FAQ: Social Security

The laws governing Social Security benefits can be complex and confusing. Following are a few of the most common questions asked about Social Security.

1. I was just awarded my benefits. How long will it take before I start to receive payments?

Providing there is nothing unusual or complicated about your circumstances you may start to receive your benefits as soon as 60 days. If you have an emergency financial situation and you have submitted a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, you may be able to get the benefits processed more quickly.

2. Is everyone eligible to collect Social Security?

To qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, you need to earn a minimum of 40 Social Security credits. For example, anyone born in 1929 or later needs to have worked a minimum of 10 years. For individuals born before 1929, fewer years are required. It’s important to note that if you choose Social Security Disability, you can’t also receive Social Security retirement benefits – it’s one or the other.

3. At what age can I begin collecting Social Security benefits?

The normal retirement age is 65-67, depending on when you were born. A NY Social Security attorney can help you determine your retirement age. You do have the option of claiming early benefits at age 62; however, they won’t be the full benefits you’d receive at full retirement age. Social Security benefits aren’t paid automatically and you must apply for them. It’s advisable that you apply a few months before you would like to start receiving your benefits.

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4. How much will I receive in Social Security benefits?

How much you receive in Social Security benefits is dependent on several factors such as; years on the workforce, what you earned, and your retirement age. If you opt to take early retirement, your benefits are reduced by the number of months between the time you claim early benefits and your normal retirement age (NRA). The reduced benefit amount becomes your permanent monthly payment and won’t increase when you hit your NRA.

5. How is my Social Security benefit amount determined?

The calculation process is very complicated but generally, Social Security takes your 35 highest-earning years and averages them, while adjusting for inflation. The amount is then used to calculate your average monthly earnings, and then a formula is applied to determine your benefit amount. It’s important to note that taking early retirement reduces your payment amount.

6. Can I work if I am collecting Social Security benefits?

Yes, you may work – however, if you start collecting benefits before you reach your NRA, the amount will be lower. Your Social Security attorney can help you determine how much you may earn and still retain your full benefits.

The Social Security attorneys at NY Law have extensive experience, understanding of applicable law, and the processes governing Social Security claims. To determine Social Security benefits to which you are entitled, contact us today.