Social Security Disability Claim Help

 

What Part Of The Social Security Benefits Application Process Are You In?

Do you wonder if you could file a Social Security Disability Claim? Have you started the process of applying for Social Security benefits and now realize you need help?

  • Need help applying for Social Security Disability?
  • Have you applied for Social Security Disability and nothing has happened?
  • Denied Social Security Disability Benefits, and want help to appeal?

No matter what stage of the Social Security Disability claim process you are in, our network of attorneys and non-attorney advocates can help you no matter where you live. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form below and get help with your Social Security Disability Claim today!.

Our Advocates:

  • Can increase your chances of winning you claim and receiving benefits
  • Are skilled and experienced with Social Security Disability Cases
  • Have highly trained staff members
  • Will help you navigate the complicated and time consuming process
  • Provide FREE information - No fees unless you receive benefits
  • Answer your questions

This site contains a wealth of information on Social Security Disability or SSDI, why an expert on your side can increase your chances of receiving benefits, and how to find a Social Security Lawyer or non-attorney advocate.

If you are disabled the first step is to Apply for Social Security Disability benefits with the Social Security Administration, that can only be done in person through your local Social Security Administration office, by calling 1-800-772-1213 for help by phone, or on-line at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability.


Social Security Disability Glossary of Terms

Term

Explanation

AIME (Average Indexed Monthly Earnings)

The dollar amount used to calculate your Social Security benefit if you attained age 62 or became disabled (or died) after 1978. To arrive at your AIME, we adjust your actual past earnings using an "average wage index," so you won’t lose the value of your past earnings (when money was worth more) in relation to your more recent earnings. If you attained age 62 or became disabled (or died) before 1978, we use Average Monthly Earnings (AME).

AME (Average Monthly Earnings)

The dollar amount used in calculating your monthly Social Security benefit if you attained age 62 or became disabled (or died) before 1978. The AME is determined by dividing the total earnings in the "computation years" by the number of months in those same years. See Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB).

Annual Cost of Living Increase

Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments may be automatically increased each year to keep pace with increases in the cost-of-living (inflation).

Appeal (Appeal Rights)

Whenever Social Security makes a decision that affects your eligibility for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits, we send you a letter explaining our decision. If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to appeal it (ask us to review your case). If our decision was wrong, we'll change it.

Application for Benefits

To receive Social Security or Black Lung benefits, Supplemental Security Income payments, or Medicare, you must complete and sign an application.

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Baptismal Certificate

A religious record of an your birth or baptism.In some situations we can use a baptismal certificate to establish your age. SeeBirth Certificate

Base Years

A worker's (wage earner) base years for computing Social Security benefits are the years after 1950 up to the year of entitlement to retirement or disability insurance benefits. For a survivor's claim, the base years include the year of the worker's death. SeeRetirement Insurance Benefits (RIB).

Benefit Verification Letter (BEVE)

An official letter from Social Security that provides information on how much an individual receives in monthly Social Security benefits and/or Supplemental Security Income payments.These letters are normally issued following a request from a beneficiary or his/her authorized representative.

Benefits

Social Security provides five major categories of benefits:

  • Retirement,
  • Disability,
  • Family (dependents),
  • Survivors and
  • Medicare.

The retirement, family (dependents), survivor, and disability programs provide monthly cash benefits and Medicare provides medical coverage.

Benefits - Reduced

You can get the following reduced monthly benefits before reaching full retirement age:

  • Retirement insurance benefits at age 62 through the month before your reach Full Retirement Age (FRA);
  • Husband's or wife's insurance benefits at age 62 through the month before you reach FRA, provided no child of your spouse either under age 18 or disabled and entitled to benefits is in your care;
  • Widow's or widower's insurance benefits beginning at any time from age 50 through the month before you reach FRA;
  • Widow's or widower's insurance benefits after your spouse has received a retirement insurance benefit reduced for age;
  • Disability insurance benefits received after a reduced retirement insurance benefit; or
  • Retirement or disability insurance benefit received after a reduced widow's or widower's insurance benefit.

