Certain information required when applying for benefits

Question: What type of information will I need to provide if I’d like to apply online for Social Security retirement benefits?

Answer: Whether you apply for retirement benefits online, by phone or in an office, we suggest that you have the following information at hand when you do it:

n Your birth date, place of birth and Social Security number;

n Your bank account number and your bank’s routing number, for direct deposit;

n The amount of money you earned last year and this year.

If you are applying for benefits in the months of September through December, you may also need to provide an estimate of what you expect to earn next year if you plan to continue working;

n The name and address of your employer(s) for this year and last year;

n The beginning and ending dates of any active military service you had prior to 1968; and

n The name, Social Security number and date of birth of your current and any former spouses.

Depending on your situation, you may need to provide additional documentation with your application. We’ll give you instructions on how to mail or bring it to us.

To get started, visit our Retirement Planner at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2.

Question: I am 65 and my wife is 62 and receiving spouse’s benefits. When will she qualify for Medicare benefits?

Answer: Most people must wait until age 65 to qualify for Medicare benefits. Some people can get Medicare at any age, including those who:

n Have been getting Social Security disability benefits for 24 months or more;

n Have kidney failure and require dialysis;

n Have had a kidney transplant; or

n Receive disability benefits because they suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

You can apply online for Medicare at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly.

Question: What are the requirements for receiving disabled widow’s benefits?

Answer: You may be able to get disabled widow(er)’s benefits at age 50 if you meet Social Security’s disability requirement.

Your disability must have started before age 60 and within seven years of the latest of the following dates:

n the month the worker died;

n the last month you were entitled to survivors benefits on the worker’s record as a parent caring for a surviving minor child;

n the month your previous entitlement to disabled widow(er)’s benefits ended because your disability ended.

To learn more, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/dibplan/dqualify9.htm.

Question: I understand that to get Social Security disability benefits, my disability must last at least a year or be expected to result in death.

But I’m disabled now. Does this mean that I must wait a year after becoming disabled before I can receive benefits?

Answer: No. You do not have to wait a year after becoming disabled.

If you’re disabled and expect to be out of work for at least a year, you should apply for disability benefits right away.

It can take months to process an application for disability benefits. If we approve your application, your first Social Security disability benefit will be paid for the sixth full month after the date your disability began.

For more information about Social Security disability benefits, refer to Disability Benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Question: If I get approved, how much will I receive in Supplemental Security Income benefits?

Answer: The amount of your SSI benefit depends, in part, on the amount of other income you have.

For 2014, the basic, maximum federal SSI payment is $721 per month for an individual and $1,082 per month for a couple. However, some states add money to the basic payment.

Other monthly income you have would begin to reduce the basic SSI payment.

Other things, such as where you live and who you live with, can affect your payment amount.

Learn more about SSI by reading SSI publications at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Enter “SSI” in the search box.