Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Here Is Everything Americans Must Know About Social Security Benefits

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
-John F. Kennedy

Social Security benefits have played a huge role in transforming the lives of endless people across the United States. Millions of Americans have reaped social security benefits for retirement and leading a life with disabilities. The program majorly aims at providing a partial alternative to lost income for citizens due to old age, disability, death of a spouse, or an eligible ex-spouse.

This is precisely why we will be discussing everything there is to know along with answering the common questions people have in regards to Social Security for Americans. 

What exactly is Social Security?

Social security is the federal protection that the governments of the nations provide to the citizens as guaranteed income security especially to support the old-age citizens, people with disabilities, and survivors (loss of the breadwinner in the family).

In the U.S., Social Security is widely associated with retirement benefits, however, it is not the case. Millions of Americans living with disabilities or those who have lost the breadwinner of the family have been supported to mitigate the partial income loss.

The program was first introduced in the U.S. in the year 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt. The major aim of Social Security in America during its introduction was to provide income support to retired individuals above 65 years of age.

What are the 3 types of Social Security benefits?

There are 3 types of Social Security in America- i) retirement ii) disability income and iii) survivor benefits.

  • Retirement

People who are 62+ years of age and have worked for at least 10 years are eligible for retirement social security grants. The amount of your benefit is determined by your pre-retirement earnings as well as the age at which you begin receiving benefits.

While it is not intended to be your sole source of income after retirement, it can assist you in avoiding debt. Additionally, even if your husband or divorced spouse has not paid into the program, he or she may be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.

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  • Disability income

Disability payments help those who are unable to work due to a disability. You must have worked for a specific number of years to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments, just as you must have worked for a certain number of years to be eligible for retirement benefits.

Your monthly benefit amount is determined by your pre-disability earnings, and the quantity of labor you require is determined by your age. Your spouse or divorced spouse may be eligible for SSDI payments as well.

  • Survivor benefits

Survivor benefits can assist a deceased breadwinner’s family bridge financial gaps. Widows and widowers, divorced spouses, and children are generally eligible receivers. Same-sex couples now have access to Social Security payments because of a 2015 Supreme Court ruling (Obergefell v. Hodges).

The amount of benefits is determined by a variety of variables, including the worker’s age at death, his or her income, the ages of the surviving, and their relationship to the dead. A “death benefit” for survivors is a one-time payment of $255 to a dead worker’s surviving spouse or children.

Is Social Security only for retired citizens?

Contrary to the general belief that only retired individuals can avail social security benefits, the program includes disability and survivor benefits. Contributions offer insurance if you become disabled; they may also cover your adult child if he or she becomes handicapped before reaching the age of 22. Your spouse and children may be eligible for Social Security survivor payments in case of your demise if you worked long enough to qualify for benefits.

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Who all are eligible for Social Security in the U.S?

If you are 62 years old or older, handicapped or blind, and have enough work credits, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits based on your earnings record.

Employment credits are not required for family members who qualify for benefits based on their work history. The information below outlines family members who may be eligible for benefits based on your employment history.

If you are receiving retirement or disability payments, your spouse may be eligible if he or she is one of the following: 

  • 62 years old or older
  • Married to you for at least 10 years prior to your divorce.
  • The spouse must have filed for their own benefits first.

If you are 62 or older and have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security benefits but have not filed a claim, your divorced spouse may be eligible for benefits if you were married for at least 10 years prior to the divorce and have been divorced for at least two years.

How much do you contribute to Social Security?

Social Security benefits is funded by both employees and businesses. Workers are required to contribute 6.2 percent of their wages up to a certain limit. The taxable earnings ceiling generally rises with average pay each year. Employers contribute a matching amount, resulting in a total contribution of 12.4% of wages. 

Self-employed people pay the employee and employer halves of the tax, totaling 12.4 percent. The employer portion of this payment is a deductible business cost for income tax purposes. In addition, higher-income Social Security recipients pay federal income taxes on their benefits, which go toward paying for Social Security.

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What happens to my Social Security if I die?

When a Social Security recipient passes away, the surviving spouse is entitled to survivor payments. If the surviving spouse has achieved full retirement age, he or she can get 100 percent of the deceased spouse’s benefit, but the amount will be smaller if the deceased spouse claimed benefits before reaching full retirement age.

How do I apply and check my social security?

Whether you apply for retirement benefits online, via phone, or in person, the procedure follows these fundamental steps:

  • Gather the papers and information you’ll need to apply.
  • Then you need to fill out the application form and send it in the required portal.
  • The advisors will examine your application and notify you if more information is required.
  • They will send you a letter informing you of our decision.
  • Your retirement benefits begin to be paid to you.

Using your own Social Security account, you may monitor the status of your application online.

Do I have to stop working to collect my retirement benefits?

Your social security benefit amount is reduced if you cease working before collecting benefits and have less than 35 years of earnings. When calculating the number of retirement benefits you are owed, people use a zero for each year without earnings. Years of no wages diminish the amount of your retirement payout.

What is the average American Social Security check?

In January 2021, the average Social Security payout was $1,543 per month. In 2021, the maximum Social Security payout for someone retiring at full retirement age will be $3,148.

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How do Social Security benefits work?

It is a “pay-as-you-go” approach for Social Security. Current employees’ contributions are used to pay current retirees’ benefits. Any money left over is put into the Social Security Trust Fund, which will be utilized in future years if current contributions aren’t enough to meet the program’s commitments.

The old-age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund, which pays retirement payments, and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund are the two trust funds. The money in the trust funds is required by law to be invested in U.S. government securities.

What is a spousal benefit and how does it work?

Depending on the spouse’s age at retirement, the spousal social security benefit might be as much as half of the worker’s “main insurance amount.” If a spouse starts receiving benefits before reaching “normal or full of the retirement age,” then the provided payment will be decreased. The spousal benefit is not decreased if a spouse is caring for a qualified kid.

Advisors provide the retirement benefit if a spouse is entitled to one based on his or her own earnings and it is larger than the spousal benefit. Otherwise, the spousal benefit is paid.

How many years do you have to work to get the maximum Social Security?

To get the maximum Social Security benefit, you must earn at least the taxable maximum each year for 35 years. If you don’t work for 35 years, your Social Security payouts will be reduced as zeros are averaged into your computation.

Does Social Security count as income?

In most cases, if Social Security payments are your only source of income, they are not considered taxable income and hence are not taxed. If you receive Social Security payments, you will get a Form SSA-1099, which will detail your total Social Security income for the tax year.

Bottom Line 

The United States Social Security Administration is a federal government organization that administers Social Security, a social insurance program that includes retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. Benefits provided are only available to applicants eligible for a certain Social security type. Therefore, be sure to research the program thoroughly before you proceed with applications. 

Huda Sameer
Huda Sameer is pursuing Commerce and is experienced in writing for multi-dimensional content. With admiration for developing knowledge through research and exploring an array of genres, Huda loves to bring detailed analysis to the stories she covers. Besides curating content, she is a big foodie by heart who loves to travel, jam to hip hop, and progress towards her ambitions through sheer determination.

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