Social Security Numbers And Drivers Licenses
Many states require that you or your dependent have an SSN or have already applied for one before you apply for a driver’s license. In these states, if you or your dependents are not eligible to work but want to apply for a driver’s license, you must first apply for an SSN at the local SSA office and receive a Form SSA-L676, “Refusal to Process SSN Application.” To learn more, visit our Driving in the States page and talk with your DSO.
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How Can I Increase My Retirement Benefits
There are multiple ways you can increase your retirement benefits. This article mentioned a few ways briefly. Below is a list of other ways you could increase your benefits payment.
Social Security benefits can be increased by:
A Quick Note About Life Expectancy: According To The Social Security Administration Average Life Expectancy For A 65
Your spouse: If you are married, you can explore additional strategies to maximize the benefits you receive collectively. Start by taking your spouse’s age, health, and benefits into account, particularly if you’re the higher-earning spouse. The amount of survivor benefits for a lower-earning spouse could depend on the deceased, higher-earning spouse’s benefitthe bigger the higher-earning spouse’s benefit, the bigger the benefit for the surviving spouse.
Whether you’re still working. Earning a wage can reduce your benefit temporarily if you take Social Security early. If you’re still working and you haven’t reached your full retirement age, $1 in benefits will be deducted for every $2 you earn above the annual limit .
In the year you reach your full retirement age, the reduction falls to $1 in benefits deducted for every $3 you earn above a higher limit . However, starting the month you hit your full retirement age, your benefits are no longer reduced no matter how much you earn.
Again, any reduction in benefits due to the earnings test is only temporary. You receive the money back in the form of a recalculated higher benefit beginning at full retirement age, so don’t use the reduction as the sole reason to cut back on working or worrying about earning too much.
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When A Spouse Dies
When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive the higher of their own benefit or their deceased spouses benefit. Thats why financial planners often advise the higher-earning spouse to delay claiming. If the higher-earning spouse dies first, then the surviving, lower-earning spouse will receive a larger Social Security check for life.
When the surviving spouse hasnt reached their FRA, they will be entitled to prorated amounts starting at age 60. Once at their FRA, the surviving spouse is entitled to 100% of the deceased spouses benefit or their own benefit, whichever is higher.
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How Social Security Approval Works
When you retire, a lot of questions cross your mind. The first question you should ask is when to claim social security benefits. See our article on When to Claim Social Security Benefits.
The next question after you decide to claim is: how long does it take to get my first social security check? It would be prudent to start by knowing how long it takes to apply for social security online. To your relief, the process will not take a lot of your time. Once your application is done and submitted, you will be wondering how long it takes to get social security approval.
Typically, it takes 6 weeks to process your application and for the benefits to start. However, it will take longer if you submit incorrect information. Also, the duration for approval will depend on the number of submissions the Social Security Administration will be processing at the time. Overall, the wait time is at least six weeks or longer depending on a number of factors.
You will need your social security number, birth certificate, and supporting financial documents when you apply. Tax return evidence and W-2 forms are also required for self-employed applicants.
For those not born in the USA, you should provide proof of citizenship. A certificate of citizenship or passport will be adequate. Also, marital information will be required.
Luckily, all these documents are not required at once when you apply. The SSA will send you notifications when they are required.
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.
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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
Apply Online For Disability Benefits
Social Security offers an online disability application you can complete at your convenience. Apply from the comfort of your home or any location at a time most convenient for you. You do not need to drive to your local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.
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 disability benefits in the last 60 days. If your application was recently denied for medical reasons, the Internet Appeal is a starting point to request a review of the medical determination we made.
- Print and review the Adult Disability Checklist.
It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
We suggest that you have the following information at hand. It will make completing the application much easier.
Information About You
Information About Your Medical Condition
Information About Your Work
We may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:
We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns or medical documents, but we must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate.
Mailing Your Documents
After we receive your online application, we will:
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Applying For Social Security
- Generally, you should apply for Social Security retirement benefits three months before you want your benefits to begin. Even if you dont plan to receive benefits right away, you should still sign up for Medicare three months before you reach age 65.
- If you were born before 1938 and you meet all other requirements, you can receive benefits beginning with the first full month you are age 62. However, if you choose to begin receiving benefits before age 65, your benefits will be reduced to account for the longer period over which you will be paid.
- The full retirement age is 65 for persons born before 1938. The age gradually rises until it reaches 67 for persons born in 1960 or later. Social Security benefits are payable at full retirement age for anyone with enough Social Security credits. As you work and pay taxes, you earn credits that count towards eligibility for future Social Security benefits. You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. Most people need 40 credits to qualify for benefits. People who delay retirement beyond full retirement age get special credit for each month they dont receive a benefit until they reach age 70.
