How Do Benefits Work And How Can I Qualify
While you work, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money goes into a trust fund that pays benefits to:
Those who are currently retired
To people with disabilities
To the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died
Each year you work, youll get credits to help you become eligible for benefits when its time for you to retire. Find all the benefits Social Security Administration offers.
There are four main types of benefits that the SSA offers:
Learn about earning limits if you plan to work while receiving Social Security benefits
Social Security Retirement Age : If You Are A Widow/widower
If you are a widow or widower, you can receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as 60. If you;have not reached your full retirement age, and you are still working and earn more than the earnings limit, your;benefits will be reduced. Once you reach full retirement age, no more reductions will apply, regardless of how much you work and earn. Those working will want to consider waiting until their full retirement age to begin widow/widower benefits.
One option available to widows/widowers is to file a restricted application, which means you can begin one type of benefit, such as a survivor benefit; then when you reach 70, you can switch over to your retirement benefit amount if it would be larger.
Is My Spouse Eligible To Receive Social Security Spousal Benefits
Spouses are eligible to receive 50 percent of their spouses full retirement benefit if they wait until they reach full retirement age. If they apply for a spousal retirement benefit before that time, the amount is pro-rated, depending on the age at which the spouse applies. For example:
If a spouse applies for a spousal retirement benefit at age 62 and the full retirement benefit is age 67, the applicant will get 32.5 percent of the spousal benefit.
If a spouse applies for a spousal retirement benefit at age 62 and the full retirement benefit is age 65, the applicant will get 37.5 percent of the spousal benefit.
The benefit increases as ages go up, to a maximum of 50 percent at full retirement age. It should also be noted that only one spouse can apply for a spouses benefit when a couple is married.
In cases of divorce, the divorced spouse can get retirement benefits on the spouses record if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years. To collect this benefit, the spouse must be at least 62 years old and not married. That benefit does not impact the amount a spouse and their current married partner can get.
If You Were Born In 1960 Your Full Retirement Age Is 67
You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount you receive will be less than your full retirement benefit amount.
The chart below provides examples of the percentage of your full retirement benefit amount you and your spouse would receive from age 62 up to your full retirement age.
Increasing The Eligibility Age For Social Security Pensions
Social Security faces a long-term financing problem. Many young workers believe the problem is so severe they may never receive a Social Security check. The most logical solution to Social Securitys financing problem is to trim promised benefits and increase payroll taxes moderately. A sensible way to reduce future benefits is to increase the early eligibility age and normal retirement age for retirement pensions. This reform is justified by the substantial increase in life spans that has occurred since Social Security was established in the 1930s. An increase in life spans, when the normal retirement age remains unchanged, is equivalent to a sizable increase in lifetime Social Security benefits.
Increasing the retirement age is unpopular with voters. Unfortunately, so are all other reforms that would restore Social Security to solvency, including tax hikes and cuts in the formula for calculating full pensions.
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.
Do Social Security Benefits Start The Month Of Your Birthday
When To Enroll in Retirement BenefitsThe choice to begin accepting benefits as early as allowed versus delaying until full retirement age or later is a personal one. Regardless of the age you choose to collect, the payment schedule hinges on the month of your birthday. In the case of family survivors, the point of reference is the birthday of the deceased who earned enough credits for the family to be eligible for survivor benefits.
Schedule of SS paymentsSocial Security benefits are not prorated. They start the month following the birthday. The schedule, according to AARP, follows this rule: When the birth date falls between the 1st and 10th of the month, the payment is issued on the second Wednesday of the month following the birthday month. For birth dates between the 11th and 20th of the month, expect to be paid on the third Wednesday after the birthday month. For birth dates from the 21st through the last date of the month, recipients will have to wait until the fourth Wednesday of the month that follows the birthday.
Consequences of Early RetirementThe reason people struggle with the decision of whether to collect at age 62, full retirement or 70 is the exponential difference in benefits. Contrary to what some believe, 66 is not always the full retirement age as defined by the SSA. Retirement age varies with the beneficiarys year of birth, ranging anywhere from age 65, for retirees born in 1937 or earlier, to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later.
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Employees Who Die Before The Age Of 62
The minimum age to claim Social Security retirement benefits is 62. If a person dies young, dependent children and spouses may be entitled to the benefits of survivors. At age 60, for example, widows and widowers can start receiving Social Security benefits based on their deceased spouses income record . Patients who are terminally ill can apply for SSDI, which means they will still receive some benefits from their contributions to the program.
What if you have a terminal illness and are approaching retirement age? If you are single, applying for a job right away can be a daunting task. However, if you have a partner, postponing can give your spouse great benefits. Spouse income can be up to 50% of the employees income, depending on the spouses retirement age and whether the spouse is eligible for retirement benefits based on his or her income record. The Social Security Administration has an online calculator that helps determine marital benefits.
