Tag: social security

Stop! Do You Know the Key SSI and SSDI Differences?

Stop! Do You Know the Key SSI and SSDI Differences?

SSI and SSDI differences
Have questions on the SSI and SSDI differences? Call SSDA USA right away!

While there is only a one letter difference between SSI and SSDI, the two programs are quite different. It’s important to know which program(s) you qualify for and how you can maintain your eligibility. So, let us from SSDA USA explain the two programs in detail.

What are the Similarities?

Both SSI and SSDI are federally operated programs overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Both programs aid people who are disabled, and both programs are subject to similar rules, according to the SSA. For example, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled to qualify for either program, and you must also earn under a certain amount. Even with this in mind, there are more differences between the programs than there are similarities.

What is SSDI?

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. This is an entitlement-program that the SSA oversees. This means that financial need doesn’t necessarily play a part in eligibility for SSDI. SSDI aids people usually only if they earned a certain amount of work credits. This program essentially allows people who become disabled to take their retirement benefits early. The younger you are, the fewer work credits you need to qualify for SSDI.

Additionally, family members can benefit from your SSDI, whereas individuals with SSI can claim benefits only for themselves. Also, SSDI provides Medicare to its recipients after two years.

What is SSI?

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. This is a means-tested program overseen by the SSA that aids low-income individuals who are disabled, blind, or elderly. This means that financial need is a primary requirement, and that work history doesn’t necessarily play a part in eligibility for SSI. You do not need any work credits to qualify. However, SSI is a bit more strict. For example, your total assets cannot exceed a certain value. In addition, SSI offers Medicaid.

A Summary of Differences

SSDI is an entitlement program that requires work credits, while SSI is a means-tested program that helps those with a low income. SSDI members can sometimes claim benefits for their family members, but SSI members cannot do this.

Also, SSDI offers Medicare, while SSI offers Medicaid. In both SSI and SSDI, you must earn under a certain amount. However, only SSI looks at your total assets; in other words, your countable and uncountable income is analyzed. SSDI payments do count as income, so having SSDI could affect SSI eligibility. Though, it is possible to qualify for both programs at the same time.

Have Questions about SSI and SSDI Differences?

Social Security can be a confusing and frustrating pain to deal with, we know. But don’t keep your questions to yourself. Let one of our experienced professionals from Social Security Disability Advocates USA help you today. You can contact us anytime at 602-952-3200. In addition, you can contact us online and check out our LiveChat feature. Our attorneys are always available and ready to tend to your every Social Security concern, so don’t wait! Call SSDA USA today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Retirement Benefits

5 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Retirement Benefits

retirement benefits tips
Want to know more retirement benefits tips? Call SSDA USA right away!

Are you retired or approaching retirement? If so, you may be wondering how you can get the most out of your Social Security retirement benefits. You’re not alone, don’t worry. Millions of people wonder exactly the same thing every day and constantly search for retirement benefits tips.

Here’s the scoop:

The truth is, there are quite a few ways to make sure you get the most from your Social Security retirement benefits. These aren’t necessarily secrets, per se, but they are things that people often overlook. Many people, unfortunately, don’t know about these methods for maximizing Social Security retirement benefits.

That all changes right now.

Today, Social Security Disability Advocates USA will show you 5 top ways to maximize your Social Security retirement benefits. So, buckle up!

1. Work for 35 Years or More

To receive Social Security retirement benefits, you need (generally speaking) 40 work credits. One work credit, for the year 2019, corresponds with every $1,360 you earn. You can only earn 4 work credits per year. Essentially, then, once you earn $5,440, you’ve reached the maximum 4 work credits you can earn for that year.

Now, why does this matter? Well, here’s why: Social Security requires 40 work credits. This essentially means you can collect retirement with as little as 10 years of work under your belt. But it’s not a good idea. Why? Because the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses your 35 highest-paying working years when calculating your retirement benefits. So, if you only worked 10 years, that means 25 zeroes will be put into the equation and then averaged which substantially lowers your retirement benefits! What you should try to do is work at least 35 years or even longer, since the highest-earning years are the ones that will be calculated. In addition, it’s always better to work steadily than to take gap years in your work. You do not want a zero averaged into your retirement benefits.

2. Don’t Claim Before Full Retirement Age (FRA)

You can claim your retirement benefits as early as age 62. However, this is a bad idea for most people. The full retirement age (FRA) is between 65 and 67. For people born 1937 or earlier, the FRA is 65. For people born 1943-1954, the FRA is 66. The FRA keeps increasing, until finally, for people born 1960 or later, the FRA is 67.

