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Who Can Claim Social Security

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Fact #: Social Security Provides A Foundation Of Retirement Protection For Nearly Every American And Its Benefits Are Not Means

Assistance for Social Security Disability Claims

97% of the elderly either receive Social Security or will receive it.

Almost all workers participate in Social Security by making payroll tax contributions, and almost all elderly Americans receive Social Security benefits. In fact, 97 percent of the elderly either receive Social Security or will receive it, according to Social Security Administration estimates. The near-universality of Social Security brings many important advantages.

Social Security provides a foundation of retirement protection for people at all earnings levels. It encourages private pensions and personal saving because it isnt means-tested in other words, it doesnt reduce or deny benefits to people whose income or assets exceed a certain level. Social Security provides a higher annual payout than private retirement annuities per dollar contributed because its risk pool is not limited to those who expect to live a long time, no funds leak out in lump-sum payments or bequests, and its administrative costs are much lower.

Indeed, universal participation and the absence of means-testing make Social Security very efficient to administer. Administrative costs amount to only 0.6 percent of annual benefits, far below the percentages for private retirement annuities. Means-testing Social Security would impose significant reporting and processing burdens on both recipients and administrators, undercutting many of those advantages while yielding little savings.

How Your Social Security Benefits Are Earned

To be eligible for Social Security benefits in retirement, you must earn at least 40 credits throughout your career. You can earn as many as four credits a year, so it takes 10 years of work to qualify for Social Security.

In 2021, you must earn $1,470 to get one Social Security work credit and $5,880 to get the maximum four credits for the year.

How Disability Benefits Differ

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are for people who are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, but became disabled before they reached full retirement age. When a beneficiary begins to receive disability benefits, certain members of their family may also qualify for benefits, including:

  • spouse

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Can You Collect Social Security If You Never Worked

It may seem logical that if you never worked and therefore never paid into Social Security that you would not be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Well, thats not the case. In fact, there are several different scenarios in which a person can receive Social Security benefits without ever having paid into the system, or even worked, for that matter.

Among the people eligible for Social Security without having worked are spouses and former spouses of people who are eligible for benefits, and survivors of beneficiaries along with their qualified children.

Making Sacrifices For The People We Love

Can A Spouse Claim Social Security Benefits After Death

Being married often means having to put someone else’s best interests ahead of yours. And that may apply when it comes to filing for Social Security.

While signing up for benefits at an earlier age may be preferable for you, delaying your filing could mean helping your spouse avoid financial worries for the rest of their life. And that’s reason enough to make that sacrifice.

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Workers Who Retire In Certain Foreign Countries

U.S. citizens who travel toor live inmost foreign countries after they retire usually can receive Social Security benefits. However, if that country is Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, North Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, or Uzbekistan, then the government will not send them Social Security payments. Exceptions may be available in all of these countries except Cuba and North Korea. The governments Payments Abroad Screening Tool is an easy way to check if you will be able to continue receiving Social Security benefits while living abroad or if restrictions will apply.

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.

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Youre Only Working Part Time

If you claim Social Security prior to your full retirement age while still holding down a part-time job, you might have your benefits reduced if your work income exceeds the annual limit. For 2021, if you are under full retirement age, your benefits go down by $1 for every $2 your income exceeds $18,960. If you reach full retirement age in 2021, your benefits go down by $1 for every $3 your income exceeds $50,520 prior to reaching full retirement age. If youre working part-time to help make ends meet, taking Social Security at 62 might make sense.

No : Check Your Record

When is the Best Time to Start Claiming Social Security Benefits?

You can get a good estimate of how much income you can expect to receive from Social Security by setting up a My Social Security* account with the Social Security Administration . Doing so will let you see the SSA’s record of your earnings, which you should revisit now and then, to make sure they’re correct. If they’re not, you might end up receiving smaller benefit checks than you’ve actually earned. Fixing errors in your record can be an effective way to increase your benefits.

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Supplemental Security Income Benefits

Supplemental Security Income helps people who are unable to earn sufficient wages on their own. It is available to adults with disabilities, children with disabilities and people 65 or older. Individuals with enough work history may be eligible to receive SSI in addition to disability or retirement benefits. The amount individuals receive varies based on their other sources of income and where they live.

How Should I Decide When To Take Benefits

Consider the following factors as you decide when to take Social Security.

Your cash needs: If you’re contemplating early retirement and you have sufficient resources , you can be flexible about when to take Social Security benefits.

If you’ll need your Social Security benefits to make ends meet, you may have fewer options. If possible, you may want to consider postponing retirement or work part-time until you reach your full retirement ageor even longer so that you can maximize your benefits.

Your life expectancy and break-even age: Taking Social Security early reduces your benefits, but you’ll also receive monthly checks for a longer period of time. On the other hand, taking Social Security later results in fewer checks during your lifetime, but the credit for waiting means each check will be larger.

At what age will you break even and begin to come out ahead if you delay Social Security? The break-even age depends on the amount of your benefits and the assumptions you use to account for taxes and the opportunity cost of waiting . The SSA has several handy calculators you can use to estimate your own benefits.

If you think you’ll beat the average life expectancy, then waiting for a larger monthly check might be a good deal. On the other hand, if you’re in poor health or have reason to believe you won’t beat the average life expectancy, you might decide to take what you can while you can.

