2007-02-09 / Columnists

Social Security And You

Some Frequently Asked Questions…And Answers
By James Glasser, Manager, Far Rockaway Social Security Center

James GlasserJames Glasser Question: How much of my annual earnings are subject to the Social Security payroll tax?

Answer: In 2007, the maximum earnings taxable is $97,500. That means workers must pay Social Security tax on the first $97,500 of earnings for the year; any wages above that amount are not subject to Social Security taxes.

However, there is not a limit for Medicare tax. A taxpayer's total annual wages are subject to Medicare tax. For more information about Social Security, visit our website at www. socialsecurity.gov, or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Question: When will I receive my annual Social Security Benefit Statement for the 2006 tax year?

Answer: You should have received your Social Security Benefit Statement (form SSA-1099) already. All SSA-1099 forms for tax year 2006 were mailed by January 31, 2007. If you did not receive yours, you may request a replacement. You can do that online by visiting our website - www. socialsecurity.gov - and clicking on the link to the "What you can do Online" section, and request a new SSA-1099. You may also request a replacement SSA-1099 by calling us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Question: I retired early and my only income has been withdrawals from my Individual Retirement Account (IRA). I plan to apply for Social Security this year. Will my IRA income reduce my Social Security benefits?

Answer: No. In calculating your retirement benefits, we count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you're self-employed. Non-work income such as pensions, annuities, investment income, interest and capital gains are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. To learn more about Social Security benefits, visit Social Security's website at www. socialsecurity. gov, or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Question: I've worked for more than 10 years now and each year I earned the maximum number of credits: four. Does this mean I'll get the maximum benefit when I retire?

Answer: No, not necessarily. The 40 credits are the minimum number you need to qualify for a retirement benefit. The amount of the benefit, however, is not based on those credits; it is based on your lifetime of earnings. We determine your average earnings over your working years, in most cases the 35 years you earned the most, and use a formula to determine your benefit amount. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) to learn more. Or visit our website to learn more about Social Security benefits at www.socialsecurity. gov.

Question: My husband recently had his leg amputated as a result of his diabetes. He applied for disability benefits based on his diabetes a few years ago and was denied because he could still work. Now that his condition has worsened, can he get disability benefits?

Answer: He should certainly apply for Social Security disability benefits if his condition prevents him from working. We will need to make a new disability determination. Your husband is eligible for disability benefits if he has a severe medical condition that is expected to prevent him from working for at least 12 months, or to end in death. To learn more, visit Social Security's website at www.socialsecurity.gov, or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Question: I have been getting Social Security benefits for several years. I'm still not able to work and am wondering if there is a time limit on disability benefits?

Answer: No, there is no time limit on receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. Your benefits will continue as long as you have a disabling condition that has not improved and that makes you unable to work. From time to time, your case will be reviewed to make sure you still have a disability severe enough to qualify for benefits.

To learn more, visit Social Security's website at www.socialsecurity.gov, or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Question: I get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Do I need to report the financial help I receive from my children?

Answer: Yes. Any money or in-kind support you receive (such as free lodgings and food) must be reported to Social Security. It may or may not affect your SSI, depending on the circumstances.

For more information about SSI and Social Security, visit Social Security's website at www. socialsecurity.gov, or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Question: I got a letter in the mail that said my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) case is being reviewed. What does that mean?

Answer: Periodically, Social Security must review your SSI case to make sure you are still eligible and you are receiving the correct amount.

For more information about SSI, visit Social Security's website at www. socialsecurity.gov, or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Question: I never got around to applying for the Medicare prescription drug plan or the extra help in paying for it. Will I have to pay a penalty to sign up late?

Answer: Not necessarily. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that there will be no late enrollment penalties in 2007 for people who qualify for the extra help. This means that if have limited income and qualify for the extra help but didn't sign up during your initial enrollment period, you can do so now and still not have to pay a penalty.

If you do not qualify for the extra help, you must wait for the next enrollment period for the Medicare prescription drug program, and you may have to pay a penalty.

For more information about Medicare's prescription drug program and special enrollment periods, visit www.medicare.gov. To learn more about the extra help and to apply, visit Social Security's website at www.social security.gov.

Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History

 

 

Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio