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Social Security Q&A

Social Security Getting Questions About Returning to Work

Also questions about disability, benefits for children and working for federal government

Oct. 29, 2013 – The questions this week for Oscar Garcia, Informational Specialist with the Social Security Administration seem to indicate at least some seniors are considering returning to work. And, as always, many have questions about benefits for their family members.

Question:

Will my benefit amount be reduced if I return to work part time and pay less into Social Security?

Answer:

If you are currently receiving benefits and you work, your benefit amount may be lower than it would if you had continued in your previous job paying the maximum. But remember, we calculate your benefit based on the highest 35 years of earnings. 

If you do not have 35 years of earnings, we will use all of the earnings on your record.  We will factor in an annual earnings total of $0.00 for each remaining year.  Therefore, higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits.

If you do not currently receive Social Security benefits and begin receiving benefits at age 62, the earliest possible age you can receive retirement benefits, your benefit amount will always be lower than it would if you had waited until full retirement age. 

For more information, read our publication “Your Retirement Benefit: How It Is Figured” or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. The publication can be accessed by using the “Search” box on our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.

 

Archived Social Security Q&A

 
 

When to Start Social Security Asked Often; What Happens When You Do Not Return Overpayment

There is an easy way and then there are options a little tougher for SSA to recover any overpayment

Sept. 20, 2013

Social Security Joins Others in Government to Meet Supreme Court Order on Same Sex Marriage

Social Security Q&A author also reminds seniors there is help available to pay for Medicare

Sept. 11, 2013

Why contribute to Social Security that will not be around when 30-year-old retires?

And, there are easier questions answered by SSA's Oscar Garcia that apply to benefits, which are a lot more important to most senior citizens

Aug. 1, 2013


Read more Social Security News

also check Medicare and Senior Politics

 

Question:

Can my 16 and 17 year-old children get benefits on my record if I start receiving benefits?

Answer:

When you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, your unmarried children also may qualify to receive benefits on your record. Eligible children can be your biological child, adopted child or stepchild. A dependent grandchild also may qualify.

To receive benefits, your unmarried child must be younger than age 18. If they are between 18-19 years old, then they must be in elementary or secondary school as full time students. Social Security pays benefits through grade 12.

We do not pay students who are in college, unless they are age 18 or older and severely disabled (the disability must have started before age 22). Each child may receive a monthly payment up to one-half of your full retirement benefit amount.  However, there is a limit to the amount paid to you and your family. The limit varies, but is generally equal to about 150 to 180 percent of your retirement benefit.

You can read more about benefits for children by visiting our fact sheet on this subject at http://ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10085.pdf.

Question:

I had a serious leg injury three years ago and received disability benefits for about 19 months until I could return to work. Unfortunately, my leg problems have returned and I may not be able to continue working much longer. When I first applied for benefits, I waited five full months before I was eligible to receive my first check. If I reapply for benefits, will I again be subject to this waiting period?

Answer:

No. If you become disabled a second time within five years after your previous disability benefits stopped, there is no five-month waiting period before benefits start. If your claim is approved, you can receive benefits for the first full month of disability.

However, it can take from three to five months to get a decision on a disability claim, depending on how long it takes to obtain your medical records and any other information we need to decide whether you are disabled. You can help shorten this time by providing as much information as possible when you apply for benefits.

For more information about applying for benefits, we suggest that you review our booklet, Disability, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. You can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability.

Question:

Was I covered by Social Security when I worked for the federal government some years ago? 

Answer:

It depends for which retirement system you worked. If you paid Social Security tax on your earnings, you are covered. Up until 1984, workers for the federal government were covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).

If you worked for a federal agency during these years, you did not pay Social Security tax on your earnings and you were not covered by Social Security. In 1984, a second retirement system, the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), was introduced.  Federal workers hired under FERS are covered by Social Security because they pay Social Security taxes.

Also, some workers covered by CSRS chose to switch to FERS. They, too, pay Social Security taxes and are covered by Social Security while under  FERS.  However, the earnings from any government employment under CSRS are not counted towards computing your Social Security benefits.

Both workers under FERS and CSRS workers are covered under the Medicare program because they pay Medicare taxes on their federal earnings. If you are, or were, a government employee under CSRS, then you need to speak with a Social Security representative to find out how that employment can impact your Social Security benefits.  There are rules that can reduce Social Security retirement benefits as well as reduce or prohibit you from receiving Social Security spousal benefits.  These rules apply to any type of government employment where you did not pay into Social Security.

A good place to get background on this is our webpage for Government Employees at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/gpo-wep/

Oscar Garcia is a Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration. You can direct your questions to him at: SSA, 411 Richland Hills Drive, San Antonio, Texas, 78245. You can also email him at Oscar.h.garcia@ssa.gov.

 

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