5 More Facts You Might Not Know About Social Security

What kind of questions do you and your friends ask about Social Security? When do my benefits arrive? What are Social Security work credits, and do they have anything to do with the way my benefits are figured? Will I be automatically enrolled in Medicare? Read on to find the answers to these questions.

1. Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they are due.

When you meet all the requirements for eligibility, the benefit check you receive is payment for the prior month’s benefits. For information on the payment of benefits, you can read our pamphlet, What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits.

To know when checks will be paid, you can save the Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments to your “Favorites” or print it.

2. We don’t pay benefits for the month of death.

Social Security uses the same throughout-the-month rule to determine eligibility for the benefit that is due for the month of death. You must live through the full month to be eligible for the payment. See the pamphlet above in the section titled If a beneficiary dies for more information about when a check is due.

3. Survivors benefits can replace a percentage of the worker’s earnings for family members.

The eligible family members of a retired or disabled beneficiary may receive a monthly payment of up to 50 percent of beneficiary’s amount. Survivors benefits usually range from about 75 percent to 100 percent of the deceased worker’s amount. Visit our Understanding the Benefits publication for an explanation of the amounts family members receive.

4. Work credits determine eligibility for benefits, but your lifetime earnings are used to calculate your monthly benefit amount.

Retired workers need 40 work credits to be eligible for benefits, but your work credits alone do not determine how much you will receive each month. When we figure your retirement benefit, we use the average of your highest 35 years of earnings. See Your Retirement Benefit: How It Is Figured for more information

5. If you receive retirement benefits before you reach age 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare.

Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay. It also pays for some home health care and hospice care. Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps pay for services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventative services. When you’re already receiving retirement benefits, we automatically sign you up for Medicare Parts A and B when you turn age 65. You can then decline Part B if you choose, since it requires a monthly premium. If you are not receiving retirement benefits as you approach age 65, you should contact Social Security three months before age 65 to sign up for Medicare Part A and B. Even if you don’t want to retire at 65, you should sign up for Medicare only. For more details, check out our Medicare page.

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242 thoughts on “5 More Facts You Might Not Know About Social Security

  1. My Husband will turn 66 on Sept 9th of 2020 (this year). Should he get his first ss check in Sept or the following month to avoid a penelty?

  2. My Brother-in-law moved back to Poland. He was on low income and not paying for Medicare Part B while in the US. He received a letter in Poland from Social Security which stated he will now be paying for Part B. He sent the letter back stating to cancel but that didn’t work. How can he cancel Part B while in Poland? He has been paying $144/month for nothing.

  3. How does the stimulus payment for those who are the payee’s for their child who’s the one actually receiving the SSI payments..will my 1,200 and their 500 just be put together as one large payment on her direct deposit card? I haven’t filed a tax return in couple years..and what about my 4 month old son? Is eligible for the 500 payment ? If so when and how will he get his payment??

  4. living with daughter who earned 18,000 last year and went on ss in July -she provides over half my living as it would cost me 3900 dollars in assisted living with my age of 88 and many health and hearing problems -and now s I will not qualify for the $1200 payment –half living is much more than my ss -so I lost any which way

  5. I have been approved to start receiving retirement benefits the 3rd Wednesday in August 2020. I am working full time but if I decide to retire June 30th with no income how long do I have to wait to get my monthly benefits and do I have to reapply? My name is Susan C Carriero BNC# 20MS590E64578-A. Thank you

  6. i turn 65 in june of this year – is there a penalty if i do not apply for medicare at this time

  7. Should I be receiving my spouses full ss benefits since I have curatorship over my disabled daughter who is 45 years old and lives with me.

    • Hi Fannie, thank you for your question. A spouse’s benefit is unreduced for any month he/she has a child in care; however, if he/she is also entitled to a reduced retirement benefit, the amount payable is the difference between the unreduced spouse’s benefit and the reduced retirement benefit.

      To inquire about potential benefits, you will need to contact us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  8. If my wife who is older , now 62 years old and applied for social security payments. She earns 18000 per year but I earn 40000, does my salary affect her pay back I understand that 85% of her payments will be subject to income taxes. My question is does my salary affect the 18240 annual limit for her earnings. My other question is will her early payments reduce her payments when I retire and. She gets 50% of my social security payment thank you

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