If you do not qualify for Social Security payments, you will need to make sure you have enough money to support your life when you retire.
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.
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Ask Larry: Will I Be Eligible For Social Security Survivors Benefits
Economic Security Planning, Inc.
Today’s column addresses questions about how many years a couple must be married before one could be eligible for survivor’s benefits on the other’s record, how month of filing affects when delayed retirement credits are paid and what week of the month benefits are paid. Larry Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston University and the founder and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc.
Have Social Security questions of your own youd like answered? Ask Larry about Social Security here.
Will Social Security Survivor Benefits Really Be Available After Less Than 10 Years Of Marriage?
HI Larry, My husband and I are both on SSA. Were both 73 and we got married in 2017. I was told by one person that we have to be married for at least 10 years before I’d be able to get a widow’s benefit from his record but someone else said it’s less than a year that we need to be married. Which is right? Thanks, Karen
Hi Karen, If you’re currently married to your husband when he dies, you wouldn’t need to have been married for 10 years to potentially qualify for widow’s benefits. You only need to have been married for at least nine months to meet the duration of marriage requirement for widow’s benefits. The 10 year requirement applies to divorced spousal and divorced survivor’s benefits.
If I File The Month I Turn 69, Will I Get All Of My DRCs On My First Check?
How To Receive Federal Benefits
To begin receiving your federal benefits, like Social Security or veterans benefits, you must sign up for electronic payments with direct deposit.
If You Have a Bank or Credit Union Account:;
- Call the Go Direct Helpline at .
If You Don’t have a Bank or Credit Union Account:;
- Direct Express debit card;- a pre-paid debit card. Get help by calling the Go Direct Helpline at .;
Make Changes to an Existing Direct Deposit Account:
Learn how to make changes to an existing direct deposit account. You also may contact the federal agency that pays your benefit for help with your enrollment.
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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.
How Disability Benefits Get Calculated
Coming up with the amount of disability benefits you’re entitled to receive involves a similar process as for retirement benefits, except that the length of time over which your average indexed monthly earnings are based is necessarily shorter. Rather than needing a full 35-year history as you’d have with retirement benefits, the SSA looks at the work history you’ve had up to the date that the disabling injury or illness took place. It then takes a certain number of years’ worth of earnings to calculate the appropriate average indexed monthly earnings amount.
Here’s how the SSA figures out exactly how many years of work history it considers in coming up with your benefit amount:
Step 1: First, you figure out how many years in your adult career you’ve had, by taking your age right now and then subtracting 22. So if you’re 45 years old, you’ve had 45 minus 22, or 23 years in which you could have worked as an adult.
Step 2: Take that number and divide it by 5, with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5. In the example above, 23 divided by 5 is 4.6, which you round down to 4.
Step 3: Subtract the second number from the first. In our example, 23 minus 4 gives 19.
When Older People Are Eligible For Social Security
Today, older adults become eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits at age 66 or 67 depending on their birth year and whether they or their spouse have met the work credit requirement.
For anyone born in 1929 or later, the minimum work credit requirement for Social Security benefits is 40 credits or 10 years of work. The year you can start taking full Social Security benefits is known as your full retirement age or normal retirement age.
|Age for Receiving Full Social Security Benefits|
|1960 and later||67|
If you were born on January 1 of any year, refer to the previous year when calculating your full retirement age.
Unlike Medicare, older people can opt to start taking their benefits before their full retirement age. The earliest you can begin taking Social Security benefits is age 62. However, if you begin taking Social Security payments before your full retirement age, you will receive a reduced monthly benefit for the remainder of your life.
If you are a widow or widower, you can start claiming your spouse’s reduced Social Security benefits when you are age 60, or 50 if you are disabled. You can then switch to taking your own full benefit at your full retirement age.
You can also choose to delay your Social Security benefit past full retirement age until age 70. This will often make you eligible for delayed retirement credits, which increase your monthly benefit for the remainder of your life.
Ssi Or Ssdi Beneficiaries: Are You Eligible For The Third Stimulus Check
If you’re over age 65 and a recipient of;Supplemental Security Income;or;Social Security Disability Insurance, you were eligible for a first and second stimulus check, and will be eligible for a third. This also includes many VA recipients and Retired Railroad Workers.
If you count as someone else’s dependent, you may be eligible for stimulus money in the potential third round of checks.
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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|
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:
Full Retirement Age: Age 6567 Depending On Date Of Birth
Your full retirement age is determined by your day and year of birth, and it is the age in which you get your full amount of Social Security benefits. For every year you delay taking your benefits from full retirement age up until you turn 70, your benefit amount will increase by almost 8% a year. It is referred to as a delayed retirement credit. This increase can result in more lifetime income for you and your spouse. Even after factoring in a potential return on investment and the monthly benefits you could have received if you claimed early, there can still be a $50,000$100,000 increase in lifetime benefits by waiting until you are older.
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