General

5 More Facts You Might Not Know About Social Security

July 26, 2018 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

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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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Comments

  1. JON C.

    i am happy now that i have retired from my employer and will be happy when ever ssc cheches show up money has never been a problem with me. and being signal , sense my wife dead 2-2-17, after being married 54 yrs living in house with no mortgage even makes it better.

  2. Arnold G.

    When will the new Medicare cards be arriving?

  3. olga k.

    I like the info you gave me

    • Ray F.

      Thank you, Olga! We’re pleased we can help. We will continue our efforts to meet your requirements and expectations in the years to come.

  4. C. R.

    Legal commitment incurs my anxiety; yet, I do seek to learn more about domestic partnership, civil union, and marriage.

  5. Nellie

    I would like to know is the government going to pay back the money they took from us so we can get more for social security

    • Ray F.

      Hi Nellie, Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system. Social Security taxes collected from today’s workers pay the benefits of today’s retirees. Any funds in excess of what is needed to pay today’s benefits are invested in special issue, U.S. Government, interest-bearing securities. This investment – the purchase of U.S. Government securities – is what constitutes the “borrowing” that people are sometimes concerned about. Any funds that have been “borrowed” from the Social Security Trust Funds have always been paid back in full, plus interest. Please check out our Trust Fund Frequently Asked Questions page for more information. Thanks!

  6. william c.

    i need a replacement award letter for2017

    • william c.

      how do i access award letter

      • Ray F.

        Hello William. If you need proof you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security (SSI) Income or Medicare, you can request a benefit verification letter online by using your my Social Security account. Thanks!

      • James M.

        Does Social Security arbitrarily sign one up to draw Social Security when they turn 65? They did me. I wanted to wait until I was 701/2 because that would have increased my monthly check by about $250.00 per month. When I asked at the Social Security Office in Danville, KY why they did that, they replied, “Well you did not make enough money to make any difference.” I have asked a number of people who had worked with Social Security and they all said they had never heard of such a thing.

  7. W.B.Manley i.

    I hope Social Security lasts as long I do. I am having to work 70 hours a week to make ends meet. I am taking my SS benifits at 66 and hope to pay off a 217000.

  8. John R.

    Why do I have to pay taxes on my retirement? I have to pay taxes on my own money isn’t this tax free income? How do you calculate the taxes? I guess the government makes changes whenever they want to……

    • Ray F.

      Hello John. Some people may have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income in addition to your benefits.
      For further income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040. Thanks!

  9. Dale T.

    How can you say that Social Security is an intitlement. That is our money that we paid and then you borrowed and never paid it back. Everyone that I talk to agrees.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Dale. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system. Social Security taxes collected from today’s workers pay the benefits of today’s retirees.
      Any funds in excess of what is needed to pay today’s benefits are invested in special issue, U.S. Government, interest-bearing securities. This investment –the purchase of U.S. Government securities– is what constitutes the “borrowing” that people are sometimes concerned about. Any funds that have been “borrowed” from the Social Security Trust Funds have always been paid back in full, plus interest.
      Please check out our Trust Fund Frequently Asked Questions page for more information. Thanks!

  10. Anthony C.

    I am presently employed part time and I pay into Social Security. I have been receiving benefits since age sixty two when I retired. I am sixty eight years old and my question is, Will my benefits ever increase?

    • Ray F.

      Great question, Anthony. Each year, we review the records for all working Social Security recipients to see if additional earnings may increase their monthly benefits.
      When you apply for retirement benefits, we base your benefit payment on your highest 35 years of earnings and your age when you start receiving benefits. If your earnings for the prior year are higher than one of the years we used to compute your retirement benefit, we will recalculate your benefit amount.
      If an increase is due, a new monthly benefit amount is established on your record automatically.
      See “Getting Benefits While Working” for more information. Thanks!

Comments are closed.