This applies only if you were born before 1928.

Birth Certificate (Original)

The record maintained by a governmental entity such as a state, county, parish, city, or borough which documents your birth.For additional information on obtaining a birth certificate.

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Child

We use the term "Child" to include your biological child or any other child who can inherit your personal property under State law or who meets certain specific requirements under the Social Security Act; such as:

  • A legally adopted child,
  • An equitably adopted child,
  • A stepchild, or
  • A grandchild.

See Benefits for additional information.

COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment)

Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments are increased each year to keep pace with increases in the cost-of-living (inflation).

Computation Years

Computation years are the years with highest earnings selected from the "base years."We add total earnings in the computation years and divide by the number of months in those years to get the AME or the AIME.

CPI-W (Consumer Price Index)

An index prepared by the U. S. Department of Labor that charts the rise in costs for selected goods and services. This index is used to compute COLA increases.

Credits (Social Security Credits)

Previously called "Quarters of Coverage." As you work and pay taxes, you earn credits that count toward your eligibility for future Social Security benefits. You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. Most people need 40 credits to qualify for benefits. Younger people need fewer credits to qualify for disability or survivors' benefits.

[Return to Top]

Decision Notice (Award Letter or Denial Letter)

When you file for Social Security, we decide if you will receive benefits. We send you an official letter explaining our decision and, if benefits are payable, we tell you the amount you will get each month.

Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC)

Social Security benefits are increased (by a certain percentage depending on a person's date of birth) if retirement is delayed beyond full retirement age (FRA).Increases based on delaying retirement no longer apply when people reach age 70, even if they continue to delay taking benefits.

Dependent Benefits

See Family Benefits.

Direct Deposit

The standard way to receive Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments. Your money is sent electronically to an account in a financial institution (a bank, trust company, savings and loan association, brokerage agency or credit union).

Disability Benefits

You can get disability benefits if you:

  • Are under full retirement age
  • Have enough Social Security credits and
  • Have a severe medical impairment (physical or mental) that's expected to prevent you from doing "substantial" work for a year or more, or have a condition that is expected to result in death.

Documents (Proofs)

Forms and papers such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, W2 forms, tax returns, deeds, etc., submitted by individuals applying for benefits and services.We can accept only originals or copies certified by the agency that has the original document. See Evidence.

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Early Retirement

You can start getting Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but your benefit amount will be less than you would have gotten at full retirement age. If you take retirement benefits early, your benefit will be permanently reduced, based on the number of months you received checks before you reached full retirement age. See Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB).

Early Retirement Age

Age 62.

Earnings Record (lifetime record of earnings)

A chronological history of the amount you earn each year during your working lifetime.The credits you earned remain on your Social Security record even when you change jobs or have no earnings.

Evidence (Proofs)

"Proofs." The documents you must submit to support a factor of entitlement or payment amount. The people in your Social Security office can explain what evidence is required to establish entitlement and help you to get it.

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Family Benefits (Dependent Benefits)

When you're eligible for retirement or disability benefits, the following people may receive benefits on your record:

  • Spouse if he or she is at least 62 years old (or any age but caring for an entitled child under age 16)
  • Children if they are unmarried and under age 18, under age 19 and a full-time elementary or secondary student
  • Children age 18 or older but disabled
  • Divorced ex-spouse.

Family Maximum

The maximum amount of benefits payable to an entire family on any one worker's record.

FICA Tax

FICA stands for "Federal Insurance Contributions Act." It's the tax withheld from your salary or self-employment income that funds the Social Security and Medicare programs.

Food Stamps (Food Stamp Program)

The U. S. Department of Agriculture program that helps needy families buy food.

FRA (Full Retirement Age)

The age at which a person may first become entitled to unreduced retirement benefits.Beginning with year 2000 for workers and spouses born 1938 or later and widows/widowers born 1940 or later, the retirement age increases gradually from age 65 until it reaches age 67 in the year 2022. This increase affects the amount of the reduction for persons who begin receiving reduced benefits.

