Q and A with Social Security

Is it true 10,000 people a day are retiring? What’s the easiest way to avoid the crowds?

Question:

Is it true 10,000 people a day are retiring? What’s the easiest way to avoid the crowds?

Answer:

Yes. As the baby boomers reach their retirement years, Social Security is handling about 10,000 claims each day. You can avoid the crowds by filing online. You can complete your retirement application in as little as 15 minutes. It’s safe, convenient and secure.

You can apply from the comfort of your home at a time that is most convenient for you. There’s no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.

There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed. Just go to www.socialsecurity.gov.

 

Question:

What is the Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs and how can I apply?

Answer:

Anyone who has Medicare can get Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). Some people with limited resources and income also may be able to get Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs. This Extra Help will help pay for monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription copayments.

The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year. You can apply for the Extra Help online.

To learn more, read our publication Apply Online For Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

 

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 heard that Social Security benefits increased at the beginning of the year. What is the average Social Security retirement payment that a person receives each month?

Answer:

You are right—Social Security benefits increased this year. In 2015, nearly 64 million Americans who receive Social Security began receiving a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase of 1.7 percent to their monthly benefit payments. The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2015 is $1,328. In Washington it is about $1,398.

The average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2015 is $1,165. In Washington state it almost the same at $1,168. The Social Security Act details how the COLA is calculated. You can read more about the COLA at www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

 

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:

A few months after I started receiving my Social Security retirement benefit, my former employer offered to take me back. It’s a great offer. Can I withdraw my retirement claim and reapply later to increase my benefit amount?

Answer:

Social Security understands that unexpected changes may occur after you begin receiving retirement benefits. If you change your mind, you may be able to withdraw your Social Security claim and re-apply at a future date.

This withdrawal must occur within 12 months of your original retirement, and you are limited to one withdrawal during your lifetime. Keep in mind, you must repay all of the benefits you received.

You can learn more about the one-year period when you can postpone your benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/withdrawal.htm.

 

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:

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 also must 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.