Thursday, November 1, 2018

How Older Adults Can Access Their Social Security Benefits

If you work until the age of 66, you will be able to claim your full Social Security benefit for retirement. This age is subject to change, however. Individuals who were born in 1956 will need to wait until they are 66 and four months to claim their full benefit. The retirement age will continue to increase until it reaches 67 for everyone born in 1960 or later.

What Are Your Options if You Need to Claim Early?

If you start collecting social security benefits before the age to receive full benefits, you get a smaller payment. Currently, you receive 25 percent less than if you wait until full retirement age to begin collecting benefits. For most people, it makes sense to wait until you reach the full retirement age to begin collecting social security.

What if You Need to Retire Early?

It is estimated that one in every four workers will become disabled before reaching retirement age. In cases where this happens, you may qualify for disability payments. To qualify for social security disability, you must have a medical condition that will prevent you from working for at least a year, or that will result in your death. 

If you have a partial disability or a short-term health condition, you do not qualify for this benefit. You must meet the definition of disability as it is spelled out by the social security administration and be younger than the full retirement age. Certain family members of the disabled may also be able to collect disability payments.

What is the Process for Applying for Social Security Disability?

If you believe that you or a family member qualifies for social security disability, you can fill out an application online. The process to collect disability from the social security administration can be lengthy and complicated. 

It often makes sense to contact one of many social security lawyers to speed the process along. It is not uncommon to initially be rejected for disability, but for the payments to be granted on appeal.

What Happens When You Reach Full Retirement Age?

If you are still receiving disability payments when you reach full retirement age, your payments will convert to retirement benefits. When most workers retire, their social security is based on their previous 35 years earnings. 

To prevent years spent collecting disability from lowering your retirement benefit amounts, the Social Security Administration ignores the years spent collecting disability when determining your benefits.

The process of applying for social security benefits can be overwhelming and intimidating, particularly if it is happening at a time when you are already facing a health crisis. 

Having someone to help walk you through the process can provide emotional support at this critical time. Someone familiar with the process can also make sure you have the paperwork necessary to get your claim submitted properly.

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