HomeNewsSocial Security: Here Are Four Things You Need to Know About Your Benefits

Social Security: Here Are Four Things You Need to Know About Your Benefits

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo credit: Douglas Sacha via Getty Images)

 Right now, millions of Americans are thinking about exiting the workforce. Many of those are eligible for Social Security benefits. However, before applying it is important to choose the correct type of benefits. The Social Security Administration offers four different programs. Each program has its own requirements.

So, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who are planning on exiting the workforce or planning on applying for Social Security benefits in the near future, this is a great place to start.

Social Security Benefits for Retirees

Right now, most workers in the country are paying into their future Social Security benefits. Every payday, a little money goes to the Social Security Administration. That money helps to construct the fund from which all beneficiaries draw. As a result, the SSA puts some strict guidelines on who can draw retirement benefits.

In order to draw unemployment benefits through Social Security, a worker has to build up at least 40 credits. Every year, a worker can earn up to four credits. So, in order to draw retirement from the SSA, you have to have at least ten years of employment under your belt. Additionally, only workers who are 62 or older can get these benefits. Those who apply before the age of 65 will see smaller checks than those who wait the extra three years to retire.

Right now, those who are getting benefits from Social Security are gaining a little extra from a Cost of Living Adjustment. The SSA changes this amount every year. However, the Administration looks at a worker’s salary and work history to calculate their base benefits.

Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration also offers benefits for workers who become disabled. Like retirement benefits, workers pay into these benefits over time. Generally speaking, some of the requirements for those who plan to draw disability are a little looser than retirement.

Workers who want to draw disability must have a history of employment that paid into Social Security. Additionally, they have to have an approved condition that stops them from working, according to the SSA website.  

Supplemental Security Income

The Social Security Administration also offers Supplemental Security Income benefits. This program is for children with disabilities, disabled adults, and seniors 65 or over. While the net is a little wider for SSI benefits, they’re a bit more complicated.

Citizens’ household income determines how much money they get from SSI. Those who have no income or assets will get the full available amount every month. However, any assets will lower the amount. Those assets include things like income, cars, bank accounts, and investments figure into their monthly stipends.

Survivor Benefits from Social Security

Widows, widowers, and divorced spouses may be eligible for survivor benefits. Additionally, children may be eligible to receive these payments under some circumstances. They can apply for the benefits if their late loved one was a worker who paid into Social Security benefits. The SSA bases monthly payments on the worker’s age at death, ages of the survivors, and the worker’s salary before death.