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Who Qualifies For Social Security

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What Things Automatically Qualify You For Disability

How Can I Qualify for Social Security Benefits?

The Social Security Administration uses strict criteria to determine who qualifies to receive disability benefits. However, some conditions automatically qualify patients for SSD payments.

The SSAs Compassionate Allowances program reduces waiting time for applications by maintaining a list of conditions that meet statutory standards for qualifying disabilities. Having a medical condition on the List of CAL Conditions may provide for expedited processing of your claim.

The list contains more than 200 conditions, including serious medical issues such as cancer, brain disorders, and rare childrens disorders. Some conditions that could automatically qualify for your benefits include:

  • Advanced cancer
  • Alzheimers disease

Ask Larry: Do I Qualify For Social Security Spousal Benefits

Ask Larry

Economic Security Planning, Inc.

Today’s column addresses questions about when Social Security spousal benefits can be available, a reason there might be years with no income on a person’s Social Security earnings record and how much benefits are reduced for filing early. Larry Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston University and the founder and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc, which markets Maximize My Social Security and MaxiFi Planner.

Have Social Security questions of your own youd like answered? Ask Larry about Social Security here.

Do I Qualify For Social Security Spousal Benefits?

Hi Larry, I will be 63 in September 2021. My husband is 76 and took SSDI when he was 64. His current benefit is about $2,550. He is not in good health and I am considering retiring when I reach 63. My own benefit at that time will be approximately $880 per month.

Do I qualify, and should I file for spousal benefits or my own retirement benefits? Is my spousal benefit figured on what his benefit is currently or is it based what it would have been 10 years ago if he had not retired early? Im confused! Would survivor benefits ever be available?I dont know if Im even asking the right questions! Thanks, Abbie

Social Security disability benefits are paid at a rate of 100% of a worker’s PIA assuming that they didn’t collect reduced Social Security retirement benefits prior to qualifying for SSDI benefits.

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.

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The Maximum Social Security Reduction Will Never Be Greater Than One Half Of Your Pension Amount

This provision reduces your social security benefits if you have less than 30 years of substantial coverage and earned a csrs federal retirement benefit. Substantial earnings equaled $2,250 dollars in 1972 and $23,850 in 2018. Benefits are subject to a monthly maximum that can be paid on a workers earnings record, at which survivors benefits are reduced proportionately, and an earnings test, whereby benefits are reduced for retirees whose earned income exceeds the retirement earnings exempt amount.

Eligibility Of Family Members

The Inability to Speak English Shouldnt Qualify as ...

Certain members of your family may also qualify for benefits based on your work. They include:

  • your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older
  • your spouse or former spouse, at any age, who is caring for a child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled
  • your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild the child must be under age 18 or under age 19 if in secondary school full time and
  • your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22 and meets the definition of disability for adults.

A former spouse may also qualify for benefits based on your earnings record if he or she was married to you for at least 10 years and is not currently married. The money paid to a divorced spouse does not reduce your benefit or any benefits due to a current spouse or children.

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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.

Can You Do Any Other Type Of Work

If you cant do the work you did in the past, we look to see if there is other work you could do despite your medical impairment.

We consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If you cant do other work, well decide you are disabled. If you can do other work, well decide that you dont have a qualifying disability and your claim will be denied.

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Qualifying For Supplemental Security Income Benefits

Unlike SSDI, you do not need to earn any work credits to file for Supplemental Security Income benefits. Social Security bases SSI eligibility on your income, assets and resources. Additionally, both adults and children can file for SSI benefits. For children, Social Security considers their parents income, assets and resources. Dependent children or spouses do not receive payments under SSI.

Continuing Eligibility For Disability Benefits

Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits

In most cases, you will collect benefits as long as you are disabled. There are two common circumstances that could result in you losing benefits: Your health improves to the point where you are no longer disabled, or you begin to earn $1,040 or more per month .

The review process for determining whether you are still disabled is divided into three categories: expected to improve could improve and not expected to improve. If your medical condition is expected to improve, your case will be reviewed six to 18 months after benefits start. If its possible you could improve, the review will happen no sooner than three years after you start receiving benefits. If you are not expected to improve, it is no sooner than seven years. If SSA is going to review your medical condition, they will notify you by mail.

If you are receiving SSDI benefits, you can still work, as long as you follow certain rules. The primary rule is that you cant make more than $1,040 in a month . The Social Security Administration regards $1,040 a month as Substantial Gainful Activity or SGA. If you are engaged in SGA, the Social Security Administration no longer considers you disabled and you will lose SSDI benefits.

At the end of the 36-month EPE, you can continue to work and receive benefits until you work a month at the SGA level or are no longer disabled.

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How Much Do Children Receive In Social Security Benefits

A child may receive a Social Security benefit equal to 50% of the parents full retirement benefit or disability benefit. If the parent is deceased, the child is eligible to receive up to 75% of the parents full retirement benefit.

There is a limit to the total amount that a family can receive from Social Security based on one worker’s earnings record, though. The maximum family benefit typically ranges from 150% to 180% of the parent’s full benefit amount. That is the formula for maximum family benefits based on a retired parent’s work record. If the parent is disabled, a different formula applies.

If the amount due the entire family surpasses the maximum, some individual payments will be proportionately reduced. As an example, consider a retiree named June, who has a dependent child, Ruth, who is also eligible for benefits. June’s full retirement amount is $1,500, and her family maximum is $2,300. June would receive her full $1,500 per month, while her spouse, John, and daughter Ruth would split the remaining $800 payment, each receiving $400.

SSI benefits are determined by a different calculation, and the maximum benefit changes each year. Some states also supplement SSI. In addition, a disabled child who collects SSI may also be eligible for Medicaid to help pay for medical bills.

