74 thoughts on “Get Educated about Your Social Security Benefits

  1. Hi this is Linda S.Pittman
    I am talking for others who don’t know where to start at on this matter.
    Why are we not getting a raise in check like we have been getting every year.
    And why we don’t get all dental work,on our Medicaid program,even after we turn 21 years old.

    • The reason we are not getting a raise is because of Global Warming which is the BIGGEST LIE the Obama Administration has ever come up with. Global Warming is a Democrat SLUSH FUND to help elect
      Democrats. They always push it more during an election year.

      • That reply is so wrong it makes me ill. No raise due to the very low inflation rate. Not a surprise, well covered in the press. nothing to do with politics

        • The U.S. Labor Dept. is the one that sets the inflation rate. When a disaster like the drought in California they claim is due to Global Warming and produce prices rise, when there is a drought in midwest and beef, pork and chicken prices rise they don’t count that as inflation. Prices haven’t fallen according to lower gas prices because gas prices could go up anytime. Obama says it all the time that Global Warming and guns is the cause of everything wrong. I thought everyone knew this.

          • It is difficult to believe that people like you have not be flushed out of the gene pool yet….

        • When was the last time you bought milk, bread, eggs etc.? all the every day groceries have gone up quite a bit. The only thing that came down is gas and some real estate. So the low inflation rate only appears to be for items we don’t need on a daily basis. All the utilities have gone up, healthcare has gone up and what about things like toilet paper and paper towels, not to mention cleaning supplies? I don’t know what rock you live under, but come out for a reality check once in awhile. We never got much cola anyway, but our senators think they deserve a substantial cost of living increase.!!!!!!!

          • Figures. Anyone ignorant enough to ask the stupid question you did here would believe an insane answer like Charlie’s. If you REALLY want to know why no COLA raise this year, look to Congress, NOT the President. He has nothing to do with Social Security. CONGRESS decides whether or not to grant Social Security recipients an increase every year. And BTW, BOTH houses of Congress are controlled by the Republicans. Regarding Medicaid and dental coverage, that’s a STATE concern. Social Security has NO CONNECTION with Medicaid, none. Ask your case worker or go to your state’s OFFICIAL website. I agree 100% with the incredulity of the poster who wonders how some people have managed to remain in the gene pool. Beats me too.

    • jay l dahlJanuary 20, 2010Howard:I just read the article on socail security retirement benifits. The retirement estimator is an excellent tool to help you determin when to apply for retirement benefits.I have also looked over other parts of your website and find it to be very informative as to tax preparation, SSI benefits, long term care issues and tax planning. Thank you for making this information easily available to your tax clients.Jay

  2. our “benefits” appear reduced rather thanb meeting cost of living…WHY. yes our dental should be covered. please explain.

  3. My wife and I are both 66. Last year I claimed and suspended my benefits, and she filed a spousal claim. Neither one of us are drawing on our own earnings record, so why are we both unable to get an estimate of our individual benefit now or at age 70?

    Those numbers are left off our MyAccount Statement, and we cannot access our own Retirement Estimator.

  4. I would like to add my support for Dental Care being covered by Medicare. Our Oral health effects our whole Body. Is it realistic to let this part or our body decline without help??

      • Wow, that is impressive. Kudos to the SSA folks for all their hard work imnvpriog the process!Larry, the link to the full report comes up as invalid. There looks to be an extra http: in the URL. Might want to update the link.

    • Social Security is not Medicare and does not cover any health care. Social Security deduct the Medicare premium from your check. You need to go to Medicare.gov and pose that question. I agree that Medicare need to cover some Dental and Vision Care, esp glasses and hearing aids. When people need these items and service most a lot cannot afford it.

      • Hear, hear. Thank you for injecting a modicum of intelligence to this idiotic discussion. It’s astonishing how many people are collecting benefits yet they have no clue as to where those benefits are coming from – yet they have the nerve to demand even more!

    • You shouldn’t be allowed to collect if your not a US citizen. If you personally paid into social security and your of age, then and only then you should be allowed to collect.

