Unmasking Social Security: Understanding the Challenges and Solutions
Social security sometimes can feel social insecurity. If you haven’t paid some old debts your benefits may be garnished. 2021 was that last year the Social Security Administration had with complete data. According to that data, 70 million people received benefits from programs administered by the Social Security Administration. The largest recipient groups were disabled and retired workers. Many of the beneficiaries of those workers were spouses and children.
According to the Census Bureau, Social Security accounts for more than half of most retirees’ income. And for others, it makes up almost all of their income.
Some Seniors May Be Eligible for Increased Benefits
It’s not uncommon for a beneficiary’s circumstances to change after they applied or become eligible for benefits. If you, or a member of your family, receives Social Security or SSI (Supplemental Security Income), certain changes in your life can affect your eligibility for your federal benefits to have an increase. For instance, if your spouse passes away, or your ex-spouse dies, you may become eligible for an increase in your Social Security benefit.
To see if you, or a family member is eligible for benefits based on someone else’s, or an increase in your benefits based on your own work, click here https://www.ssa.gov/potentialentitlement/. You can also click here and use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) to see if you can receive benefits based on your answers to questions. This tool will provide you with where you may be eligible and give you more information about how to apply and qualify.
The questions and answers below are about a few of the life changes that could possibly increase your benefits.
Has your spouse passed away?
If your spouse or ex spouse died, you may be eligible for an increase in your survivor benefit based on her or his work. If your ex spouse died, you may be eligible for an increase in survivor benefit even if you have already been getting a survivor benefit on another spouse.
Do you receive Medicare benefits based on your work history, where you have contributed Social Security taxes for a minimum of 10 years?
You may be eligible for cash benefit, if you are at least 65, on your own record. If you are at your full retirement age or older, you can work full time or however much you want to work, and no matter how much you earn and still receive your monthly Social Security benefits!
Has the adult who was assisting you with financial support passed away?
Are you currently receiving Social Security benefits derived from your spouse's work history?
You may be eligible for an increase in your retirement benefits, if you have worked, based on your own work.
Have you been married for a duration of 10 years or longer and are currently no longer married?
Is your child eligible for Social Security child's benefits based on your spouse's work history?
Are you presently entitled to disability or retirement benefits and are caring for a child who is disabled or under the age of 18?
The child in your care may be able to receive benefits based on your work.
Are you currently receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and do you have a prior military service record?
If you have in the past served in the military, you may be eligible to receive benefits through the Veterans Administration. Visit this link for more information: http://www.va.gov/
Are you receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and have a parent who is receiving Social Security benefits or who is deceased?
Have you recently gone through a loss of financial resources or has your income declined?
How Can I Get Help From Social Security?
In-office appointments are no longer required but strongly recommended.*
- Go online to SSA.gov. Their website is the best way for most people to get help.
- If you cannot use their website, call their National 800 Number 1-800-772-1213) or your local Social Security office for help.
- They will schedule an appointment for you, if necessary, to serve you by phone or in person.
To see if you, or a family member is eligible for benefits based on someone else’s, or an increase in your benefits based on your own work, click here https://www.ssa.gov/potentialentitlement. You can also click here and use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) to see if you can receive benefits based on your answers to questions. This tool will provide you with where you may be eligible and give you more information about how to apply and qualify.
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