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Term

Explanation

Health Insurance (Medicare)

The federal health insurance program for:

  • People 65 years of age or older
  • Certain younger people with disabilities and
  • People with permanent kidney failure with dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease).

Insured Status

If you earned enough Social Security credits to meet the eligibility requirement for retirement or disability benefits or enable your dependents to establish eligibility for benefits due to your retirement, disability, or death, you have insured status.

Lawful Alien Status

People admitted to the U.S. who are granted permanent authorization to work by the Immigration and Nationalization Service (INS) or admitted to the U.S. on a temporary basis with INS authorization to work.

Lifetime Earnings

See Earnings Record.

Lump Sum Death Payment

A one-time payment of $255 paid in addition to any monthly survivors insurance benefits that are due.This benefit is paid only to your widow/widower or minor children.

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>Maximum Earnings

The maximum earnings we can count for any calendar year when computing your Social Security benefit.

Medicaid

A joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for people with low incomes and limited resources. Medicaid programs vary from state to state, but most health care costs are covered if you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.

MOE (Month of Election)

This usually applies to retirement claims. In certain situations, you can choose the month in which your benefits will start. There are many different factors that can affect when you want to begin receiving your payments. Your local office can help you decide.

NRA (Normal Retirement Age)

See FRA (Full Retirement Age).

Number Holder

See Wage Earner.

OASDI (Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance)

The Social Security programs that provide monthly cash benefits to you and your dependents when you retire, to your surviving dependents, and to disabled worker beneficiaries and their dependents.

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Payment Dates for Social Security Benefits

If you filed for Social Security benefits before May 1, 1997, your payments usually are dated and delivered on the 3rd of the month following the month for which the payment is due. For example, payments for January are delivered on February 3rd. If the 3rd of the month is a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday, your payments are dated and delivered on the first day before the 3rd of the month which is not a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday. For example, if the 3rd is a Saturday or Sunday, payments are delivered on the preceding Friday. If you filed for Social Security benefits May 1, 1997, or later, you are assigned one of three new payment days based on the date of birth of the insured person:

If you were born on the.

Your payment will be delivered on the.

1st through 10th of the month

Second Wednesday of the month

11th through 20th of the month

Third Wednesday of the month

21st through end of the month

Fourth Wednesday of the month

If your scheduled Wednesday payment day is a Federal holiday, we'll send your payment on the preceding day that is not a Federal legal holiday.

Payment Dates for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Payments

SSI payments are usually dated and delivered on the first day of the month for which they are due. However, if the first falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday, they are dated and delivered on the first day preceding the first of the month which is not a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday.

PIA (Primary Insurance Amount)

The monthly amount payable if you are a retired worker who begins receiving benefits at full retirement age or if you're disabled and have never received a retirement benefit reduced for age.

Proofs

See Evidence

Protective Filing Date

The date you first contact us about filing for benefits. It may be used to establish an earlier application date than when we receive your signed application.

QC (Quarter of Coverage)

Social Security "credits." As you work and pay taxes, you earn credits that count toward eligibility for future Social Security benefits. You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. Most people need 40 credits to qualify for benefits. Younger people need fewer credits to qualify for disability or for their spouse or children to qualify for survivors' benefits. During their working lifetime most workers earn more credits than needed to be eligible for Social Security. These extra credits do not increase eventual Social Security benefits. However, the income earned may increase the benefit amount. See Credits, Social Security.

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Record of Earnings

See Earnings Record.

Reduction Months

Months beginning with the first month you're entitled to reduced benefits up to, but not including, the month in which you reach full retirement age.

Representative Payee

If you receive Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income and become unable to handle your own financial affairs, after a careful investigation, we appoint a relative, a friend, or an interested party to handle your Social Security matters. Representative payees are required to maintain complete accounting records and periodically provide reports to Social Security.