      • Paying Social Security is definitely a must but remember the required 40 work credits and consider the substantial years of earnings when estimating a benefit.

  5. Question. I am 65; turning 66 in 2016 and married. I was married to first husband for 14 years. I believe this year, I am still able to claim on the social security of my first husband and defer my own benefit….is that correct?

  6. I just don’t understand that we did not get a raise on our social security, when grocery prices keep climbing, rent increases, Heating homes and apartments are rising. Medical expenses never stop. Yet, My husband spent years in service in WW11. Over seas in North Africa and Europe, and I never received payment for his headstone. When I phoned about it, I was told 6 mos. had passed, How come no time limit for the pow’s during that time.

  7. It’s very important to know all information about the Social Security Administration. The program of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We must know that the SSI, it’s part of the Social Security Administration, but it’sn.t from the taxpayer. It’s part of the business of the Federal Government, for example:
    the U.S. Postal Services, U.S. Citizen and Immigration,
    and others.

    Thanks.

  8. Dental benefits should be covered. Medicare recipients live almost in poverty. The income is limited, so why is there not enough money for increases. There are increases for weapons.

  9. First of all you need to learn how the government works. The Congress are the ones who voted down the COLA and they are attempting to take away SS and Medicare. This is why there is no raise for us this year. It is very easy to look up. Also, please watch http://www.houselive.gov to find out what really goes on in congress instead of relying on news and social media. I will just leave this here……..

    • Congress has nothing to do with COLA (cost-of-living-index). Its the U.S.Dept. Labor. Here how they determine it:
      The CPI frequently is called a cost-of-living index, but it differs in important ways from a complete cost-of-living measure. BLS has for some time used a cost-of-living framework in making practical decisions about questions that arise in constructing the CPI. A cost-of-living index is a conceptual measurement goal, however, and not a straightforward alternative to the CPI. A cost-of-living index would measure changes over time in the amount that consumers need to spend to reach a certain utility level or standard of living. Both the CPI and a cost-of-living index would reflect changes in the prices of goods and services, such as food and clothing, that are directly purchased in the marketplace; but a complete cost-of-living index would go beyond this role to also take into account changes in OTHER GOVERNMENTAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL (If a drought they say is caused by Global Warming then high prices are not counted) FACTORS that affect consumers’ well-being. It is very difficult to determine the proper treatment of public goods, such as safety and education, and other broad concerns, such as health, water quality, and crime, that would constitute a complete cost-of-living framework.

      • WRONG. The COLA INDEX is determined by the Department of Labor but the CONGRESS DECIDES IF SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS GET A RAISE BASED ON THAT COLA INDEX!! If you’re proficient enough to find and read a government website you’re definitely able to find and read the rest of them – like, try watching the VIDEOS of the Congressional VOTES – yes, you can actually SEE AND HEAR these guys denying us a cost of living increase. I’m outraged too, but I’m at least bright enough, and HONEST enough to blame the correct party!!!! If you don’t know the facts you really ought to refrain from making FALSE claims at the very least.

    • the more you vote in the same ole people the more you get the same ole same ole. change will never happen unless it happens with you.

      • Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez is the one that says if we get a raise or not.

        Nominated by President Barack Obama and sworn in on July 23, 2013, Thomas E. Perez is the nation’s 26th secretary of labor. He has committed to making good on the promise of opportunity for all, giving every working family a chance to get ahead, and putting a middle-class life within reach of everyone willing to work for it. I think he is as big of liar as Obama.

  10. Instead of looking at what you not getting; Be thankful that they have not taken away what you are already getting! Everything is what it is. You have the freewill to accept it or reject it.Your lip hanging ain’t gonna change nothing, but the way you look. AMEN

  11. The formula used to determine the amount of the cost-of-living increase (COLA) was based on laws passed by Congress, and it was Congress that excluded most dental procedures when they created the Medicare program.

