Q&A with SSA

Social Security is important to the financial security of our diverse elder communities.  This blog post comes to us from Kirk Larson, the Public Affairs Specialist for Social Security Western Washington.  We hope it will be helpful and informative to our readers!

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Question:
What is the maximum Social Security retirement benefit?

Answer:
The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be $2,663. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be only $2,025. If you retire at age 70 in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be $3,501. To get a better idea of what your benefit might be, visit our online Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire/estimator.html.

 

Question:
My same-sex partner and I recently married. Will we qualify for Social Security benefits?

Answer:
You may be eligible to apply for Social Security benefits. Many factors affect your eligibility for benefits, including how long you worked and your age. Social Security is now processing more claims in which entitlement or eligibility is affected by a same-sex relationship. We encourage you to apply for benefits right away, even if you aren’t sure you’re eligible. Applying now will protect you against the loss of any potential benefits. You can apply safely and securely at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline. Learn more about Social Security for same-sex couples by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/same-sexcouples.

 

Question:
I’m planning my retirement. What is the maximum Social Security benefit I might receive?

Answer:
The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire and how much you earned in your lifetime. For example, if you retire at age 62 in 2015, your maximum benefit will be $2,025. If you retire at full retirement age in 2015, your maximum benefit will be $2,663. If you retire at age 70 in 2015, your maximum benefit will be $3,501. You can estimate your benefits by using our Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

 

Question:
I was hurt on the job and can’t work. How do I start my application for Social Security disability benefits?

Answer:
If you have a disability that qualifies, you can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability. There are several advantages to applying online for disability benefits. You can start your disability claim immediately. There is no need to wait for an appointment. You can apply from the convenience of your home or on any computer. And, you avoid trips to a Social Security office, saving you time and money. You can use the online application to apply for benefits if you are age 18 or older, have a medical condition that has prevented you from working or is expected to prevent you from working for at least 12 months or result in death, and reside in the United States or one of its territories or commonwealths.

 

Question:
I will rely on Medicare when I retire. Can you explain the different parts of Medicare?

Answer:
The different parts of Medicare cover your specific needs. There are four parts, all of which work in tandem to deliver healthcare services.

  • Part A (hospital insurance):  Hospital insurance helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care, and hospice care.
  • Part B (medical insurance):  Medical insurance helps pay for doctors’ services and many other medical services and supplies that hospital insurance doesn’t cover.
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage plans):  If you have Medicare Parts A and B, you can join a Medicare Advantage plan. Private companies offer Medicare Advantage plans which are approved by Medicare. These plans generally help you pay the medical costs not covered by Medicare Part A and B.
  • Part D (prescription drug coverage):  Prescription drug coverage helps pay for medications doctors prescribe for treatment.

 

Question:
How do I know if I meet the eligibility requirements to get Social Security disability benefits?

Answer:
To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked long enough in jobs covered by Social Security (usually 10 years). You must also have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s strict definition of disability. We consider an adult disabled under our rules if he or she has a  medical condition, or combination of medical conditions, that are expected to last for at least one year or result in death, and that prevent the performance of any type of work.

If you think you may be eligible to receive disability benefits and would like to apply, you can use our online application at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability.

 

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.