Retirement Age - Early

Age 62(See Retirement Age - Minimum)

Retirement Age - Full Benefits

Full retirement age was 65 for many years.However, beginning with the year 2000 (for workers and spouses born 1938 or later, or widow and widowers born 1940 or later), the retirement age increases gradually from age 65 until it reaches age 67 in the year 2022.

Retirement Age - Minimum

The minimum age for retirement-age 62 for workers, and age 60 for widows or widowers. You can choose a reduced benefit anytime before you reach full retirement age.

Retirement Earnings Test

If you get Social Security benefits, are under full retirement age, and work, your earnings from wages and/or self-employment that exceed a certain maximum will cause a deduction in your monthly benefits.

Retroactive Benefits (Back Pay)

"Back Pay." Monthly benefits that you may be entitled to before the month you actually file an application, if you meet the entitlement requirements.

RIB (Retirement Insurance Benefit)

Money that's payable to you at full retirement age (you can get reduced benefits as early as age 62) if you have enough Social Security credits.

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SEI (Self-employment/Self-employment Income)

You are self-employed if you operate a trade, business or profession, either individually or as a partner, and have net earnings of $400 or more in a taxable year.

Social Security

Social Security is based on a simple concept: While you work, you pay taxes into the Social Security system, and when you retire or become disabled; you, your spouse and your dependent children receive monthly benefits that are based on your reported earnings. Also, your survivors can collect benefits if you die.

Social Security Number (Social Security Card)

Your first and continuous link with Social Security is your nine-digit Social Security Number (SSN). Your SSN helps us to maintain an accurate record of your wages or self-employment earnings that are covered under the Social Security Act, and to monitor your record once you start getting Social Security benefits.

Social Security Office

Your local Social Security office is the place where you can:

  • Apply for a Social Security number
  • Check on your earnings record
  • Apply for Social Security benefits, black lung benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and hospital insurance (Medicare) protection
  • Enroll for medical insurance
  • Get help applying for food stamps and
  • Learn everything you need to know about your rights and obligations under the Social Security law.

Spouse

You are the spouse of the worker if, when he or she applied for benefits:

  • You and the worker were validly married or
  • You would have the status of a husband or a wife for that person’s personal property if they had no will or
  • You went through a marriage ceremony in good faith, which would have been valid except for a legal impediment.

SS-5

The application form you need to get a Social Security number, a replacement card, or a duplicate card.

SSN

Social Security number. See Social Security Number (Social Security Card).

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

A Federal supplemental income program funded by general tax revenues (notSocial Security taxes).It helps aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income by providing monthly cash payments to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

Survivor (Survivor Benefits)

Benefits based on your record (if you should die) are paid to:

  • Your widow/widower age 60 or older, 50 or older if disabled, or any age if caring for a child under age 16 or who became disabled before age 22
  • Your children, if they are unmarried and under age 18, under 19 but still in school, or 18 or older but disabled before age 22
  • Your parents if you provided at least one-half of their support.

A special one-time lump sum payment of $255 may be made to your spouse or minor children. An ex-spouse could also be eligible for a widow/widower's benefit on your record.

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Wage Earner

A person who earns Social Security credits while working for wages or self-employment income. Sometimes referred to as the "Number Holder" or "Worker."

Wages

All payment for services performed for an employer. Wages do not have to be cash. The cash value of all compensation paid to an employee in any form other than cash is also considered wages (unless the form of payment is specifically not covered under the Social Security Act).

Widow

You are the widow/widower of the insured person if, at the time the insured person died:

  • You and the insured person were validly married or
  • You would have the status of a husband or a wife for that person’s personal property if they had no will or
  • You went through a marriage ceremony in good faith that would have been valid except for a legal impediment.

The minimum age for

  • Disabled widows benefits is age 50.
  • Retirement for widows is age 60.

Widower

See Widow.

Work Credits

See Credits or Quarters of Coverage.

Worker

See Wage Earner.

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What Part Of The Social Security Benefits Application Process Are You In?