Survivor And Death Benefits

Wage earners depend on Social Security retirement benefits to help meet financial needs when they stop working, but sometimes these earners can pass away early and unexpectedly. When workers pay into Social Security, a majority goes to fund disability and retirement costs, but a portion of their taxes go toward survivors benefits as well.

When a worker passes away, some family members may be eligible for survivors benefits if the worker earned enough credits during their working lifetime. Eligible family members include widowed spouses who are 60 or older, 50 or older if they are disabled, or any age if caring for a child who is under 16 years old. Children of deceased workers are also eligible if they are not married and under 18 years old, or under 19 years old but still in school. If youre divorced and you or your spouse pass away, the surviving spouse could be eligible for a widows benefit as well.

If a worker has enough work credits when they pass away, Social Security will also make a one-time payment of $255. This payment can be made only if the spouse or child meet certain specified requirements.

To apply for survivors benefits, Social Security will need the following, either original copies or certified copies, from the issuing agency.

  • Proof of death from a funeral home or a death certificate
  • Social Security numbers for the applicant and the deceased person
  • The applicants birth certificate
  • Dependent childrens Social Security numbers and birth certificates
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    What Qualifies As A Disability

    If you are unable to work for at least 12 months due to an illness or injury, you may have a qualifying condition. The SSA makes it easier for people who meet requirements in the Blue Book. However, you may still be able to qualify even if your condition is not in the listings or if its equivalent to a condition in the Blue Book.

    Your condition must render you unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. That means you must be unable to earn a significant amount of money. That amount changes each year, but it is limited. Thus, if you are able to work part time or in a special capacity, then you may still qualify. People who are working in a family business or under special conditions may be able to bypass some of the restrictions on income limits for substantial gainful activity. This is because they would not be able to engage in such activity in the regular market.

    Some conditions are more likely to qualify for SSD benefits than others, as they are often easier to support with medical evidence and testing. Doctors are sometimes more supportive of various conditions. A Charlotte, North Carolina, disability attorney can help you understand your chances of being approved.

    Who Is Eligible For Social Security Retirement Benefits

    How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits ...

      Social Security retirement benefits are not based on need but rather on income earned during your earning life. The Social Security Administration keeps a record of earnings over your working life and pays benefits that are based on the average amount earned, provided a minimum number of work credits have been accumulated. Only income on which Social Security tax is paid is considered in calculating these work credits.

      To be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, a worker born after 1928 must have accumulated at least 40 quarters of work in “covered employment”. A “quarter of coverage” generally means the three-month calendar quarter. In addition, you must earn at least $1,470 in a quarter for it to count. However, the SSA looks at how much you earned in a year and divides that figure by the minimum amount required to earn credit for a quarter. Thus, if you earn at least $5,880 in January and February of 2021 and don’t work the rest of the year, you will receive credit for four quarters of work .

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      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 or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

      Applying For Social Security Disability And Ssi Benefits

      You can apply online for Social Security Disability benefits, you can file in person at your local Social Security office, or by calling 772-1213.

      To find your local Social Security office, click here and enter your home zip code. Locate a Social Security Office.

      Before you begin your application, you should collect certain information regarding your medical treatment, work history and other facts. To view a checklist of the information that you will need, Disability Checklist.

      When you are ready to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits, Apply for Disability. You will not have to complete the entire application in one sitting. You will have the option of saving your application and returning to it later.

      You can also complete most of your application for SSI Disability benefits online, but to finish the application process you will have to visit a Social Security office. You canApply for SSI to begin the SSI application process for yourself or for a child.

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      How Much Social Security Pays Retirees

      To understand the impact of when you claim has on your benefits, it’s useful to understand Social Security’s general rules for determining the size of your monthly payment. The SSA looks at the 35 top-earning years in your career after adjusting your earnings for inflation, but it only looks at those earnings up to the specific wage base limit for that particular year. That’s the amount on which Social Security payroll taxes apply, and in 2018, it’s $128,400. So whether you earn $130,000, $300,000, or $25 million in 2018, your Social Security benefit will be calculated as if you had made $128,400 in earnings.

      If you take those 35 years, add them up, and then divide first by 35 and then by 12, you’ll have an average indexed monthly earnings amount. Social Security then uses a formula to determine the amount you’ll get at full retirement age, which it calls the primary insurance amount. This formula varies from year to year, but for 2018, you take 90% of the first $895 in average indexed monthly earnings, add 32% of the amount between $895 and $5,397, and finally add 15% of the amount above $5,397.

      The resulting primary insurance amount tells you what you’ll get if you claim at full retirement age, but it doesn’t tell you what your full retirement age is. The following chart will help you look up the appropriate age based on your year of birth.

      If You Were Born In

      Then Your Full Retirement Age Is

      1937 or earlier

      Data source: Social Security Administration.

      Benefits For Surviving Spouses

      What social security disability do i qualify for

      Survivor benefits are available to widows or widowers, based on their late spouses earnings record. To receive these benefits, the surviving spouse must be at least 60 years old, or 50 if disabled.

      A younger widow or widower can also be eligible for survivor benefits if they are caring for a child of the deceased worker who is under the age of 16 or disabled and receiving dependent benefits based upon their late parents earnings record.

      Survivors who have reached their normal retirement age can receive 100% of their deceased spouses benefit. For survivors who are at least 60, the benefit ranges from 71.5% to 99.6% of their deceased spouses benefit.

      The survivor has some additional options. For example, a 60-year-old spouse could apply for survivor benefits now and then switch to a retirement benefit based on their own work history at age 62 , if that would result in a higher monthly payment.

      Social Security will also provide a one-time lump-sum payment of $255 upon the death of a spouse, provided the spouses were living in the same residence at the time of the spouse’s death.

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