Supporting our wounded warriors
Every Veterans Day, the nation honors the brave men and women who risk their lives to protect our country and the freedoms we cherish. Social Security honors veterans and active duty members of the military every day by giving them the support they deserve. A vital part of that is administering the Social Security disability program.
For those who return home with injuries, Social Security is a resource they can turn to for disability benefits. Social Security’s Wounded Warriors website is at socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.
The website has answers to many commonly asked questions, and shares other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of disability claims. Benefits available through Social Security are different from those available from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.
The expedited process is available to military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after Oct. 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.
Even active duty military who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they’re unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Although a person can’t receive Social Security disability benefits while engaging in substantial work for pay or profit, receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits from Social Security.
Learn more by visiting socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.
With more than 80 years of experience and compassionate service, Social Security is proud to support our veterans and active duty members of the military. Let these heroes know they can count on us when they need to take advantage of their earned benefits, today and tomorrow.
Are you posting during National Blog Posting Month?
Social Security Matters is Social Security’s blog and one of the best places for retirement and other benefit news.
November is National Blog Posting Month, which means there’s never been a better time to join the conversation with Social Security. The blog is our interactive center for engaging with you by answering questions and concerns in a way that benefits all readers and contributors. Social Security Matters also lets you provide meaningful feedback that can help us serve you more effectively.
The blog’s comment section allows you to voice your thoughts and ask questions. The conversation is growing every day. We’re doing our best to serve you, and a big part of that is listening to what you have to say.
We regularly post items about disability. For example, check out this article focusing on transitioning into adulthood: blog.socialsecurity.gov/helping-young-people-with-disabilities-successfully-transition-to-adulthood.
And we share ways you can protect your identity: blog.socialsecurity.gov/protecting-your-social-security-number-from-identity-theft.
Blog posts aren’t a one-way conversation. We’d like you to share the items that interest you and your family and friends. Using your preferred social media, Social Security Matters lets you share our posts with the click of a button. In addition, you can subscribe to our blog and get Social Security news as it happens. Simply select the blue button titled “Get blog updates.”
We’re updating our blog all the time, and not just during National Blog Posting Month. You can join the conversation too. Visit Social Security Matters today at blog.socialsecurity.gov.
While shopping online, visit Social Security
“Black Friday” is the busiest shopping day of the year, with people lining up at midnight for deals as they begin the busy holiday shopping season. More people than ever are taking advantage of online holiday deals. “Cyber Monday” is the day internet-savvy people search for deals, all online.
You’re smart, and you probably already know there’s more than one way to find value on the Internet. For example, Social Security offers many online services to the public — and they’re free and secure! Doing business online with Social Security will also save time. The feeling of instant gratification is like clicking submit on that online shopping cart.
Here are some of the most popular online services you’ll find at socialsecurity.gov. Each site is safe and secure.
Need a replacement Social Security card? You may be able to request your replacement card without visiting a local Social Security office. Still working and wondering what future Social Security benefits you might receive? The online Social Security Statement is a smart service that is a hit with the millions of people who’ve used it. Your online Statement provides you with a record of your past earnings along with projected earnings for future years to give you estimates of future Social Security benefits. Do you already get Social Security benefits? You can use your online account to manage your benefits, such as starting or changing Direct Deposit, getting an instant proof of benefits letter, and much more. Just go to socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
The Retirement Estimator is another easy way to get an instant, personalized estimate of your future Social Security benefits. Just enter some basic information and the Estimator will use information on your Social Security record, along with what you input, to give you a benefit estimate on the spot. You can even experiment with different scenarios, such as changing your future earnings and retirement date. Check it out in English at socialsecurity.gov/estimator or in Spanish at segurosocial.gov/calculador.
The online Retirement Application is the most convenient way to apply for Social Security retirement benefits. You can apply from the comfort of your home — it’s convenient and secure. In fact, you can apply online in as little as 15 minutes. In most cases, after you submit the application electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and, usually, no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed. When you’re ready to retire, apply at socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.
Business Services Online is our one-stop shop for small business owners. The site allows organizations and authorized people to conduct business with and submit confidential information to Social Security. Employers can use it to file W-2s for their employees the fast, convenient and paperless way — online. Visit Business Services Online at socialsecurity.gov/bso.
Social Security’s online services continually receive the highest customer satisfaction ratings in both the public and private sectors. Each site uses the highest security to keep your information safe. Learn more about all you can do online at Social Security on Cyber Monday, or any day, at socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.
Social Security covers you when you’re abroad
Social Security has you covered, even outside our nation’s borders. We’re with you through life’s journey, even if you’re traveling outside the United States. Many people who travel or live outside the country receive some kind of Social Security benefit, including retired and disabled workers, as well as spouses, widows, widowers and children.
If you’re a U.S. citizen, you may receive your Social Security payments outside the United States as long as you are eligible. When we say you are “outside the United States,” we mean you’re not in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands or American Samoa. Once you’ve been outside the United States for at least 30 days in a row, we consider you to be outside the country. Whether you’re off to Europe, or considering a stay in our newly reopened neighbor, Cuba, you may be able to receive your Social Security benefits even while you’re outside the United States. If you receive Supplemental Security Income, you cannot receive benefits if you’re outside of the United States for a month or more.
If you’re traveling outside the United States for an extended amount of time, it’s important that you tell Social Security the date you plan to leave and the date you plan to come back, no matter how long you expect your travel to last.