Do you wonder if you could file a Social Security Disability Claim? Have you started the process of applying for Social Security benefits and now realize you need help?

  • Need help applying for Social Security Disability?
  • Have you applied for Social Security Disability and nothing has happened?
  • Denied Social Security Disability Benefits, and want help to appeal?

No matter what stage of the Social Security Disability claim process you are in, our network of attorneys and non-attorney advocates can help you no matter where you live. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form below and get help with your Social Security Disability Claim today!.

Our Advocates:

  • Can increase your chances of winning you claim and receiving benefits
  • Are skilled and experienced with Social Security Disability Cases
  • Have highly trained staff members
  • Will help you navigate the complicated and time consuming process
  • Provide FREE information - No fees unless you receive benefits
  • Answer your questions

This site contains a wealth of information on Social Security Disability or SSDI, why an expert on your side can increase your chances of receiving benefits, and how to find a Social Security Lawyer or non-attorney advocate.

If you are disabled the first step is to Apply for Social Security Disability benefits with the Social Security Administration, that can only be done in person through your local Social Security Administration office, by calling 1-800-772-1213 for help by phone, or on-line at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability.


Social Security Disability Glossary of Terms

Term

Explanation

AIME (Average Indexed Monthly Earnings)

The dollar amount used to calculate your Social Security benefit if you attained age 62 or became disabled (or died) after 1978. To arrive at your AIME, we adjust your actual past earnings using an "average wage index," so you won’t lose the value of your past earnings (when money was worth more) in relation to your more recent earnings. If you attained age 62 or became disabled (or died) before 1978, we use Average Monthly Earnings (AME).

AME (Average Monthly Earnings)

The dollar amount used in calculating your monthly Social Security benefit if you attained age 62 or became disabled (or died) before 1978. The AME is determined by dividing the total earnings in the "computation years" by the number of months in those same years. See Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB).

Annual Cost of Living Increase

Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments may be automatically increased each year to keep pace with increases in the cost-of-living (inflation).

Appeal (Appeal Rights)

Whenever Social Security makes a decision that affects your eligibility for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits, we send you a letter explaining our decision. If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to appeal it (ask us to review your case). If our decision was wrong, we'll change it.

Application for Benefits

To receive Social Security or Black Lung benefits, Supplemental Security Income payments, or Medicare, you must complete and sign an application.

[Return to Top]

Baptismal Certificate

A religious record of an your birth or baptism.  In some situations we can use a baptismal certificate to establish your age. See  Birth Certificate

Base Years

A worker's (wage earner) base years for computing Social Security benefits are the years after 1950 up to the year of entitlement to retirement or disability insurance benefits. For a survivor's claim, the base years include the year of the worker's death. See  Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB).

Benefit Verification Letter (BEVE)

An official letter from Social Security that provides information on how much an individual receives in monthly Social Security benefits and/or Supplemental Security Income payments.  These letters are normally issued following a request from a beneficiary or his/her authorized representative.

Benefits

Social Security provides five major categories of benefits: 

  • Retirement,
  • Disability,
  • Family (dependents),
  • Survivors and
  • Medicare. 

The retirement, family (dependents), survivor, and disability programs provide monthly cash benefits and Medicare provides medical coverage.

Benefits - Reduced

You can get the following reduced monthly benefits before reaching full retirement age:

  • Retirement insurance benefits at age 62 through the month before your reach Full Retirement Age (FRA);
  • Husband's or wife's insurance benefits at age 62 through the month before you reach FRA, provided no child of your spouse either under age 18 or disabled and entitled to benefits is in your care;
  • Widow's or widower's insurance benefits beginning at any time from age 50 through the month before you reach FRA;
  • Widow's or widower's insurance benefits after your spouse has received a retirement insurance benefit reduced for age;
  • Disability insurance benefits received after a reduced retirement insurance benefit; or
  • Retirement or disability insurance benefit received after a reduced widow's or widower's insurance benefit.