    Although it would be great to have that coverage, keep in mind that the Medicare trust fund is already in danger of running out of funds, and that will happen even sooner than for the Retirement or Disability trusts. Adding dental coverage without additional revenue would just dig Medicare into the hole even faster. Like it or not, we cannot ignore those facts, and Congress needs deal with this situation as it is, not as it “should” be.

    • The U.S. Labor Dept. is the one that determine whether of not we get a raise … NOT CONGRESS.
      The CPI frequently is called a cost-of-living index, but it differs in important ways from a complete cost-of-living measure. BLS has for some time used a cost-of-living framework in making practical decisions about questions that arise in constructing the CPI. A cost-of-living index is a conceptual measurement goal, however, and not a straightforward alternative to the CPI. A cost-of-living index would measure changes over time in the amount that consumers need to spend to reach a certain utility level or standard of living. Both the CPI and a cost-of-living index would reflect changes in the prices of goods and services, such as food and clothing, that are directly purchased in the marketplace; but a complete cost-of-living index would go beyond this role to also take into account changes in OTHER GOVERNMENTAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL (If a drought they say is caused by Global Warming then high prices are not counted) FACTORS that affect consumers’ well-being. It is very difficult to determine the proper treatment of public goods, such as safety and education, and other broad concerns, such as health, water quality, and crime, that would constitute a complete cost-of-living framework.

    • those laws were based on a formula for the 1960’s not for the 2000’s, if you want change, change the people in the government.

  12. I’ll probably get a lot of disagreement on my following comment, but…….
    I am looking at retiring this year though may stick it out until January 2017 and have been “playing” with all the numbers which includes my SS benefit (estimate) and dollars from my 401k plan (still an estimate depending on investments) and am planning to fund a dental & vision care plan. Neither of these plans seem to charge more based on someone’s age. Many people complain about what they get or don’t get from SS or Medicare. Does planning on your part come into play? I’m 64 and have been saving something in some type of a retirement plan since I was 22 years old. In the beginning of my working years I saved a minimal amount and as the years went on I got my savings up to 10%…….I see now that maybe I should had more foresight and saved more but at least I saved. My retirement should be fine. I won’t be “rich” but should be able to carry on as if I was still working. Many people blame the Government or Corporations for the minimal dollar amount that they’ll get in retirement but maybe some of that blame goes back to them. I realize that some people can’t save for many reasons but for the masses of people who have spent much more money on drinking , smoking and gambling than the average person……that’s the money you could have saved for retirement.

    • My thoughts exactly! And, I’ve followed the same path as you did and I’m enjoying a comfortable retirement because I planned for it and sacrificed to achieve it. And it never occurred to me that the “Government” was going to take care of everything I needed. I’ve also spent the last several years as a volunteer assisting seniors dealing with Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security issues at our local Senior Center. A good majority of those I assisted were eligible for Government (i.e. taxpayer) assisted housing, food stamps and having their Medicare premiums paid based on their “income” yet they are also the same ones who never miss going on our “casino trips” and spend several days playing slot machines or other forms of gambling. Personal responsibility appears to be something that is missing today.

      • How nice for you that your life turned out exactly the way you’d planned. Doesn’t work that way for everyone, unfortunately. And that does NOT make you any better than anyone else – only more smug. But don’t worry – there’s still time for catastrophe to strike your idyllic little life. Here’s hoping it’s really nasty, just like you.

    • What jerks you people are who criticize others . . . Ever occur to you that sometimes things don’t go the way you planned? I saved, I made big bucks, and I had a pretty sizeable 401k. And a house I could afford easily. First, the stock market crashed in 2008 and poof! HALF my 401k was GONE. 2 years later I was diagnosed with an incurable, progressive, crippling, terminal disease and the day I shared that information with my employer of 15 years I was FIRED. I lived off my savings and then my 401k (what was left of it) while I waited for the private disability policy I’d PAID FOR for 20 years to approve me. Took over a year and by then, because I was HONEST and paid my bills, AND because I had no health insurance since there was no ACA and my coverage ended with my job and before the ACA I COULDN’T get any with a pre-existing condition, everything was GONE to living and horrendous medical bills. I lost my house, was forced to file bankruptcy, and now have nothing but Social Security to live on. (The private disability guys terminated that coverage after 2 years, claiming my disability ‘wasn’t covered’ any more). So before you all get on your self -righteous high horses, remember this could happen to you too. And frankly, I hope it does, because maybe that would teach you some empathy. Jerks.

