Social Security Benefits are a type of support protection provided by the U.S. government which an applicant can get when certain life events happen to them. To apply for benefits a filer must fill out and submit a correct Social Security Benefits Application, which is available for download below or can be ordered through a local Social Security office.
Types of Social Security Benefits
There are different types of benefits that individuals can apply for, such as:
- Social Security Disability Benefits. If it is no longer possible for an applicant to work because of their medical condition, they can apply for this type of benefits.
- Form SSA-16, Application for Disability Insurance Benefits is used if a filer is eligible for receiving benefits for a disability;
- Form SSA-8000-BK, Application for Supplemental Security Income is completed by disabled applicants with a limited income.
- Social Security Retirement Benefits. If a filer has reached a certain age, they can apply for benefits with the SSA.
- Form SSA-1-BK, Application for Retirement Insurance Benefits covers the receiving of retirement insurance benefits.
- Social Security Spousal Benefits. Individuals whose spouses filed for retirement insurance benefits may be eligible for benefits as well.
- Form SSA-2-BK, Application for Wife's or Husband's Insurance Benefits is completed by filers who want to receive their spouse’s benefits.
- Social Security Survivors Benefits. When a filer’s family member deceased they may be eligible for survivors’ benefits.
- Form SSA-5-BK, Form SSA-7-F6, and Form SSA-10 are used to apply for benefits available under Title II (Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) and Part A of Title XVIII (Health Insurance for the Aged and Disabled);
- Form SSA-8, Application for Lump-Sum Death Payment is completed by a surviving spouse or a child if they meet certain requirements;
- Form SSA-24, Application for Survivors Benefits is filed by dependents of veterans.
Each of these benefits has its own requirements that a filer must meet. For example, to apply for disability benefits an applicant must meet specific requirements, which include being 18 years old or older, and having no possibility to work at the moment because of their medical condition, which is expected to last for twelve months or more, etc.
If an applicant needs proof that they have applied for benefits, receiving benefits, or they are required to present proof of their retirement or disability, they should request a Social Security Verification Letter. It verifies the income of a filer and can be requested online or in a local social security office.
How to Apply For Social Security Benefits?
Applying for social security benefits is a time-consuming process, so it's better for an applicant to get ready and gather the information that must be reported in advance. To apply for social security benefits an applicant must fill out an SSA Benefits Application form which differs depending on the type of benefits a filer is applying for. Individuals can apply for benefits:
- Online. To apply for social security benefits online an applicant should visit the official website of the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA);
- By phone. If an applicant wants to apply by phone they should call the Social Security Administration;
- In person. In this case, an applicant should visit their local security office, it might be required to make an appointment prior to the visit. A list of facilities is available on the SSA official website.
After an applicant has chosen the most convenient way for them to apply for benefits they should fill in the appropriate application. For example, to apply for retirement benefits a filer should fill out Form SSA-1-BK, Application for Retirement Insurance Benefits. If a filer wants to apply for survivors' benefits they should fill in Form SSA-24, Application for Survivors Benefits.
After a filer has filled in an appropriate application and gathered documents required for applying for a certain benefit, they should submit it to the social security office.
How Are Social Security Benefits Calculated?
The benefits that an individual is eligible for and can apply for depend on a lot of factors. However, the SSA gives individuals the opportunity to receive a rough picture of how much they might get in one way or another depending on the information they have now.
To find out the potential size of the payments, an applicant can use the Social Security Benefits Calculator, which is provided on the official SSA website. By entering present data about their estimated earnings, date of birth, and the age at which they plan to stop working, individuals can have a basic understanding of the amount of payments they might receive.
How to Maximize Social Security Benefits?
There is a list of circumstances that an applicant’s future social security benefits depend on. Knowing them can help to increase the payments and create a better situation for the upcoming bonuses. In order to maximize social security benefits, an applicant should follow the recommendations, such as:
- Work for 35 years or more. Benefits calculated from the earnings an applicant has made during the 35 years in which they earned the most.
- Work until your full retirement age. An applicant’s full retirement age depends on the year they were born.
- Pay attention to all kinds of benefits you might get. A filer should research all kinds of benefits available and file an application if they meet the requirements.
Additional Social Security Benefits Application Forms
- Form SSA-4-BK, Application for Child’s Insurance Benefits (also known as an SSI Application Form for Child). Filers are allowed to make an application for benefits on behalf of their children using this document;
- Form SSA-521, Request for Withdrawal of Application. If an applicant files this request and it is approved, a decision that was made on their application will have no legal power;
- Form SSA-1372-BK, Advanced Notice of Termination of Child's Benefits;
- Form SSA-1372-BK-FC, Advanced Notice of Termination of Child's Benefits (Foreign Claims);
- Form SSA-2010-F6, Statement for Determining Continuing Entitlement for Special Veterans Benefits (SVB);
- Form SSA-2032-BK, Request for Waiver of Special Veterans Benefits (SVB) Overpayment Recovery or Change in Repayment Rate;
- Form SSA-3881-BK, Questionnaire for Children Claiming SSI Benefits;
- Form SSA-4111, Certification of Election for Reduced Widow(er)'s and Surviving Divorced Spouse's Benefits.
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