This applies only if you were born before 1928.

Birth Certificate (Original)

The record maintained by a governmental entity such as a state, county, parish, city, or borough which documents your birth.  For additional information on obtaining a birth certificate.

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Child

We use the term "Child" to include your biological child or any other child who can inherit your personal property under State law or who meets certain specific requirements under the Social Security Act; such as:

  • A legally adopted child,
  • An equitably adopted child,
  • A stepchild, or
  • A grandchild.

See Benefits for additional information.

COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment)

Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments are increased each year to keep pace with increases in the cost-of-living (inflation).

Computation Years

Computation years are the years with highest earnings selected from the "base years."  We add total earnings in the computation years and divide by the number of months in those years to get the AME or the AIME

CPI-W (Consumer Price Index)

An index prepared by the U. S. Department of Labor that charts the rise in costs for selected goods and services. This index is used to compute COLA increases.

Credits (Social Security Credits)

Previously called "Quarters of Coverage." As you work and pay taxes, you earn credits that count toward your eligibility for future Social Security benefits. You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. Most people need 40 credits to qualify for benefits. Younger people need fewer credits to qualify for disability or survivors' benefits.

[Return to Top]

Decision Notice (Award Letter or Denial Letter)

When you file for Social Security, we decide if you will receive benefits. We send you an official letter explaining our decision and, if benefits are payable, we tell you the amount you will get each month.

Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC)

Social Security benefits are increased (by a certain percentage depending on a person's date of birth) if retirement is delayed beyond full retirement age (FRA).  Increases based on delaying retirement no longer apply when people reach age 70, even if they continue to delay taking benefits. 

Dependent Benefits

See Family Benefits.

Direct Deposit

The standard way to receive Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments. Your money is sent electronically to an account in a financial institution (a bank, trust company, savings and loan association, brokerage agency or credit union).

Disability Benefits

You can get disability benefits if you:

  • Are under full retirement age
  • Have enough Social Security credits and
  • Have a severe medical impairment (physical or mental) that's expected to prevent you from doing "substantial" work for a year or more, or have a condition that is expected to result in death.

Documents (Proofs)

Forms and papers such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, W2 forms, tax returns, deeds, etc., submitted by individuals applying for benefits and services.  We can accept only originals or copies certified by the agency that has the original document. See Evidence.

[Return to Top]

Early Retirement

You can start getting Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but your benefit amount will be less than you would have gotten at full retirement age. If you take retirement benefits early, your benefit will be permanently reduced, based on the number of months you received checks before you reached full retirement age. See Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB).

Early Retirement Age

Age 62.

Earnings Record (lifetime record of earnings)

A chronological history of the amount you earn each year during your working lifetime.  The credits you earned remain on your Social Security record even when you change jobs or have no earnings.

Evidence (Proofs)

"Proofs." The documents you must submit to support a factor of entitlement or payment amount. The people in your Social Security office can explain what evidence is required to establish entitlement and help you to get it.

[Return to Top]

Family Benefits (Dependent Benefits)

When you're eligible for retirement or disability benefits, the following people may receive benefits on your record:

  • Spouse if he or she is at least 62 years old (or any age but caring for an entitled child under age 16)
  • Children if they are unmarried and under age 18, under age 19 and a full-time elementary or secondary student
  • Children age 18 or older but disabled
  • Divorced ex-spouse.

Family Maximum

The maximum amount of benefits payable to an entire family on any one worker's record.

FICA Tax

FICA stands for "Federal Insurance Contributions Act." It's the tax withheld from your salary or self-employment income that funds the Social Security and Medicare programs.

Food Stamps (Food Stamp Program)

The U. S. Department of Agriculture program that helps needy families buy food.

FRA (Full Retirement Age)

The age at which a person may first become entitled to unreduced retirement benefits.  Beginning with year 2000 for workers and spouses born 1938 or later and widows/widowers born 1940 or later, the retirement age increases gradually from age 65 until it reaches age 67 in the year 2022. This increase affects the amount of the reduction for persons who begin receiving reduced benefits.

