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65 or over with limited income and resources to apply for Supplemental Security Income

Rep. answers questions about eligibility, retirement ID theft and more I saw a poster that advised people 65 or over with limited income and resources to apply for Supplemental Security Income. Next month I'll turn 65, and I thought I'd be eligible for SSI. I planned to apply until my neighbor told me I probably would be turned down because I have children who could help support me. Is this true?

Whether your children are capable of helping to support you does not affect your eligibility. SSI eligibility depends solely on your income and resources (the things you own). If you have low income and few resources, you may be able to get SSI. However, if you are receiving support from your children or from anyone living inside or outside of your home, it may affect your eligibility or the amount you can receive. Support includes any food or shelter that is given to you or is received by you because someone else pays for it. Learn more about SSI at Social Security.gov/ssi.

I get disability benefits and so does my cousin. Her children receive benefits on her record. I took an application for my children to receive benefits, but I was told they were not eligible for payment. Why is this?

There are a few different reasons why a child might not receive benefits from a parent when the parent receives disability benefits. A child must be unmarried, below the age of 18 or younger than 19 and 2 months and still enrolled in high school. A child also may receive benefits if he or she was disabled before age 22. If these conditions are met and benefits are still not payable, it is possible that the parent is receiving the maximum amount payable by law on his or her own benefit. Additionally, if workers’ compensation is involved, the amount due the children may be held as part of the parent’s workers’ compensation offset. For specific details regarding your own record, contact your local Social Security office or call 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-328-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

I have been collecting disability benefits for a few years, but I’m getting healthy enough to work again. Can I return to work while getting Social Security disability benefits?

Yes, you can return to work while receiving Social Security disability benefits. We have special rules to help you get back to work without lowering your initial benefits. You may be able to have a trial work period for nine months to test whether you can work. If you get disability benefits and your condition improves or you return to work, you must report these changes to us. Call 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) or contact your local Social Security office. You can find your local office by visiting Social Security.gov/locator.

What is the benefit amount a spouse may be entitled to receive?

If you are eligible for both your own retirement benefit and for benefits as a spouse, we will always pay you benefits based on your record first. If your benefit as a spouse is higher than your retirement benefit, you will receive a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse's benefits. A spouse generally receives one-half of the retired worker's full benefit unless the spouse begins collecting benefits before full retirement age. If the spouse begins collecting benefits before full retirement age, the amount of the spouse's benefit is reduced by a percentage based on the number of months before he or she reaches full retirement age. For example, based on the full retirement age of 66, if a spouse begins collecting benefits at age 65, the benefit amount would be about 46 percent of the retired worker's full benefit; at age 64, it would be about 42 percent; at age 63, 37.5 percent; and at age 62, 35 percent.

However, if a spouse is taking care of a child who is either under age 16 or disabled and receives Social Security benefits on the same record, a spouse will get full benefits, regardless of age. Learn more by reading our retirement publication at Social Security.gov/pubs/10035.html.

I know that Social Security’s full retirement age is gradually rising to 67. But does this mean the “early” retirement age will also go up by two years, from age 62 to 64?

No. While it is true that under current law the full retirement age is gradually rising from 65 to 67, the “early” retirement age remains at 62. Keep in mind, however, that taking early retirement reduces your benefit amount. For more information about Social Security benefits, visit Social Security.gov/planners/retire.

Someone stole My Social Security number, and it’s being used repeatedly. Does Social Security issue new Social Security numbers to victims of repeated identity theft?

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, so you aren’t alone. If you’ve done all you can to identify and fix the problem, including contacting the Federal Trade Commission, but someone is still using your number, Social Security may assign you a new number. If you decide to apply for a new number, you’ll need to prove your identity, age and U.S. citizenship or immigration status. You’ll also need to provide evidence you’re having ongoing problems because of the misuse of your current Social Security number. You can read more about identity theft at Social Security.gov/pubs.

I worked for the past 10 years and I now have my 40 credits. Does this mean I get the maximum Social Security retirement benefit?

Probably not. The 40 credits are the minimum number you need to qualify for retirement benefits. However, we do not base your benefit amount on those credits; it's based on your earnings over a lifetime of work. To learn more about how you earn Social Security credits and how they work, read or listen to our publication How You Earn Credits, available at Social Security.gov/pubs.

My child, who gets Social Security, will be attending his last year of high school in the fall. He turns 19 in a few months. Do I need to fill out a form for his benefits to continue?

Yes. You should receive a form, SSA-1372-BK, in the mail about three months before your son’s birthday. Your son needs to complete the form and take it to his school’s office for certification. Then, you need to return Page 2 and the certified Page 3 to Social Security for processing. If you can’t find the form we mailed to you, you can find it online at Social Security.gov/forms/ssa-1372.pdf.

How do I report a change of address if I’m getting Supplemental Security Income?

A person receiving SSI must report any change of address by calling our toll-free number, 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778), or by visiting a local office within 10 days after the month the change occurs. You cannot complete a change of address online. You should report your new address to Social Security so you can continue to get mail from Social Security when necessary, even if you get your benefits electronically by direct deposit or Direct Express. Learn more about SSI at Social Security.gov/ssi.

Vonda Van Til is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan. You may write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email to vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

 

 

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