- To find out what your retirement age is, use the Social Security Retirement Age Chart at www.ssa.gov
- You should speak with a Social Security representative in the year before you plan to retire. It may be to your advantage to start receiving your retirement benefits before you actually stop working.
ave questions? Call at 874-4618.
What Is Full Retirement Age
The size of your monthly Social Security benefit depends on a few factors, including how much you earned over the years, the year you were born, and the age when you start claimingdown to the month.
Youll receive your full monthly benefit if you start claiming when you reach what Social Security considers your full retirement age , sometimes also referred to as normal retirement age. FRA was 65 when Social Security began, but it has been raised to 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later. To find your FRA, see the chart below.
|Finding Your Full Retirement Age|
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Age : Wait And Accumulate Delayed Retirement Credits
At 70, you will get the maximum amount of benefits that you can get from Social Security. It does not make sense to delay your Social Security retirement age past 70 because your benefit amount will not increase. Waiting until 70 to begin your Social Security if you are married and are the higher earner results in a higher survivor benefit for your spouse.
How To Apply For Social Security Retirement Benefits
Do you plan to use Social Security Benefits soon?
Are you a young person just starting to work?
Either way, understanding Social Security benefits, how they are calculated, and how you can get the most out of them will help you to plan for your future.
This article will cover who qualifies for Social Security Benefits, the application process, and how your benefits are calculated.
It will also touch on factors to keep in mind throughout your career and when deciding the age you should apply for Social Security Benefits.
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If youre about to retire, you may be wondering whether you should start claiming your hard-earned Social Security benefits now. Here are a few key factors to consider in making that decision.
Tips For A Successful Retirement
- Saving for retirement requires a strong financial plan and smart investing. A financial advisor help you on both fronts. SmartAssets free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If youre ready to be matched with local advisors who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Dont forget to include Social Security payments in your retirement plans. They may not have a titanic impact on your finances in retirement, but they can line your pockets with some extra cash when you might need it. SmartAssets Social Security calculator can help you get an idea of your future benefits.
- If you are thinking about where to retire, SmartAssets retirement tax-friendliness tool can help you figure out how your Social Security benefits, property taxes, and retirement account and pension withdrawals will be taxed in each state.
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When To Apply If You’re Turning 70
Social Security won’t automatically start sending you checks once you turn 70, with one exception: If you took benefits after reaching full retirement age and then suspended your benefits to earn delayed credits of 8% per year, your benefits will automatically restart at 70.
Otherwise, you’ll need to file an application. The earliest you can file for Social Security is four months before you want your benefits to start.
Regardless of when you file, make sure you specify that you want your benefit to begin the month you turn 70 to get the maximum amount. Social Security pays a month behind, so expect your first payment to arrive the month after your 70th birthday. For example, if you were born on May 10, you’d request that your benefits start in May and receive the first payment in June.
But there is an exception if you were born on the 1st of the month. For those people, Social Security calculates benefits as if they were born the previous month. So if you were born May 1, you’d request that your benefits start in April. Your first payment would arrive in May.
An Example Of Taxed Benefits
Lets say you receive the maximum Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at FRA in 2021: $3,148 per month. Your spouse receives half as much, or $1,574 a month. Together, you receive $4,722 a month, or $56,664 per year. Half of that, or $28,332, counts toward your combined income for determining whether you have to pay tax on part of your Social Security benefits. Lets further assume that you dont have any nontaxable interest, wages, or other income except for your traditional individual retirement accounts required minimum distribution of $10,000 for the year.
Your combined income would be $38,332half of your Social Security income, plus your IRA distributionwhich would make up to 50% of your Social Security benefits taxable because youve exceeded the $32,000 threshold. Now, you may be thinking, 50% of $56,664 is $28,332, and Im in the 12% tax bracket, so the tax on my Social Security benefits will be $3,399.84.
Fortunately, the calculation takes other factors into account, and your tax would be a mere $225. You can read all about the taxation of Social Security benefits in the Internal Revenue Service Publication 915.
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Getting A Social Security Number For A New Baby
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.
Your Social Security Checklist
Dont underestimate the power of your Social Security benefit. Its an important part of your retirement.
But Social Security was never meant to be a catchall retirement program. Its built to replace only about 40% of income. Youre going to need other income sources to complete your retirement income picture.
Heres your social security to-do list:
Dont look for advice from agents at the Social Security administration office. They will give you the facts, but they are not allowed to tell you whats best for your situation. You also dont want to get advice from anyone who offers a one-size-fits all solution. If someone tells you, Always file early, or Always delay, dont take their advice. You dont want to blindly trust advice either.
Its best to understand the basics of Social Security for yourself so you can feel confident about the best age to apply. This is your retirement after all.
If you want Social Security advice that takes your whole financial life into account, you can schedule a call with one of our advisors and start the process: Schedule a call. Ready to meet with us virtually or in person? Schedule a meeting here.
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