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Term

Explanation

Health Insurance (Medicare)

The federal health insurance program for:

  • People 65 years of age or older
  • Certain younger people with disabilities and
  • People with permanent kidney failure with dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease).

Insured Status

If you earned enough Social Security credits to meet the eligibility requirement for retirement or disability benefits or enable your dependents to establish eligibility for benefits due to your retirement, disability, or death, you have insured status.

Lawful Alien Status

People admitted to the U.S. who are granted permanent authorization to work by the Immigration and Nationalization Service (INS) or admitted to the U.S. on a temporary basis with INS authorization to work.

Lifetime Earnings

See Earnings Record.

Lump Sum Death Payment

A one-time payment of $255 paid in addition to any monthly survivors insurance benefits that are due.  This benefit is paid only to your widow/widower or minor children.

[Return to Top]

Maximum Earnings

The maximum earnings we can count for any calendar year when computing your Social Security benefit.

Medicaid

A joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for people with low incomes and limited resources. Medicaid programs vary from state to state, but most health care costs are covered if you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.

MOE (Month of Election)

This usually applies to retirement claims. In certain situations, you can choose the month in which your benefits will start. There are many different factors that can affect when you want to begin receiving your payments. Your local office can help you decide.

NRA (Normal Retirement Age)

See FRA (Full Retirement Age).

Number Holder (NH)

See Wage Earner.

OASDI (Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance)

The Social Security programs that provide monthly cash benefits to you and your dependents when you retire, to your surviving dependents, and to disabled worker beneficiaries and their dependents.

[Return to Top]

Payment Dates for Social Security Benefits

If you filed for Social Security benefits before May 1, 1997, your payments usually are dated and delivered on the 3rd of the month following the month for which the payment is due. For example, payments for January are delivered on February 3rd. If the 3rd of the month is a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday, your payments are dated and delivered on the first day before the 3rd of the month which is not a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday. For example, if the 3rd is a Saturday or Sunday, payments are delivered on the preceding Friday. If you filed for Social Security benefits May 1, 1997, or later, you are assigned one of three new payment days based on the date of birth of the insured person:

If you were born on the.

Your payment will be delivered on the.

1st through 10th of the month

Second Wednesday of the month

11th through 20th of the month

Third Wednesday of the month

21st through end of the month

Fourth Wednesday of the month

If your scheduled Wednesday payment day is a Federal holiday, we'll send your payment on the preceding day that is not a Federal legal holiday.

Payment Dates for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Payments

SSI payments are usually dated and delivered on the first day of the month for which they are due. However, if the first falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday, they are dated and delivered on the first day preceding the first of the month which is not a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday.

PIA (Primary Insurance Amount)

The monthly amount payable if you are a retired worker who begins receiving benefits at full retirement age or if you're disabled and have never received a retirement benefit reduced for age.

Proofs

See Evidence

Protective Filing Date

The date you first contact us about filing for benefits. It may be used to establish an earlier application date than when we receive your signed application.

QC (Quarter of Coverage)

Social Security "credits." As you work and pay taxes, you earn credits that count toward eligibility for future Social Security benefits. You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. Most people need 40 credits to qualify for benefits. Younger people need fewer credits to qualify for disability or for their spouse or children to qualify for survivors' benefits. During their working lifetime most workers earn more credits than needed to be eligible for Social Security. These extra credits do not increase eventual Social Security benefits. However, the income earned may increase the benefit amount. See Credits, Social Security.

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Record of Earnings

See Earnings Record.

Reduction Months

Months beginning with the first month you're entitled to reduced benefits up to, but not including, the month in which you reach full retirement age.

Representative Payee

If you receive Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income and become unable to handle your own financial affairs, after a careful investigation, we appoint a relative, a friend, or an interested party to handle your Social Security matters. Representative payees are required to maintain complete accounting records and periodically provide reports to Social Security.

