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Social Security

Disability Benefits
x Definition of Disability: people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. x x No Benefits on Partial or Shortterm Disability: as other programs do. x Widows or Widowers: full benefits at full retirement age, which varies depending on birth year. Reduced benefits at 60. Eligible at 50 if disabled. Eligible at any age if taking care of your child who receives Social Security benefits and is younger than 16 or disabled. x

Eligibility: earn SS credits by paying taxes. In 2012, 1 credit for each $1,130 of earnings (up to 4 per year, 40 in 10 years). / Taxes: employee 6.2% of income, employer 6.2% (12.4% total). / Contribution & Benefit Base: in 2012 the cap is $110,100. / Self-employed Individuals and Military Personnel: earn SS credits the same way employees do. / Special Rules: for earning SS credits for certain types of work, such as domestic work, farm work, and church work. / SS Statements: printed (60 and older) and online (create profile). / Retirement Calculator: available online. / Benefit Amount: monthly average of highest 35 earning years. / SS Program Purpose: Retirement benefits were meant to be a supplement to savings, investments, and other income in retirement years.

Retirement Benefits

Survivors Benefits

Medicare Benefits
x

Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI)


Beneficiaries: persons with low income who are 65, or older, or who are blind or have a disability. Disabled or blind children also can receive SSI. x

Full Retirement Benefits: with 40 credits at full retirement age (1937 < = 65; 1938-1942 = add 2 months per yr.; 1943-1954 = 66; 1955-1959 = add 2 months per yr.; 1960 > 67). Family members such as spouses (age 62 or older, younger than 62 if taking care of a child under 16 or disabled), former spouses (62 or older); children (up to 18; 19 if fulltime students not high school graduate, disabled children even if 18 or older). x

Medicare Part A: is financed by a portion of the payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers.

x x

Early Retirement Benefits: reduced benefits available at 62; about 25% lower than at full retirement. If retired due to health problems, disability benefits might be available.

Income Requirements: includes wages, SS benefits, pensions; the limit varies from state to state (2012 = $698 for individuals, $1,048 for couples). Not all income is counted. Medicare Part B: is financed in part by monthly premiums deducted from Social Security checks. x x

Delayed Retirement Benefits: each additional year of work is an extra year of earnings, which increases your benefit. There is an automatic percentage increase per year you delay retirement - up to age 70 (8% if born in 1943 or later). x

Unmarried Children: eligible if 18 or younger (up to 19 if attending elementary or secondary school full time). At any age if disabled before age 22 and remain disabled. Stepchildren, grandchildren, stepgrandchildren or adopted children might be eligible in some cases.

Two Earnings Tests: Recent Work based on your age at the time you became disabled, and Duration of Work to show that you worked long enough under Social Security. Certain blind workers have to meet only the Duration of Work test. Other Beneficiaries: family members might be eligible to receive disability benefits. x Decision Maker: decision is made by Disability Determination Services agency.

Dependent Parents: eligible if they are 62 or older to qualify as dependents you would have had to provide at least half of their support.

Resources Requirements: includes real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks, and bonds. Not greater than $2,000 for individuals, and $3,000 for couples. Some resources are not counted. CMS: the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is in charge of the Medicare program. x Other Rules: where you live, your status, living in institutions, note for persons disabled or blind.

Working and Receiving Benefits: applies to early retirees only - $1 in benefits is deducted for every $2 in earnings exceeding annual limit ($14,640 in 2012); $1 for every $3 on year of retirement (limit increases to $38,880 in 2012); No limits starting the month of full retirement age. x x

Divorced Spouses: If you have been divorced, your former wife or husband who is age 60 or older (50-59 if disabled) can get benefits if your marriage lasted at least 10 years. Age and length-of-marriage does not apply if he or she is caring for a child. x x Benefits: depend on average lifetime earnings. A Special One-Time Death Payment: available in the amount of $255.

Taxes on Social Security benefits: if you file a federal tax return as an "individual" with combined income between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of your benefits, and up to 85% if income exceeds $34,000; If you file a joint return and you and your spouse have a combined income between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of your benefits, and up to 85% if income exceeds $44,000 x

Filing Tax Returns: depends on each case.

When and How to Apply: as soon as the disability happens. Apply online or by phone.

Apply at SSA: Medicare beneficiaries apply for Medicare at the Social Security Administration.

Right to Apply for Other Benefits: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as food stamps - , Medicaid, extra help with Medicare Parts B and D costs, and Social Security benefits.

RESOURCES:

Social Security Administration: www.ssa.gov, 1-800-772-1213 / AARP: www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/socialsecuritybenefits, www.aarp.org/orderfinancialpubs, 1-888-OUR-AARP (888-687-2277) / Medicare: www.medicare.gov, 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

SOCIAL SECURITY:
its benefits
(educational chart)

Community Educators Program AARP Arizona


(02/2012)