You can use this online tool to find out if you can continue to receive your Social Security benefits if you are outside the United States or are planning to go outside the United States at socialsecurity.gov/international/payments_outsideUS.html.
This tool will help you find out if your retirement, disability or survivor’s payments will continue as long as you are eligible, stop after six consecutive calendar months, or if certain country-specific restrictions apply.
When you live outside the United States, we send you a questionnaire periodically. Your answers will help us figure out if you still are eligible for benefits. Return the questionnaire to the office that sent it as soon as possible. If you don’t, your payments will stop. In addition to responding to the questionnaire, notify us promptly about changes that could affect your payments.
You can also read the publication titled Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States at socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Securing today and tomorrow is our priority, no matter where you might be living.
Denise Anderson is Social Security district manager in Alton.
Question: Are Social Security numbers reassigned after a person dies?
Answer: No. We do not reassign Social Security numbers. In all, we have assigned more than 460 million Social Security numbers. Each year we assign about 5.5 million new numbers. There are more than 1 billion combinations of the nine-digit Social Security number. As a result, the current system has enough new numbers to last for several more generations. For more information about Social Security, visit socialsecurity.gov.
Question: I recently applied for a replacement Social Security card, but I might be moving before it arrives in the mail. What should I do if I move before I get it?
Answer: Once we have verified all your documents and processed your application, it takes 10 to 14 days to receive your replacement Social Security card. If you move after applying for your new card, notify the post office of your change of address and the post office will forward your card to your new address. If you do not receive your card, please contact your local Social Security office. To get a replacement, you will have to resubmit your evidence of identity and United States citizenship, or your lawful immigration status and authority to work. You can learn more at socialsecurity.gov.
Question: I want to estimate my retirement benefit at several different ages. Is there a way to do that?
Answer: Use our Retirement Estimator at socialsecurity.gov/estimator to get an instant, personalized retirement benefit estimate based on current law and your earnings record. The Retirement Estimator, which also is available in Spanish, lets you create additional “what if” retirement scenarios based on different income levels and “stop work” ages.
Question: Why doesn’t my estimate using the Retirement Estimator take into account my work as a teacher? I’ve worked for 20 years for the state and thought it would count.
Answer: If you work for a state or local government agency — including a school system, college or university — your earnings may not be covered by Social Security. If you are covered only by your state or local pension plan and you don’t pay Social Security taxes, your earnings won’t be shown on your Social Security record. (Your record will show your Medicare wages if you pay into that program.) For information on how your pension from non-covered state or local employment may affect the amount of your Social Security benefit, you can visit socialsecurity.gov/retire2/wep-chart.htm
Question: I get Social Security because of a disability. How often will my case be reviewed to determine if I’m still eligible?
Answer: How often we review your medical condition depends on how severe it is and the likelihood it will improve. Your award notice tells you when you can expect your first review using the following terminology:
• Medical improvement expected — If your condition is expected to improve within a specific time, your first review will be six to 18 months after you started getting disability benefits.
• Medical improvement possible — If improvement in your medical condition is possible, your case will be reviewed about every three years.
• Medical improvement not expected — If your medical condition is unlikely to improve, your case will be reviewed about once every five to seven years.
For more information, visit socialsecurity.gov.
Question: Will my Social Security disability benefit increase if my condition gets worse or I develop additional health problems?
Answer: No. We do not base your Social Security benefit amount on the severity of your disability. The amount you are paid is based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. If you go back to work after getting disability benefits, you may be able to get a higher benefit based on those earnings. In addition, we have incentives that allow you to work temporarily without losing your disability benefits. For more information about disability benefits, read our publications Disability Benefits and Working While Disabled — How We Can Help. Both are available online at socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Question: I have been receiving my Supplemental Security Income by direct deposit for years, but I need to change my bank account. How can I do that?
Answer: For SSI benefits, you can complete changes in direct deposit by calling or visiting your local field office. In addition, you may call 1-800-722-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. For more information regarding direct deposit, please visit socialsecurity.gov/deposit.
Question: I am receiving Supplemental Security Income. Can my children receive dependent’s benefits based on my benefits?
Answer: No. SSI benefits are based on the needs of one individual and are paid only to the qualifying person. Disabled children are potentially eligible for SSI, but there are no spouse’s, dependent children’s, or survivors benefits payable as there are with Social Security benefits. For more information, see our publication, Supplemental Security Income, available online at socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Simply type the title of the publication in the publication search box on the left side of the page. You also may want to read Understanding Supplemental Security Income, available at socialsecurity.gov/ssi/text-understanding-ssi.htm. For even more information, visit our website at socialsecurity.gov.
Question: If I retire at age 62, will I be eligible for Medicare?
Answer: No. Medicare starts when you reach 65. If you retire at 62, you may be able to continue medical insurance coverage through your employer or purchase it from a private insurance company until you become eligible for Medicare. For more information see our publication, Medicare, at socialsecurity.gov/pubs, or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Question: Is it true that if you have low income you can get help paying your Medicare premiums?
Answer: Yes. If your income and resources are limited, your state may be able to help with your Medicare Part B premium, deductibles and coinsurance amounts. State rules vary on the income and resources that apply. Contact your state or local medical assistance, social services, or welfare office, or call the Medicare hotline, 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), and ask about the Medicare Savings Programs. If you have limited income and resources, you also may be able to get help paying for prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778) or visit any Social Security office.
Also, see our publication, Medicare (Publication 10043), at socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10043.html. For even more information, visit socialsecurity.gov.
Denise Anderson is Social Security district manager in Alton.