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Expand Your Social Security Knowledge With These Four Terms

August 25, 2022 • By

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Last Updated: August 26, 2022

the word benefit in the dictionaryWe strive to explain your benefits using easy-to-understand, plain language. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to communicate information clearly in a way “the public can understand and use.” This can be particularly challenging when talking about complicated programs like Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare.

Take a moment to learn a few common Social Security terms and acronyms!

COLA

This stands for “Cost-of-Living Adjustment.” With COLAs, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits keep pace with inflation. Most years, your monthly benefit amount will get a COLA, which usually means extra money.

Credits

As you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn credits – previously called “Quarters of Coverage” – that count toward your eligibility for future Social Security benefits. You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. Most people need 40 credits to qualify for benefits. Younger people need fewer credits to qualify for disability or survivors benefits. For more information, see our publication covering Social Security Credits.

Earnings Record

This is the chronological history of the amount of money you earned each year during your working lifetime. Your credits remain on your Social Security earnings record even when you change jobs or have no earnings for a period of time. Review your earnings record with a personal my Social Security account.

FICA

This stands for “Federal Insurance Contributions Act.” It’s the tax withheld from your wages that funds the Social Security and Medicare programs.

Now, if any of these terms or acronyms comes up in conversation, you can help explain what they mean. Visit our online glossary to learn more of our terminology and deepen your understanding of how Social Security works for you.


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  1. Zrivo

    “We strive to explain your benefits using easy-to-understand, plain language. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to communicate information clearly in a way “the public can understand and use.” This can be particularly challenging when talking about complicated programs like Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare. https://www.zrivo.com

    Reply
    • SSN V.

      I am dealing with fraud with my direct express account can I cancel it and pay Social Security the overdrawn amount and start a direct deposit with my bank.

      Reply
      • Ann C.

        Hi. We are sorry to hear that. The decision to change your direct deposit account and select a different financial institution is a personal one. If you are receiving Social Security retirement or disability, you can create a personal my Social Security account to change your address online, once you have a new account. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income, you should contact your local Social Security office immediately. We hope this helps.

         

        Reply
  2. APRIL S.

    Hartsville South Carolina and Darlington South Carolina and Florence South Carolina and P-EBT K-12 $391.00

    Reply
  3. Misty

    I am dealing with fraud with my direct express account can I cancel it and pay social security the overdrawn amount and start a direct deposit with my bank

    Reply
  4. Linda

    How do you speed up getting payee approved faster. My sister had her benefits stopped after the payee she lived with got evicted and moved to mexico. I called and told SSA she was moving in with me and why. They sent us to local payee but she wanted to change from that one to the one reginal center uses. She moved in in Nov 2021 and hasn’t had any income since. She has cerebral palsy and retardation has been on SSDI, SSI, medical, and medicare under father’s work record they stopped her SSDI and medicare and put overpayment on her. So they was taking $100 out of her SSI benefits. But she shouldn’t have had SSDI and medicare stopped in first place from what I read. She married a man but he was mentally challenged also. It says that if a mentally challenge person gets married to someone like them the SSA checks to see the best option give her better way of life.

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Linda. Thanks for visiting our blog. Unfortunately, your sister’s situation is a bit more complex than we can handle in this forum. For hersecurity, we do not have access to private information in this venue. Please contact her local Social Security office for assistance. You are she can ask to speak to a supervisor on your next call or visit. We hope this is resolved soon. 

      Reply
      • APRIL S.

        Hartsville South Carolina and Florence South Carolina and Darlington South Carolina and SSA and SSDI and SSI and $1,400.00 and Child Tax Credit Monthly check $2,000 and P-EBT K-12 and $391.00

        Reply
      • Arthur C.

        Reply

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