      • Everyone has a story. Yes, things do happen that are out of our control. I too have lost everything. What is in my control is….how I react.
        I would never, ever, wish for anyone to go through what I have endured, and currently endure.
        The policy and procedures of Medicare absolutely need attention.
        As always…I encourage everyone to get involved and communicate as often as possible with your Local Area Representation.
        Your time is just as valuable as anyone else’s.
        We’re all going to have to do this in order to make it happen.
        And yes….I do write, email, vote, sign petition’s, attend meetings, etc etc etc…as often as possible under my circumstance. For the Greater Good.
        😉 😊✌❤🙏🙋

  13. I currently receive SS benefits but my wife will not start receiving hers until late 2016. I have seen headlines about a change in benefits under a law passed in October 2015 and the possibility of taking advantage of those changes expiring April 30 2016. However, I have not seen any definitive explanation of that law or how to take advantage of that change before the window closes April 30 2016.
    Please give me a resource to read for a clear, concise explanation of this law and how I should act to take full advantage of it.

  14. I am on disability due to mental and physical problems which don’t permit me to work. I am 59. Do I refile when I am 66? I asked at the office of SS and they said they didn’t know.
    About the COLA increase, we did get an increase the last presidential election year. I know its hard for everyone. We all should have run for office cause they get the best benefits.

  15. I have invasive stage 2 triple her2 positive breast cancer,I applied for Sssi 11 months ago an I still have not gotten a decision yet,Why is it taking so long

    • The length of time it takes to receive a decision on your disability claim can vary depending on several factors, such as the nature of your disability and how quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor or other medical sources. See “How The Disability Process Works” for more information. If you were initially denied and appealed the decision, a final determination will take longer. Please continue working with your local office if you have specific questions about your claim. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

  16. Still fighting for my benefits! You know growing up in America back in the 60’s was awesome you really had a sense of pride for your country and I always said that this was the greatest country in the world . But what I have been through is far from great. I have had diabetes for almost 30yrs and suffer greatly everyday because of it. Both legs have severe nourapathy and hands as well. I also suffer from depression and bi-polar . My wife and live off 11,000 dollars a yr. I think after paying into the systems for more than 25 yrs should entitled me to something.DENIEDand denied and denied . I think I will be lucky to make another 2 yrs of living so by the looks of it I probably wont get a red cent . What a shame in the united states .. WE REALLY NEED HELP. thank you

  17. I am on strict income call SSI and without cola my quality of life has diminished significantly. you name it and it has gone up except for Gas (both petroleum and natural gas).
    My medication, taxes, water electricity and food; these are big ticket items that a big chunk out of my monthly check for Social Insecurity. I and my wife worked hard all our lives and our blessed government now believes that even though we were required to contribute into this fund for our security during the end of days; they have the right to give to people who never contributed and want little we do gift is a gift from our gov. ( they do not owe us any thing.
    I would settle for what they received of mine then give the leftovers to the dead weight.

  18. I am 65 and my husband is 56…I receive disability payments and he is still working….I have been told I can collect half of his social security retirement benefit…Is this true??

    • Hi Lee. Your benefit as a spouse can be equal to one-half of your husband’s full retirement amount only if you start receiving those benefits at your full retirement age. To qualify for spouse’s benefits, your husband must be receiving retirement or disability benefits. When you qualify for Social Security benefits on your own record, we pay that amount first. But if you also qualify for a higher amount as a spouse later on, you’ll get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. Visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information. Thanks!

