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By Thea Theresa English

Social security benefits explained in a simple way

Social Security benefits are provided to retirees, people with disabilities and families of deceased persons. In order to receive Social Security for retirement, you will need to earn adequate credits by working for a long period of time. You need at least 40 credits in order to be eligible for benefits when retirement comes. You must also be a certain age if you want to receive all of your benefits. If you were born between 1937 and 1942, you must be 65 in order to get them. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, you must be 66 years old to receive benefits. If you were born after 1960, you will have to be 67.

Can I work while receiving Social Security?

This is an important question because for some people, Social Security benefits are not enough to cover daily expenses. As a result, they have to work part or full time. You can work while receiving your benefits, but your income cannot exceed the income limit, because if it does deductions are made from your benefit amount.

Documentation required for applying

You will need your Social Security number, birth certificate, and W2 form. Without these your application will not be processed in a quick manner. You can apply for benefits online or by visiting the local Social Security office.

About survivors' benefits

When a spouse dies, his survivors are entitled to the deceased spouse's Social Security benefits. Widowers and widows who meet the retirement age requirement will get all of the deceased spouse's benefits. If they are below the required retirement age, they get between 75 and 99 percent of the deceased person's benefits. The children of deceased spouses will get 75% of the benefits until they are age 19.

Social Security disability benefits

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you have to have been employed for at least five years and you have to be younger than the required retirement age. You must have a physical or mental health issue that prevents you from working. Your benefits last until you start work again, or until you die or become eligible for retirement benefits. It is recommended that you get assistance from an attorney who is experienced in this issue, because applicants are denied for various reasons.

How you can boost your Social Security benefits

One good way to boost your benefit amount is to wait longer to retire — the older you are when you retire, the higher the benefit amount. You can also boost benefits by claiming survivor benefits. For example, if you were married for at least ten years but divorced, you can get a spousal retirement benefit.

Reducing your dependence on Social Security benefits

Social Security benefits help you financially, but you don't want to make this your only source of income at retirement. While you are still working, build an emergency savings fund and consider having sources of passive income that will keep giving you revenue after employment ends.

Social Security benefits are designed to help you during retirement and other situations in life. When you are more informed about this issue, you will understand your benefits better.

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