94 thoughts on “Get Educated about Your Social Security Benefits

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

    • I thank you most sincerely for your above comments about some SSA officials. Each time I complained or stated whatever I experienced about the treatments that was meted to me, no SSA official borders as if what happened to me was my making. Most of the times my comments were removed and discarded without updating or making necessary adjustment as required by well established and supervised organisations.
      I had and ‘am still complaining (or begging) SSA that my retirement benefit had been stopped for over 34 months, and unfortunately no official of SSA considers it an important complaint that is worthy of solution as long as they’re receiving their salaries and/or wages. PLEASE KINDLY CHANGE THIS STYLE OF YOURS, WE LOVE YOU ALL.

  5. 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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