Can I Collect More Than One Type Of Benefit At A Time
No. You may qualify for more than one type of Social Security benefit at a time, but you can collect just one. For example, you might be eligible for both retirement and disability, or you might be entitled to benefits based on your own retirement as well as on that of your retired spouse. You can collect whichever one of these benefits is higher, but not both.
Is Social Security Based On The Last 5 Years Of Work
Social Security benefits are based on your lifetime earnings. Your actual earnings are adjusted or indexed to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most.
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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Social Security Cards And Noncitizens
All U.S. citizens are eligible for SSNs. In addition, noncitizens authorized to work in the United States are eligible for SSNs. Noncitizens eligible to work in the United States include those who are admitted to the United States permanently and are often referred to as immigrants , and those who are admitted temporarily .
Social Security cards issued to noncitizens who are residing permanently in the United States are identical to those issued to U.S. citizens. Social Security cards issued to noncitizens who are in the United States temporarily bear the inscription, “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.” SSA also issues SSNs to noncitizens not authorized to work if the noncitizen is legally in the United States and needs an SSN to receive state or federal benefits or services.26 SSNs issued for this purpose bear the legend, “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT.”
Importantly, the SSN issued to a noncitizen does not change if the noncitizen adjusts status . Although the noncitizen is supposed to report any change of status to SSA, this does not always occur. As a result, it is possible that some U.S. citizens have Social Security cards with the inscription, “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.”
Social Security Death Index
Social Security collects death information to administer their programs this death information is compiled into the Death Master File , Social Securitys electronic database. The DMF was created in 1980 and contains records of people with Social Security numbers that have been reported dead from 1962 onward. Two versions of the DMF are prepared. The first is the full file, containing all death records, including those received from the States. This file is shared only with certain Federal and State agencies. The second is the public file, known as the Social Security Death Index.
The Social Security Death Index contains death records extracted from the Social Security database, excluding data received from the States. The records in the index each have a set of information that includes a full name, birth year and date, death year and date, and Social Security number and place of issue.
The Social Security Death Index is a helpful tool in preventing identity fraud, verifying death, and doing genealogy work. It is used by leading government agencies, medical researchers, genealogists, biographers, and investigative firms. You can access some of these records through online sites such as FamilySearch.
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Fact #: Social Security Is More Than Just A Retirement Program It Provides Important Life Insurance And Disability Insurance Protection As Well
Over 64 million people, or more than 1 in every 6 U.S. residents, collected Social Security benefits in June 2020. While older Americans make up about 4 in 5 beneficiaries, another one-fifth of beneficiaries received Social Security Disability Insurance or were young survivors of deceased workers.
In addition to Social Securitys retirement benefits, workers earn life insurance and SSDI protection by making Social Security payroll tax contributions:
- About 96 percent of people aged 20-49 who worked in jobs covered by Social Security in 2019 have earned life insurance protection through Social Security.
- For a young worker with average earnings, a spouse, and two children, thats equivalent to a life insurance policy with a face value of over $725,000 in 2018, according to Social Securitys actuaries.
- About 89 percent of people aged 21-64 who worked in covered employment in 2019 are insured through Social Security in case of severe disability.
The risk of disability or premature death is greater than many realize. Some 6 percent of recent entrants to the labor force will die before reaching the full retirement age, and many more will become disabled.
Can I Keep A Job Even After I Start Collecting Retirement Dependents Or Survivors Benefits
Yes, and many people do just that. People who are past full retirement age may work and earn any amount without losing any of their Social Security benefits.
But before you reach full retirement age, Social Security will subtract money from your benefit check if you exceed a certain amount of earned income for the year . The limit applies only to earnings from work it does not apply to income from such things as savings, investments, pensions, or rental property. In other words, earnings from these sources will not affect your Social Security benefits.
The Social Security Administration has added a special twist for the year in which you reach full retirement age. During the 12 months prior to your birthday, you will lose one dollar of benefits for every three dollars you earn over a set monthly limit . After your birthday, you can earn any amount of money without losing benefits.
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You Did Not Pass The Social Security Earnings Examination
Early claimants who are still employed must meet the requirements of the Social Security earnings test in order to be eligible for payments.
Once you reach full retirement age, there is no longer any need for such a test. When you earn more than $18,960 per year, the Social Security Administration will temporarily withhold $1 from your benefits in 2021.
However, there is a more lenient monthly test for people who are entering the year of complete retirement.
Fact #: Most Elderly Beneficiaries Rely On Social Security For The Majority Of Their Income
Social Security provides the majority of income to most elderly Americans. For about half of seniors, it provides at least 50 percent of their income, and for about 1 in 4 seniors, it provides at least 90 percent of income, across multiple surveys and the study that matches survey and administrative data.
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Who Is Eligible To Collect Social Security Benefits
The specific eligibility requirements for Social Security benefits vary depending on the type of benefits, the age of the person filing the claim and, if you are claiming as a dependent or survivor, the age of the worker.
There is one general requirement, however, that applies to all Social Security programs except for SSI : The worker on whose earnings record the benefit is to be paid must have worked in “covered employment” for a sufficient number of years. This means that the worker must have earned enough of what Social Security calls “work credits” by the time he or she claims retirement benefits, becomes disabled, or dies .
For Social Security retirement benefits, you must be between the ages of 62 and 70 to start collecting benefits.
To check on your eligibility, see Nolo’s article Checking you Social Security Earnings and Benefits or call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.
