By Warren Beck, Social Security District Manager in Syracuse
We strive to provide the public with accurate and helpful information. In addition to the resources available on our website at www.ssa.gov, we also regularly post useful information on our blog and on social media. We invite you to read our posts and share items of interest with your family and friends.
1. You can subscribe to our blog. We post articles about programs, policies, current topics and new online services. Read more and subscribe at blog.ssa.gov.
2. You can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/socialsecurity. You can also share Facebook posts with family and friends.
3. We have many informative videos on YouTube. Our videos cover online services, applying for retirement and disability benefits, Social Security-related scams, and much more. We also offer some of our videos in Spanish. You can view and easily share our videos at www.youtube.com/SocialSecurity.
4. You can join our many Twitter followers at www.twitter.com/socialsecurity. We use Twitter to announce new my Social Security features and other service or program changes.
5. We’re also on Instagram. We share stories and resources that can help you and your loved ones. Check out our Instagram page at www.instagram.com/SocialSecurity.
Connect with us on social media to learn helpful information. Follow along and share our pages with a friend, neighbor, or loved one today. Check out all our social media channels at www.ssa.gov/socialmedia.
Q & A
Q.: I’m reaching my full retirement age and thinking about retiring early next year. When is the best time of year to apply for Social Security benefits?
A.: You can apply as early as four months before when you want your monthly benefits to begin. To apply, just go to www.ssa.gov/applytoretire. Applying online for retirement benefits from the convenience of your home or office is secure and can take as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy!
Q.: Will my retirement benefits increase if I wait and retire after my full retirement age?
A.: Yes. You can increase your Social Security retirement benefit in two ways:
• You can increase your retirement benefit by a certain percentage if you delay receiving retirement benefits. We will add these increases automatically from the time you reach full retirement age until you start receiving benefits or reach age 70.
• If you work, each additional year you work adds another year of earnings to your Social Security record. Higher lifetime earnings may result in higher benefits when you do retire.
For more information, visit www.ssa.gov/pubs to read, print, or listen to our publication, “When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits.” You also can use our retirement estimator at www.ssa.gov/estimator to determine your estimated future benefits.
Q.: What is the earliest age that I can receive Social Security disability benefits?
A.: There is no minimum age as long as you meet the Social Security definition of disabled and you have sufficient work to qualify for benefits. To qualify for disability benefits, you must have worked under Social Security long enough to earn the required number of work credits and some of the work must be recent. You can earn up to a maximum of four work credits each year. The number of work credits you need for disability benefits depends on the age you become disabled. For example, if you are under age 24, you may qualify with as little as six credits of coverage. But people disabled at age 31 or older generally need between 20 and 40 credits to qualify, and some of the work must have been recent. For example, you may need to have worked five out of the past 10 years. Learn more at www.ssa.gov/disability.
Q.: What is the purpose of Supplemental Security Income, or SSI?
A.: The purpose of SSI is to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little income and few resources to support themselves. It provides financial assistance to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. You can receive SSI even if you have not worked and paid into Social Security. SSI is a federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). Find out more at www.ssa.gov/ssi.