Why does this matter? Because the SSA will permanently reduce your benefits if you take your retirement benefits early. That’s right. For example, if your FRA is 67 and you take your retirement at age 62, your monthly benefits are permanently reduced by 30%! If you take retirement at age 63, your benefits are permanently reduced by 25%. If you take them at 64, you’ll see a 20% reduction, and so on. The earlier you take your retirement benefits, the more they will be reduced – permanently.

While taking an early retirement has benefits for some people, you should seriously consider if the permanent reduction in benefits is worth it.

3. Claim Benefits at Age 70

Now you know that generally, you shouldn’t claim benefits early if you want the most out of your retirement. But wait: there’s more you can do to maximize your retirement benefits.

When you reach your full retirement age, your Social Security retirement benefits still continue to grow. Indeed, your benefits still have much to gain. Your Social Security retirement benefits grow approximately 8% for every year after your full retirement age that you don’t claim them, all the way to age 70. This is because of delayed retirement credits. For example, if your full retirement age is 67 and you wait until age 70 to claim your benefits, you will see a permanent 24% increase in your monthly benefits for the rest of your life. Therefore, you should try to delay your retirement benefits for as long as possible. Doing this will unquestionably get you the most out of your retirement, as waiting until age 70 caps out your Social Security retirement benefits’ delayed retirement credits. In other words, there’s no benefit to waiting after age 70 to claim your retirement benefits.

4. Watch Your Earnings

When you are working before you receive benefits, it’s important to make sure you earn as much as possible. As we discussed, the SSA will use your 35 highest-earning working years when calculating your benefits. So, asking for a raise or even taking a second job could be incredibly beneficial for you. You want to eliminate your low-earning years from the calculation, so earning more can help with that.

However, working while already receiving retirement benefits is a different story. If you are receiving early or full retirement benefits while working, you should be incredibly careful of how much you earn. For example, if you are younger than your full retirement age, $1 for every $2 you earn above the annual limit is deducted. For 2019, that limit is $17,640. If you reach full retirement age in 2019, you give $1 for every $3 you earn above the annual limit. That limit is $46,920. This only applies to the months before you reached full retirement age; however, once you reach full retirement age, how much you earn will no longer affect your benefits.

5. Think Strategically

There are some other things you can do to make sure you get the most of your benefits.

For example, if you’re eligible for a spousal or survivor benefit, you may want to look into how you should go about claiming those benefits. As a general rule of thumb, you should not claim both benefits simultaneously. This is because when you do this, you will receive a check that is equal to the larger of the two benefits, not a check that is equal to the sum of the benefits. Usually, you should take the lesser of the two benefits first, followed by the larger of the two.

For example, if your retirement benefits are $1,800 a month but your survivor benefits are $2,000 a month, take your retirement first until you reach your full retirement age. By this point, your survivor benefits will have substantially grown, and they will be worth much more than your own retirement benefits. Applying for both benefits simultaneously, however, would have gotten you only $2,000 a month for the rest of your life.

That was just one example, but the principle is this: Have a plan for your benefits, especially if you qualify for many types of benefits. You don’t want to forever lose out on money you qualify for just because you made a mistake. If you have questions about your Social Security benefits, call Social Security Disability Advocates USA for immediate assistance. We’ll help you come up with a plan that is right for you!

Want More Retirement Benefits Tips?

If you have further questions about Social Security, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA right away! Our experienced professionals work day and night to address all your Social Security concerns. You can contact us anytime at 602-952-3200. In addition, you can contact us online and visit our website. Don’t’ forget to check out our LiveChat feature! Keeping your questions to yourself could cost you dearly, so speak your mind and contact SSDA USA today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

Are You Disabled According to the SSA?

Are You Disabled According to the SSA?

social security disability definition
Are you disabled under the Social Security Disability definition? Find out today!

Social Security doesn’t just aid the elderly and the impoverished. Disabled people also qualify for Social Security benefits.

But wait a minute:

How do you know if you are disabled? What exactly is the Social Security Disability definition? The rules surrounding Social Security Disability can be a lot to unpack, so let us from Social Security Disability Advocates lay bare the criteria for Social Security Disability benefits.

