Social Security earnings between men and women.
The spousal benefit is available to all spouses, regardless of whether the spouse has a work history or not . The spousal benefit is 50% of the higher earner’s benefit and in order for a spouse to receive the benefit, the higher-earner must be collecting their own benefit.
The Social Security administration automatically determines whether an individual would earn more in Social Security benefits if they collected on their own work record versus their partner’s work record.
For example, if the higher earner receives a $2,000 monthly benefit, the spouse is eligible to receive up to $1,000, depending on whether they choose to wait until full retirement age, says Kiner. For example, if someone collects the spousal benefit four years before full retirement age, their benefit will be 35% of the higher-earner’s benefits.
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What Else Affects Your Retirement Benefits
Everyones retirement is unique. Beyond deciding when to begin receiving retirement benefits, other factors that can affect your benefits include whether you continue to work, what type of job you had, and if you have a pension from certain jobs.
Continuing To Work
You can choose to keep working beyond your full retirement age. If you do, you can increase your future Social Security benefits. Each extra year you work adds another year of earnings to your Social Security record. Higher lifetime earnings can mean higher benefits when you choose to receive benefits.
Specific Types Of Earnings
While Social Security earnings are calculated the same way for most American workers, there are some types of earnings that have additional rules.
Earning types with special rules include:
Pensions And Other Factors
Pensions and taxes have the potential to impact your retirement benefit. Review the resources below on pensions and other factors you should consider:
- Windfall Elimination Provision : If you have a pension from a job for which you didnt pay Social Security taxes, this policy may lower your retirement benefits.
- Government Pension Offset : This policy affects benefits as a spouse, widow, or widower if you have a pension from a government job for which you didnt pay Social Security taxes.
- Income Taxes And Your Social Security Benefits: You might have to pay federal income taxes on your Social Security benefits in certain situations.
The Retirement Age Will Be 67 If You Are Born After 1960
If you delay the receipts of your benefits past, then you can earn the full advantage. Before you hit 70 years, you will collect 8% each year. If you get the retirement age of 66, you can earn up to 132% of your full benefit. You can earn up to 124% then, the retirement age is 67. The social security benefit series should check with the government authorities to get the details regarding the benefits in 2022. The retirees should visit the online portal to keep track of the increase in the benefits and the amount they can expect after the recent changes.
How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits
If you find you just cant work while on dialysis, talk to your doctor about your likelihood of applying for disability benefits. Not only is a physicians help and support invaluable and necessary for your claim, but their professional opinion should be as well. If your doctor doesnt think youll be approved, then it may be worth the trouble of starting your Social Security disability claim. Some approvals can take up to two years.
If you decide to apply for benefits, whether with the Blue Book or an RFC, make sure you include all of the necessary medical evidence. Even if you meet a listing, leaving information out could cause your claim to be delayed or denied all together. 70 percent of applications are denied in the initial stage, though many are accepted during the appeal process.
Important medical evidence for kidney dialysis and disease will include:
- Blood tests that measure levels of chemicals and waste the kidney normally filter out
- Urine tests to show irregular chemicals, proteins, or blood
- Kidney biopsy to examine tissue
- Dialysis reports showing, kidney function before and during treatment
- Summaries of other treatments, such as surgeries and medications
- Information about any other hospitalizations and any other related documents
- Detailed reports from your primary care doctor and/or kidney doctor describing the limitations caused by your kidney failure and dialysis
Can I Qualify For Ssi While Collecting Social Security Retirement Benefits
While you cannot collect Social Security retirement and SSDI at the same time to increase your benefits beyond the full retirement amount, there is a program that may allow you to collect additional income.
SSI, which stands for Supplemental Security Income, is a Social Security program that helps seniors and those with a disability who have an extremely low income or limited assets. To qualify for SSI, you need to meet strict income qualifications and have only a minimum amount of resources. Resources, as the SSA defines the term, can be anything that can be turned into cash, such as:
- Bank accounts, stocks, or U.S. savings bonds
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