  19. We did not get an increase this year……..
    However I read where Elizibeth Warren received one…….
    What makes her qualify for an increase with ALL her money???
    And all of us have to struggle on yesterday’s left overs…….

  20. I only want to make this statement regarding this misconception of entitlement to “your money” deducted for Soc. Sec. Soc. Sec. was created during the depression for the purpose of the disabled and elderly incapable of working to survive, much less compete with the younger and stronger for the minimal jobs available. After all, the elderly fought and worked hard in the making of this great nation. Intended as a temporary solution the government created this agency to deduct a percentage of each workers pay to provide for the elderly and disabled (war veterans), to honor their contributions, in a sense. Of course, it grew to what it is today, but this supplemental money came from workers before us, so as when they could no longer work they received benefits from the workers before them. I am not sure, exactly how the first set of workers fared, but the money you put in all the years you worked supplements the benefits of those retiring after you. Soc. Sec. is not your savings account, and granted benefits are determined by your contribution over lifetime employment, but it is not your money entitled to you. It was meant to serve the American citizen no longer able to (due to disability or age) contribute to the economy, and was a temporary solution. What comes first, the funds or its results? What started as two workers supplementing one recipient became 16 to 1 last I checked. I am certain that has changed, by now. It cannot last forever, and with fraud, errors, and government borrowing/policy, etc. lessens its longevity. Through all the crap and people’s greed and selfishness the percentage of impoverished elderly and disabled (vets) is evidence the funds do not serve its intended purpose effectively. Do I have a solution, no, not exactly, but our reliance on the government for solutions questions why when solution hardly meets its criteria. I just wanted to clear up the misconception of the deductions from your wages is your money held for retirement purposes, or if becoming disabled. Whatever monies are left in the fund from the deductions of the workers before you is where your benefits come from, just like your deductions will go to those retiring after you.

  21. I have asked repeatedly about French social security. I was born and raised in France and am entitled to a small amount. I filed when I retired but the SS Office in Sacramento CA “conveniently” lost all my paperwork. Since then, I have questioned diverse institutions without ever getting the courtesy of a reply, let alone help. I am now very old and sure could use a little extra money. Where do I get help? When I attempted to get help on line, I was turned down as my French SS # supposedly was short one numeral. Yet, I used the one I had been given!!!

    • Hi Ginette. We hope you understand, but your issue is a complex one and outside the scope of what can be handled via this forum. Please visit our International Programs webpage to learn more on how bilateral agreements program helps people who worked in the U.S. and abroad. If after browsing our site, you still have questions about international Social Security agreements, we encourage you to call the Social Security Administration’s Office of International Programs at (410)965-3322 or (410)965-7306. We hope this information helps!

  22. Im hoping someone can answer this general question….Can a person on SSDisability collect an inheritance and buy a home with it. Is there a penalty?

    • Hi Mary. Generally, other income and resources do not affect your Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits. Unlike the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI), which pays benefits based on financial need, SSDI pays benefits if you are “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. While there is a limit on the amount of money that you can earn through work, resources such as an inheritance will not affect your monthly SSDI benefit amount. You can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 if you need further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

    • Hi Mary! The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, are based on the individual’s previous earnings and contributions to the program. SSDI benefits are not subject to income and resource limits. Buying a home does not affect your SSDI benefits.

  23. I have been divorced since 2004 and was married for over 30 years. I am almost 64 years and my ex is 67. I did not remarry. I was told at Social Security that I could start collecting now on my ex SS but only 1/3. I have read that it it 50%. I know if I wait longer it will be more but why am I getting different information? Please help me understand.
    Thank You
    Alice Grippa

    • Hello Alice! Your benefit as a divorced spouse is equal to one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount (or disability benefit) -ONLY- if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age. Also, if you were born before January 2, 1954, you can choose to receive only the divorced spouse’s benefit and delay receiving your retirement benefit until a later date, if you file at full retirement age. If your birthday is January 2, 1954 or later, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age no longer exists.
      See “If You Are Divorced” for more information. Thanks.