The Definition

For both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), an individual must meet certain criteria to receive disability benefits. If you meet all the following conditions, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits:

  •         You have a mental or physical condition that prevents you from engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), and
  •         The condition has lasted or will last for a period of no less than 12 months, or
  •         The condition will result in death

This is the essence of what constitutes disability, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Under the Social Security Disability definition, certain conditions automatically qualify for disability status. These conditions are listed in The Blue Book, as the SSA calls it. Some of those conditions are:

  •         Cancer
  •         Musculoskeletal problems
  •         Neurological disorders
  •         Mental disorders
  •         Immune system disorders
  •         Respiratory illnesses
  •         And more . . .

Restrictions

There are some restrictions that come along with your disability benefits. For example, if you are receiving SSDI, earning SGA or above could put a halt on your benefits. The same goes for SSI. In addition, if you are a dependent and the primary recipient stops receiving benefits, you may stop receiving benefits as well.

The Social Security Administration is quite strict with who it allows for disability benefits. For example, if your disability prevents you from doing your current work but you can still do other types of work, the SSA will not see you as a qualified individual.

And of course, there are non-medical restrictions, too. For example, receiving SSDI not only requires that the individual meets the definition of disability and is unable to work, but also that they must have previously worked and earned a certain amount of work credits via FICA taxes. For SSI, individuals cannot possess assets with a net worth over a certain amount.

Documents

Before you can get your Social Security Disability benefits, you’ll need to prove you’re disabled. Therefore, you must show medical documentation proving you meet the Social Security Disability definition. You’ll need documents showing what your impairments are, any medications you’re taking, contact information for all your doctors, when they saw you and how they treated you, and lots more information.

Have Questions about the Social Security Disability Definition?

If you still have questions about Social Security, call SSDA USA today! Our attorneys tend to your every concern, so don’t keep your questions to yourself. You can contact us anytime at 602-952-3200. Additionally, you can contact us online and check out our LiveChat feature. Don’t wonder or worry, call SSDA USA today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

Need a New Social Security Card? Apply Online!

Need a New Social Security Card? Apply Online!

Social Security Card online
Apply for your Social Security card online today!

Your Social Security card is probably one of the most important documents you can possess. If it is lost or stolen, you should get a new card right away. The Social Security Administration (SSA) makes this task relatively easy by allowing you the option of applying online! Let us from Social Security Disability Advocates USA explain how it works and what you can do to apply for your Social Security card online.

Here are the basics:

If your SS card is lost or stolen, you may not necessarily have to apply in person. If you meet the following conditions, you can apply for a replacement card online:

  • You are a U.S. citizen 18 years or older and have a U.S. mailing address, and you
  • Are not requesting any change to your SS card, and
  • You have a driver’s license or another state-issued ID card from one of many participating states.

If you meet all these conditions, you can apply for your new SS card online. Simply set up your My Social Security account online and get started! Applying online is often easier and less cumbersome than having to go to your local Social Security office in person. If you can, you should apply for your Social Security card online. In addition, certain states are ineligible for this online service. Check back soon, though! The online application service is constantly expanding into more states.

If you do not meet the previous conditions, you will have to apply for a new SS card in person.

Documents Required

The required documents vary depending on your citizenship status and other factors. You will need documents proving your citizenship, age, and identity.

For citizenship, the SSA only accepts U.S. birth certificates or U.S. passports.

For age, you must present your birth certificate, if one exists. If one does not exist, you can show a religious record made before the age of 5 indicating the date of your birth, a U.S. hospital record showing the date of birth, or your U.S. passport. Keep in mind, if you are over age 12 and requesting an original SS card, the SSA will ask you for evidence that you don’t already have a SS number. For example, if you lived outside the U.S., you’ll need to show a record indicating long-term stay outside the U.S. If you lived in the U.S., the SSA may request tax records and information on schools you attended to show that you indeed never got a Social Security number.

To prove your identity, the SSA accepts U.S. driver’s licenses, State-issued ID cards, and U.S. passports. If these are unavailable, the SSA will ask to see other documents such as an employee ID card, a school ID card, a health insurance (not Medicare) card, or a U.S. military ID card.

All documents must be originals or copies that have been certified by the issuing agency. Photocopied or notarized copies are unacceptable.

Once everything has been verified, you are good to go to get your new Social Security card!

Still Wondering If You Should Get Your Social Security Card Online?

If you have further questions about Social Security, call SSDA USA today! Our attorneys work to address your every concern, so don’t keep your questions to yourself. You can reach us anytime at 602-952-3200. Alternatively, you can contact us online and check out our LiveChat feature. Leave your questions to the professionals. Call SSDA USA today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.