Retirement Age - Early

Age 62  (See Retirement Age - Minimum)

Retirement Age - Full Benefits

Full retirement age was 65 for many years.  However, beginning with the year 2000 (for workers and spouses born 1938 or later, or widow and widowers born 1940 or later), the retirement age increases gradually from age 65 until it reaches age 67 in the year 2022.

Retirement Age - Minimum

The minimum age for retirement-age 62 for workers, and age 60 for widows or widowers. You can choose a reduced benefit anytime before you reach full retirement age.

Retirement Earnings Test

If you get Social Security benefits, are under full retirement age, and work, your earnings from wages and/or self-employment that exceed a certain maximum will cause a deduction in your monthly benefits.

Retroactive Benefits (Back Pay)

"Back Pay." Monthly benefits that you may be entitled to before the month you actually file an application, if you meet the entitlement requirements.

RIB (Retirement Insurance Benefit)

Money that's payable to you at full retirement age (you can get reduced benefits as early as age 62) if you have enough Social Security credits.

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SEI (Self-employment/Self-employment Income)

You are self-employed if you operate a trade, business or profession, either individually or as a partner, and have net earnings of $400 or more in a taxable year.

Social Security

Social Security is based on a simple concept: While you work, you pay taxes into the Social Security system, and when you retire or become disabled; you, your spouse and your dependent children receive monthly benefits that are based on your reported earnings. Also, your survivors can collect benefits if you die.

Social Security Number (Social Security Card)

Your first and continuous link with Social Security is your nine-digit Social Security Number (SSN). Your SSN helps us to maintain an accurate record of your wages or self-employment earnings that are covered under the Social Security Act, and to monitor your record once you start getting Social Security benefits.

Social Security Office

Your local Social Security office is the place where you can:

  • Apply for a Social Security number
  • Check on your earnings record
  • Apply for Social Security benefits, black lung benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and hospital insurance (Medicare) protection
  • Enroll for medical insurance
  • Get help applying for food stamps and
  • Learn everything you need to know about your rights and obligations under the Social Security law.

Spouse

You are the spouse of the worker if, when he or she applied for benefits:

  • You and the worker were validly married or
  • You would have the status of a husband or a wife for that person’s personal property if they had no will or
  • You went through a marriage ceremony in good faith, which would have been valid except for a legal impediment.

SS-5

The application form you need to get a Social Security number, a replacement card, or a duplicate card. 

SSN

Social Security number. See Social Security Number (Social Security Card).

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

A Federal supplemental income program funded by general tax revenues (notSocial Security taxes).  It helps aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income by providing monthly cash payments to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. 

Survivor (Survivor Benefits)

Benefits based on your record (if you should die) are paid to:

  • Your widow/widower age 60 or older, 50 or older if disabled, or any age if caring for a child under age 16 or who became disabled before age 22
  • Your children, if they are unmarried and under age 18, under 19 but still in school, or 18 or older but disabled before age 22
  • Your parents if you provided at least one-half of their support.

A special one-time lump sum payment of $255 may be made to your spouse or minor children. An ex-spouse could also be eligible for a widow/widower's benefit on your record. 

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Wage Earner

A person who earns Social Security credits while working for wages or self-employment income. Sometimes referred to as the "Number Holder" or "Worker."

Wages

All payment for services performed for an employer. Wages do not have to be cash. The cash value of all compensation paid to an employee in any form other than cash is also considered wages (unless the form of payment is specifically not covered under the Social Security Act).

Widow

You are the widow/widower of the insured person if, at the time the insured person died:

  • You and the insured person were validly married or
  • You would have the status of a husband or a wife for that person’s personal property if they had no will or
  • You went through a marriage ceremony in good faith that would have been valid except for a legal impediment.

The minimum age for

  • Disabled widows benefits is age 50.
  • Retirement for widows is age 60.

Widower

See Widow.

Work Credits

See Credits or Quarters of Coverage.

Worker

See Wage Earner.

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