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Power Pack: August 2015

Got Social Security questions? We’ve got answers

In this column, I wanted to share some of the more popular Social Security questions I receive and my answers.

Question:

My wife didn’t work enough to earn 40 credits to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits. Can she qualify on my record?

Answer:

Even if your spouse has never worked under Social Security, she can, at full retirement age, receive a benefit equal to one-half of your full retirement amount. Your wife is eligible for reduced spouse’s benefits as early as age 62, as long as you are already receiving benefits. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/retire.

Question:

Do I have to give my Social Security number whenever I’m asked?

Answer:

Giving your Social Security number is voluntary. If requested, you should ask why the person asking needs your Social Security number, how it will be used, what law requires you to give your number, and what the consequences are if you refuse. The answers to these questions can help you decide whether to give your Social Security number. However, the decision is yours. Keep in mind that requestors might not provide you their services if you refuse to provide your Social Security number. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs to read or print our publication, Your Social Security Number And Card.

Question:

What is the earliest age I can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits?

Answer:

The earliest age you can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits is age 62. If you decide to receive benefits before your full retirement age, which for most people is age 66 or 67, you will receive a reduced benefit. Keep in mind you will not be able to receive Medicare coverage until age 65, even if you decide to retire at an earlier age. For more information, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/retire.

Question:

Is there a time limit on how long I can receive Social Security disability benefits?

Answer:

Your disability benefits will continue as long as your medical condition has not improved and you cannot work. Social Security will periodically review your case to determine whether you continue to be eligible. If you are still receiving disability benefits when you reach your full retirement age, your disability benefits will automatically be converted to retirement benefits. Learn more about disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.

Question:

Why is there a five-month waiting period for Social Security disability benefits?

Answer:

The law states Social Security disability benefits can be paid only after you have been disabled continuously throughout a period of five full calendar months. Social Security disability benefits begin with the sixth full month after the date your disability began. You are not able to receive benefits for any month during the waiting period. Learn more at our website: www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.

McKINNEY, KYLLE

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by e-mail at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.


 

Legislators honored at AREA summer conference

State Sen. Greg Reed, a Republican from Jasper, and state Rep. April Weaver, a Republican from Alabaster, were honored as legislators of the year by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. AREA presented the awards at its summer conference in July.

Also speaking to co-op managers and board members at the conference were Dr. Tony Frazier, Alabama’s veterinarian, who talked about avian flu concerns, and Dr. Keith Blackwell, associate professor of meteorology at the University of South Alabama, who talked about hurricane forecasts.