Social Security and Senior Citizens
Most senior citizens seem to know quite a bit about Social Security. They also know they must know about it, but let's hit a few of the highlights here to make sure you are up to speed if you now are on Social Security or may soon be on it.
Social Security is not based on financial need. It is payable if you have worked enough quarters of coverage in covered employment. Forty quarters of coverage will fully insure a worker for life. If you have worked for ten years, you can assume you are insured.
Actually computing benefits is complicated. It requires detailed information. The Social Security administration regularly sends out these calculations to those in the system. You can also request an estimate of benefits with Form SSA-7004-PC-OP2. Call 800-937-2000 for this form.
Most workers start receiving benefits at age 65, although this is going up depending on your birth year. You can receive benefits at 62 but this reduces your monthly payout permanently unless you buy back into full benefits by repaying what you received. You can also delay retirement and earn more per month than you would have at 65.
Benefits can also be paid to unmarried children under 18 upon the death of an insured parent. Others who can receive this benefit are unmarried children under 19 if a full time elementary or secondary student, and unmarried child over 18 who was severely disabled before 22, a surviving spouse over 60, and other benefits for disabled individuals.
As a senior citizen, you can get benefits if you are older than 62, unmarried, and were the dependent of a fully insured deceased individual.
You must file an application for benefits. You should file three months before you are eligible and wish to retire. You will need your Social Security number, proof of age, and either W-2 forms or federal income tax return. You will need other documentation if you are applying as a dependent of a deceased person.
You must file personally. If the insured is unable to file, then a family member can file as a care giver.
If you are denied benefits, you can appeal, but there is usually a 60 day time limit for reconsideration.
Supplemental Security Income is not Social Security but it is closely associated with you. For low income seniors, you can receive both Social Security and SSI in many situations. It is based on financial need. You can also apply at the Social Security office if you are over 65 and believe you qualify for SSI.