Looking for Social Security benefits but not sure if you’re eligible?

There’s no need to worry any longer; simply read the entire article to learn more. See you to get the best social security benefits programs.

What exactly is Social Security?

The Social Security Administration oversees one such benefit program, Social Security (SSA). It is aimed at pre-retirement earnings, or the Social Security tax deducted from your paycheck, which you will receive as a monthly benefit.

Initially, the Administration was formed to assist the retired and elderly, as well as those who had lost everything during the Great Depression. They still oversee such social insurance programs today, allowing individuals to benefit greatly if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Now, you must be wondering as to how this system actually works, isn’t it? 

As an employee, you pay approximately 6.2% in Social Security taxes, while your employer also pays approximately 6.2%. However, if you are self-employed, you are personally liable for the entire 12.4% tax.

However, all of the money you pay in taxes goes to current retirees and other social recipients, and this is how the system works. (By the way, what do you think? Is it good – the way the system works? Let us know in the comment section. Views matter, isn’t it so?)

Now, let’s get back to the topic and look at each type of benefit – to see who can apply for which one.

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Types of Social Security Benefits:

Retirement benefits:

Synonymous with ‘retirement,’ here, the retirees and their dependents account for approximately 75% of total Social Security Benefits paid.

Survivor benefits:

Even after the employee’s death, Social Security continues to pay the individual’s spouse and children. To qualify, the employee must have earned at least six Social Security credits within three years of their death. So, the employee’s spouse and children each receive $255 and are eligible for 71.5% to 1100% of the employee’s Social Security payment.

The following are the eligibility criteria for the above:

  • The spouse must be at least 60 years old.
  • Or, the spouse must be at least 50 years old and physically challenged.
  • The child she appears to be caring for should be at least 16 years old and physically challenged.
  • The child who is over the age of 18 and has a physical disability that began before the age of 22.
  • Your surviving parents should rely on you for at least half of their financial support.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits:

The term “disabled” is used very strictly in this context. The following are the eligibility requirements:

  • Should be severely disabled, to the point where you are unable to work, resulting in the worst possible outcome, your death.
  • You must have accumulated enough credits to be eligible for payments. So, if you’re 62, you should have nearly 40 credits in order to be eligible for disability payments. However, if you are 42 years old, you should have at least six credits.
  • Both the employee’s spouse and children may receive half of the amount to which the employee is entitled.

Benefits begin six months after your official disability date, depending on your lifetime earnings, if you are approved.

How to apply for social security benefits

Divorced Spouse Social security benefits:

The SSA states that the employee’s spouse is eligible for approximately 50% of the employee’s Social Security benefit. But here’s the catch: if the spouse happens to be a working member, her benefit amount will be reduced.

So, who and how does one go about claiming it? 

To be eligible for social security benefits, you must be a divorcee who is currently unmarried and has been married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years. As a result, the divorced spouse can only claim these benefits when he or she is 62 years old and after the earning spouse has filed for his or her retirement benefit. You should also keep in mind that you are not entitled to an equal or higher retirement benefit based on your age.

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What are the details and documents required while applying?

Details:

  • Your social security number
  • Date and location of your current and previous marriage
  • Name and dates of employment for the past two years
  • Specifications of self-employed business and income
  • Bank account information, only if you choose direct deposit
  • Dates and branches of your US military service
  • SSA benefit eligible family members

Documents:

  • Original birth certificate or any other proof of age
  • Proof of citizenship if you were both not born in the US
  • W-2 tax form(s) and/or self-employment tax returns from last year
  • US military papers, only if you served prior to 1968

Once you know the documents needed to apply, let’s get into how to file your Social Security Claim.

You will need to open a Social Security account with the SSA. This can also be done by calling their toll-free number 800 772 1213 from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 7 pm, or by calling their TTY number 800 325 0778 if you have a hearing impairment. You could wait a little less if you call during the week, after Tuesday.

Now that you know how to file it, you should also know about when you could collect it.

The longer you wait, the better so, if you claim your benefits at the age of 66, you’ll get less than you would if you start at the age of 70.

However, you cannot apply for the Social Security until and unless you are:

  • 66, born during 1943-1954
  • 66 and 2 month if born in 1955
  • 66 and 4 months, if born in 1956
  • 66 and 6 months, if born in 1957
  • 66 and 8 months, if born in 1958
  • 66 and 10 months, if born in 1959
  • 67, if born in 1960 or later

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Full Social Security Retirement Age?

This is entirely dependent on your birth date. So, if you were born between 1943 and 1955, you will be able to retire at the age of 66. Those born between 1955 and 1959 have a FRA of 66 years and 2 months, while those born after 1960 will have to wait until they are 67 to reach their FRA.

How does the Social Security Benefit work?

This varies from person to person, depending on their personal circumstances. Here, four factors are taken into account: your birth year, your claiming age, your earnings, and your work history. This has much to do with if you were absent from work for more than one or more years, so if you were a caring parent or family, your earnings record would be recalculated.

How long does it take to complete the application process?

Creating an account online is the quickest method. Depending on the current situation, it takes between 10 and 30 minutes to complete the application.

You can also take gaps because the page automatically saves the information as a draft before it can be submitted.

Is it necessary for me to stop working in order to collect my retirement benefits?

Not necessarily, but if you’re under your retirement age and earn a decent wage, the amount you’re supposed to get will be reduced, but once you reach retirement age, this reduction will be eliminated, thereby increasing and making up for all the money you’ve lost over time.

How would I get my Social Security payments?

If you do not want to receive your Social Security by mail, you can do so in two ways:

  • Direct deposit: This method electronically deposits your funds into your bank account. This bank account can be a savings, checking, or prepaid account.
  • Direct Express: This is for people who do not have bank accounts. Your benefit will be deposited directly to your prepaid debit card. The SSA’s Direct Express does not charge an enrollment fee for this, and there is no minimum balance requirement to keep the account active.

Reflections

Social Security Benefits have been shown to help everyone at some point in their lives. As a result, one should make the most of it.

Well, I hope that this article has been able to answer all of your questions, so go ahead and see if you are eligible for these benefits or not. However, keep in mind that these Social Security payments are not enough to live a comfortable retired life, but they do constitute a significant portion of one’s retirement plan.