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Social Security

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a federal program that provides monthly retirement benefits.  The benefit amount varies depending on how much income was earned and when a person starts to receive Social Security benefits. The SSA Quick Calculator can provide an estimate of benefits.

When a person works and pays Social Security taxes, they earn “credits” toward Social Security benefits.  Anyone born in 1929 or later will need 40 credits (usually, this is 10 years of work) in order to receive Social Security. 

Create an On-Line Account to check the status of an application, request a replacement card, estimate benefits, set-up direct deposit, receive a Social Security 1099 form, verify benefits or change an address. Find your local Social Security Office.


Spousal Benefits

Once a person files for retirement benefits, their spouse or ex-spouse may be eligible to receive up to half of the spouse’s amount.

  • The spouse or ex-spouse must be aged 62 or older or have a child under 16 or have a child receiving Social Security Disability benefits. 

  • The marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years and the ex-spouse must not have remarried. 

  • If a spouse is eligible for a retirement benefit based on his or her own earnings, and if that benefit is higher than the spousal benefit, then the SSA pays the retirement benefit. Otherwise they pay the spousal benefit amount.

  • Spousal benefits do not decrease the benefit amount for the spouse who worked.


Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is a federal income supplement program funded by tax revenue and not Social Security taxes to assist aged, blind, and people with disabilities who have little or no income or resources.  Individuals may be eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • Aged 65 or blind or disabled

  • Has limited income (the monthly income could be as much as $1770 for an individual)

  • Has limited resources - countable assets of no more than $2000 for an individual and $3000 for a couple.  The primary home and automobile are excluded from asset limits. 

  • Is a US citizen or national (some exceptions apply)

  • Is not confined to a hospital or prison for more than 30 days

  • Is not absent from the US for more than 30 days

  • Use the Benefits Finder to determine eligibility for SSI and other benefits


Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)

To qualify for SSDI,  a person must have paid Social Security taxes and have a medical disability that significantly limits their ability to do basic work-related activities for at least 12 months. 

  • Monthly payments can be made to the person with disability or to certain family members

  • Apply for SSDI online, by phone or in-person.

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