By Deborah Banikowski
District Manager, Syracuse
On Memorial Day, our nation honors military service members who have given their lives for our country. Families, friends and communities pause to remember the many great sacrifices of our military and ensure their legacy lives on in the freedoms we all enjoy. We recognize these heroes who, in President Lincoln’s words, “gave the last full measure of devotion.”
The benefits we provide can help the families of military service members. For example, widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. You can learn more about those benefits at www.ssa.gov/survivors.
We also offer support to our wounded warriors. Social Security benefits protect veterans when an injury prevents them from returning to active duty or performing other work.
Wounded military service members can receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability claims. Are you a veteran with a 100% permanent and total compensation rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs? We will expedite your disability claim. Both the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Social Security Administration have disability programs. You may qualify for disability benefits through one program but not the other, or you may qualify for both. Depending on your situation, some of your family members, including your dependent children or spouse, may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits.
Want more information? Visit www.ssa.gov/woundedwarriors for answers to commonly asked questions or to find information about the application process.
Thinking about retirement? Military service members can receive Social Security benefits in addition to their military retirement benefits. For details, read the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/veterans.html.
Please share this information with the military families in your community. To the veterans who bravely served and died for our country, and to the military service members who serve today, we honor and thank you.
Q: My child receives SSI. He will be 18 in a few months. Will his SSI payments continue after he turns 18?
A: When a child who is on SSI turns 18, we conduct both a medical and a non-medical review to see if they are still eligible for SSI payments. If the child continues to meet the income and resource requirements, and is still considered to be disabled under the adult disability rules, then payment continues. For more information, read What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18 at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Q: I went back to work after retiring, but now the company I work for is downsizing. I’ll be receiving unemployment benefits in a few weeks. Will this affect my retirement benefits?
A: When it comes to retirement benefits, Social Security does not count unemployment as earnings, so your retirement benefits will not be affected. However, any income you receive from Social Security may reduce your unemployment benefits. Contact your state unemployment office for information on how your state applies the reduction to your unemployment compensation.
Q: I have been getting Social Security disability benefits for many years. I’m about to hit my full retirement age. What will happen to my disability benefits?
A: When you reach “full retirement age,” we will switch you from disability to retirement benefits. But you won’t even notice the change because your benefit amount will stay the same. It’s just that when you reach retirement age, we consider you to be a “retiree” and not a disability beneficiary. To learn more, visit www.socialsecurity.gov.
Q: Will my Social Security disability benefit increase if my condition gets worse or I develop additional health problems?
A: No. We do not base your Social Security benefit amount on the severity of your disability. The amount you are paid is based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. If you go back to work after getting disability benefits, you may be able to get a higher benefit based on those earnings. In addition, we have incentives that allow you to work temporarily without losing your disability benefits. For more information about disability benefits, read our publications Disability Benefits and Working While Disabled — How We Can Help. Both are available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.