A quick note about life expectancy

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Claiming Social Security At Age 70

If you are able to delay claiming your Social Security benefit until you reach age 70, you will earn a significantly higher benefit. After your Full Retirement Age of 66 , your benefit goes up by eight percent each year. Consequently, if your full retirement benefit at age 66 was $1,000 per month, and you delay claiming your benefit, it will be $1,080 per month by age 67 or an additional $960 per year. If you delay until age 70, it will be 124 percent of your expected benefit or $1,240 a month. That comes out to $2,880 more each year.

Delaying past age 70 will not increase your benefit, however.

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You’re Concerned Social Security Will Disappear

How Divorce Can Affect Your Social Security

Some people are concerned about potential Social Security changes in the future, such as higher retirement ages, lower benefits or higher taxes on benefits. As a result, they want to take the sure thing as soon as possible. In a 2017 Social Security summary, the government said Social Security trust funds will be depleted in 2034. Even then, however, annual Social Security taxes are projected to keep benefits at almost three-fourths of current levels.

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Who Misses Out On Social Security Benefits And Why

    InvestopediaForbes AdvisorThe Motley Fool, CredibleInsider

        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.

        Do Pensions Count As Income For Social Security

        Only earned income, your wages, or net income from self-employment is covered by Social Security. Pension payments, annuities, and the interest or dividends from your savings and investments are not earnings for Social Security purposes. You may need to pay income tax, but you do not pay Social Security taxes.

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        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
        67

        Certain Immigrants Over Age 65

        Can A Claim For Social Security Benefits Be Pursued After Death?

        Retired people who immigrate to the United States will not have the 40 U.S. work credits that they need to qualify for Social Security benefits. One way to rectify this problem is to earn six work credits in the United States and receive prorated U.S. benefits combined with prorated benefits from their former country under a totalization agreement. This solution makes sense for workers who also do not have enough benefits in their home country to qualify for that countrys equivalent of Social Security payments.

        Older immigrants who do not qualify for U.S. Social Security and whose countries laws allow them to receive benefit payments while residing abroad can claim their Social Security or pensioners benefits while living in the U.S.

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        Fact #: Social Security Is Particularly Important For People Of Color

        Social Security is a particularly important source of income for groups with low earnings and less opportunity to save and earn pensions, including Black and Latino workers and their families, who face higher poverty rates both during their working lives and in old age. The poverty rate among Black and Latino seniors is over 2.5 times as high as for white seniors. There is a significant racial retirement wealth gap, leading seniors of color to face more retirement insecurity than white seniors. African American and Latino workers are less likely to be offered workplace retirement plans and likelier to work in low-wage jobs with little margin for savings. Social Security helps reduce the economic disparities between white seniors and seniors of color.

        What If I Delay Taking My Benefits

        If you retire sometime between your full retirement age and age 70, you typically earn a “delayed retirement” credit . For example, say you were born in 1955 and your full retirement age is 66 and 2 months. If you started your benefits at age 68, you would receive a credit of 8% per year multiplied by approximately two . This makes your benefit ~15% higher than the amount you would have received at age 66.

        That higher baseline lasts for the rest of your retirement and serves as the basis for future increases linked to inflation. While it’s important to consider your personal circumstancesit’s not always possible to wait, particularly if you are in poor health or can’t afford to delaythe benefits of waiting can be significant.

        If you decide to wait past age 65, you may still need to sign up for Medicare. In some circumstancesyour Medicare coverage may be delayed and cost more if you do not sign up at age 65.

        Effect of late retirement on benefits

        1.Represents Full Retirement Age based on DOB Jan. 2, 1955

        2.PIA = The primary insurance amount is the basis for benefits that are paid to an individual

        To review your situation, your annual Social Security statement will list your projected benefits at age 62, full retirement age, and age 70, assuming you continue to work and earn about the same amount until age 62, full retirement age, or age 70 before retiring. If you need a copy of your annual statement, you can request one from the Social Security Administration .

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        How Do You Apply For Social Security Benefits

        If you are eligible for Social Security benefits, you can apply online, by phone or by appointment at a local Social Security office.

        How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

        Online
        Applying online is the easiest way to apply for Social Security benefits. The Social Security website allows you to apply for retirement, spouses, Medicare and disability benefits at the same site. You can also apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
        Phone
        If you dont have Internet access, you can sign up by phone. You can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 .
        In-person
        The Social Security Administration has restrictions on office visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. It does allow in-person visits for certain services. You should check with the SSAs Coronavirus page to see if you can make an in-person appointment at your local office.

        Eligibility Requirements For Divorced Spouses

        Can I File a Social Security Disability Claim While I am ...

        Before you can receive benefits on your ex-husbands Social Security work record, you must meet all of the following spousal-benefit eligibility requirements: your ex is entitled to Social Security retirement benefits your marriage lasted at least 10 years you are unmarried youre at least 62 years old, and the benefit youre entitled to on your own work record is less than the benefit youd receive on your exs record. If your ex-husband hasnt applied for benefits yet, but qualifies for them and is age 62 or older, you can receive benefits on his record if youve been divorced from him for at least two years and meet all of the requirements listed above.

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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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