Social Security benefits are an essential source of income for millions of Americans, providing financial stability during retirement, disability, or in the event of a loved one’s death. However, many people are unsure of how to check their Social Security benefits or if they are eligible to receive them. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to check Social Security benefits and answer some common questions about the process.
- 1 What is Social Security?
- 2 Types of Social Security Benefits
- 3 How to Check Social Security Benefits
- 4 Common Questions About Checking Social Security Benefits
What is Social Security?
Social Security is a federal program that provides financial assistance to eligible individuals and families. It was established in 1935 as part of the New Deal legislation and is funded through payroll taxes paid by employees and employers. The program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and provides benefits to retirees, disabled individuals, and survivors of deceased workers.
According to the SSA, over 64 million people received Social Security benefits in 2020, with retired workers making up the majority of beneficiaries. The average monthly benefit for retired workers was $1,544, which can make a significant difference in an individual’s or family’s financial stability.
Types of Social Security Benefits
There are several types of Social Security benefits available, depending on an individual’s circumstances. These include:Read:How to apply for unemployment benefits
- Retirement benefits: These are benefits paid to individuals who have reached the full retirement age (currently 66 for those born between 1943-1954) and have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain number of years.
- Disability benefits: These are benefits paid to individuals who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
- Survivor benefits: These are benefits paid to the surviving spouse, children, or parents of a deceased worker.
- Spousal benefits: These are benefits paid to the spouse of a retired or disabled worker who has not worked enough to qualify for their own Social Security benefits.
It is essential to note that not everyone is eligible for all types of Social Security benefits. Eligibility requirements vary for each type, and it is crucial to understand them before applying for benefits.
How to Check Social Security Benefits
There are several ways to check your Social Security benefits, depending on your situation and preferences. Let’s explore each of these methods in detail.
1. Create an Online Account
The easiest and most convenient way to check your Social Security benefits is by creating an online account on the SSA website. This account, called my Social Security, allows you to access your personal Social Security information and manage your benefits online.Read:How do i get a healthy benefits plus card
To create an account, you must be at least 18 years old, have a valid email address, and have a Social Security number. You will also need to provide personal information, such as your date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and current mailing address.
Once your account is created, you can log in to view your Social Security statement, which provides an estimate of your future retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. You can also view your earnings history, check the status of your benefit application, and update your personal information.
2. Call the Social Security Administration
If you prefer to speak with a representative, you can call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays. The representative will ask for your Social Security number and other identifying information to access your account and provide you with the information you need.
It is essential to note that wait times can be long, especially during peak hours, so it is best to call early in the morning or later in the evening for a shorter wait time.
3. Visit a Local Social Security Office
If you prefer to speak with someone in person, you can visit your local Social Security office. You can find the nearest office by using the SSA’s office locator tool on their website. It is recommended to make an appointment before visiting to avoid long wait times.Read:How do benefits work?
When visiting the office, you will need to bring your Social Security card and a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. The representative will ask for your information and provide you with the necessary details about your benefits.
4. Check Your Social Security Statement
If you are not yet receiving Social Security benefits but want to check your eligibility and estimated benefits, you can do so by checking your Social Security statement. This statement is mailed to individuals aged 60 and above who are not receiving benefits and do not have an online account.
If you are under 60, you can request a statement by calling the SSA or visiting your local office. You can also view your statement online by creating an account on the SSA website.
Common Questions About Checking Social Security Benefits
1. How do I know if I am eligible for Social Security benefits?
To be eligible for Social Security benefits, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain number of years. The number of years required depends on your age and the type of benefit you are applying for. You can check your eligibility by creating an online account or speaking with a representative at the SSA.
2. How much will my Social Security benefits be?
The amount of your Social Security benefits depends on your earnings history, the type of benefit you are receiving, and the age at which you start receiving benefits. You can get an estimate of your benefits by creating an online account or checking your Social Security statement.
3. Can I receive Social Security benefits if I am still working?
Yes, you can receive Social Security benefits while still working. However, if you have not reached the full retirement age, your benefits may be reduced if you earn more than a certain amount. Once you reach the full retirement age, you can work and earn as much as you want without affecting your benefits.
4. Can I receive Social Security benefits from my spouse’s work record?
If you are married, you may be eligible to receive spousal benefits based on your spouse’s work record. However, you must meet certain requirements, such as being at least 62 years old and not eligible for a higher benefit based on your own work record.
Social Security benefits are an essential source of income for many Americans, and it is crucial to understand how to check your benefits and ensure you are receiving the correct amount. By creating an online account, calling the SSA, visiting a local office, or checking your Social Security statement, you can stay informed about your benefits and make any necessary changes to your account. It is also essential to stay updated on any changes to Social Security policies and eligibility requirements to ensure you receive the maximum benefits you are entitled to.
Remember, Social Security benefits are meant to provide financial stability during retirement, disability, or in the event of a loved one’s death. By staying informed and taking advantage of the resources available, you can ensure that you and your family are well taken care of in the future.