How Does It Work
Social Security benefits are based on the workers’ average monthly earnings adjusted for inflation. We separate your average earnings into three amounts and multiply the amounts using three factors. For example, for a worker who turns 62 in 2002, the first $592 of average monthly earnings is multiplied by 90% the next $2,975 by 32% and the remainder by 15%.
The 90% factor is reduced in the modified formula and phased in for workers who reached age 62 or became disabled between 1986 and 1989. For those who reach 62 or become disabled in 1990 or later,the 90% factor is reduced to 40%.
There are exceptions to this rule. The 90% factor is not reduced if you have 30 or more years of “substantial” earnings for each year. If you have 21 or 29 years of substantial earnings, the 90% factor is reduced to between 45% and 85%.
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How To Qualify For Ssi Benefits
You can get Social Security Disability benefits even if you do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. The SSA offers the SSI program to disabled adults and children who have limited financial resources. It is a safety net so that people who cannot work for a living but do not qualify to collect SSDI can pay for essential items, like food, clothing, and shelter.
To qualify, you have to meet the same medical disability standards as a person does for SSDI. In addition, your income must be low, and your countable assets cannot exceed certain limits. Specifically, you could qualify for SSI benefits if:
- You have a severe illness or injury that meets the benchmarks of the SSAs Listing of Impairments, also called the Blue Book.
- Your disability prevents you from supporting yourself through gainful employment.
- You have very little income. This income limit can change every year. In addition, the income limit tends to vary by location because SSI is a joint program of the federal and state governments.
- Your countable assets do not exceed the SSI limit. This number can also change every year. Your home and the land it is on do not count as assets. Most cars also do not count toward your resources.
You must satisfy all of these elements to be eligible for SSI benefits. If you are struggling to understand the qualifications for SSDI or SSI, our firm can help you navigate these matters and apply for the benefits you may be entitled to because of your medical condition.
You Did Not Pass The Social Security Earnings Test
To qualify for benefits, early claimants who are still working must meet the Social Security earnings test. Once you reach full retirement age, there is no such exam. The Social Security Administration will temporarily withhold $1 in payments for every $2 earned beyond $18,960 in 2021, while there is a more lenient monthly test for people entering the year of full retirement.
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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.
Can A Grown Child Collect Parents Social Security
How much can a family get? Within a family, a child can receive up to half of the parents full retirement or disability benefits. If a child receives survivors benefits, they can get up to 75% of the deceased parents basic Social Security benefit. It can be from 150% to 180% of the parents full benefit amount.
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The Railroad Retirement Act Provides You With Protection
Some railroad workers are also insured by a retirement scheme that is separate from Social Security, and they are therefore ineligible for Social Security retirement payments.
People who participate in the Railroad Retirement Act contribute a greater proportion of their wages to the fund but earn higher pension payouts when they retire
notably career employees who have worked for the company for more than 30 years.
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Youre Covered Under The Civil Service Retirement System
Instead of paying into Social Security, some federal employees hired before 1984 have instead been contributing to the Civil Service Retirement System . The CSRS was formed as part of the 1920 Civil Service Retirement Act and was replaced by the Federal Employees Retirement System in 1987. CSRS recipients do not receive Social Security benefits unless theyre eligible through another job or through a spouse.
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You Failed The Social Security Earnings Test
Early claimers who are still working have to pass the Social Security earnings test in order to qualify for benefits. There is no such test once you reach full retirement age. In 2021, the Social Security Administration temporarily withheld $1 in benefits for every $2 earned over $18,960, although theres a more forgiving monthly test for those entering the year of full retirement.
You Have A Debt That Is Suitable For Garnishment
Private lenders find it difficult to seize your Social Security payments, but your benefits can be garnished to settle certain types of other obligations. Alimony, child support, and restitution are among them, although the states define what makes a legitimate garnishment order. If your payments have been garnished for any of these reasons, contact the relevant state agency rather than the Social Security Administration.
You would be accurate if you predicted that tax debt is one of the other exclusions. The Treasury Department has the authority to garnish up to 15% of your Social Security payments each month until your tax liability is settled. The Treasury Department has the authority to garnish your benefits for non-tax debt, including any federal student loans you may have defaulted on.
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The Railroad Retirement Act Protects You
Some railroad employees are also insured by a retirement scheme other than Social Security and are thus ineligible for benefits. People who participate in the Railroad Retirement Act pay a larger percentage of their income into the fund but earn higher compensation when they retire, especially career workers with at least 30 years of service.
Myth #: Theres No Do Over With Social Security Filing
Making a hasty and unexamined decision to file can cost you a pretty penny in the total of benefits you stand to collect throughout the rest of your life. But Social Security does allow beneficiaries some wiggle room.
You can change your mind about filing and withdraw your application within the first 12 months of collecting. You can only do it once, and you do need to pay the government back for what you collected. Repayment includes any Medicare benefits you had deducted from your Social Security benefit.
People who have reached their full retirement age but arent yet age 70 can also suspend their benefits. They can earn retirement credits for each month that benefits are suspended, leading to a higher benefit in the future.
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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.
Can I Retire At 55 And Collect Social Security
So can you retire at 55 and collect Social Security? The answer, unfortunately, is no. The earliest age to begin drawing Social Security retirement benefits is 62. Once you turn 62, you could claim Social Security retirement benefits but your earnings from consulting work could affect how much you collect.
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