  24. i have a question, i’am drawing soc sec ,disibilty for the last 30 years or so, my daugther has been drawing my soc,sec and now she turning 19 when she is cut out of her check, will her check be added back on to my check? ty.

  25. My wife is approaching 70 years of age. She and I filed for SS at age 67. She filed and suspended her SS benefits and receives spousal benefits. How does my wife refile for her full benefits at age 70?

  26. Dear Mr. Borland,

    While your above article is written in a chummy tone, my experiences and those of my wife are diametrically opposite. SSA appears to be filled with people who either are incompetent or are inadequately trained for their work responsibilities.

    Perhaps my biggest complaint is that SSA’s online statements do not match reality. For example, despite SSA in their public documents and online forms stating that a person may make an application to begin Medicare, that is not possible apparently unless that person is concurrently applying for SS benefits. Last year when my wife turned 65 and had no other health insurance options available excepting Medicare, she eventually learned that an online application was not possible, even though she was eligible based on my work record and my being already a Social Security beneficiary and Medicare recipient. She was eventually successful in enrolling in Medicare but was required to mail in monthly checks for the required premium, despite eligibility based on my work record, and that required multiple telephone conferences with SSA and delayed enrollment more than a month. Now she wants to begin her SS benefits as my spouse.

    My and my wife’s situation is very simple. I have paid the maximum amount into SS beginning in 1969 through my retirement in 2008, and initiated my own benefits a couple of years later. My wife who recently turned 66 applied for benefits as my spouse, knowing she was not eligible on her own work record. She filled out the application for benefits online, and twice subsequently received telephone calls from SSA personnel confirming her application. In the second telephone call I also was requested to answer questions to prove our status as a married couple. Today [about 2 weeks later] she received in the mail a letter from SSA denying her any benefits, and directly stating she is not eligible. That letter fails to mention anything pertaining to her eligibility as my wife. Why does SSA in such letters not address the entire set of relevant facts that have been provided to them by the people who are seeking the benefits to which they believe they are entitled by law?

    Also, SSA never provides any legal basis for any of the statements in its letters to people such as myself and my wife. Why is that? And when I asked a SSA employee for such references while in teleconference with her, she could not provide any answer, either, other than to mention the existence of some manual that is used by her and other SSA employees as a reference. Nor has anyone whenever I have personally met with SSA personnel at a SSA Office. My understanding is that ALL US government agencies, including SSA, exist and conduct their assigned responsibilities based on enabling legislation [statutory law] and many thereafter promulgate rules following publication for public comment. And still other federal agencies such as the IRS additionally publish bulletins which describe and explain how certain situations are likely to be handled. In contrast, SSA appears to not do any of these, and instead issues formal letters which typically contain canned [pre-written] standardized paragraphs which may or may not apply to the actual factual situation, may not be responsive to matters and questions raised by a person seeking benefits from SSA, and quite commonly in my experience contain conflicting statements, and if there is a chain of correspondence pertaining to the same issue[s], are likely to contain additional conflicts, and NEVER CITE ANY LEGAL AUTHORITY for any of their statements, decisions or conclusions.

    I hope that you and other senior level employees in SSA will begin to address these issues. You should also hire more people who are competent in English language who can spot conflicting and confusing statements in your publications and propose revisions that would make them more clear and far less ambiguous.

    Thank you for your service and your efforts to improve SSA. Much room and need for major improvements exists.

  27. My mother is a senior citizen now and she’s an immigrant now for 2 years and in 3 years she will be a US Citizen , she didn’t work at all, what benefits will she get once she bracome a US citizen?

    • Hi Bernadette: Benefits are payable to both U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents. However, there are many factors that could determine your mother’s eligibility. A noncitizen may also receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if the person meets the requirements of the laws for noncitizens that went into effect on August 22,1996 and all the other requirements for SSI eligibility, such as the limits on income and resources. For security purposes, we do not have access to your mother’s benefit information in this venue. To inquire about potential benefits, your mother can contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) between Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. She can also contact her local Social Security office.

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