Social Security Benefits

Learn about social security disability benefits and more

Nearly every working person in the U.S. pays into social security, so it's no surprise that many people are interested in what they can get from it should the need arise. Unfortunately, many people do not research the information soon enough and find themselves in a bind when it's time to apply.

Applying for social security benefits doesn't have to be a hassle, if you learn as much as you can in advance. Learning about the different types of benefits you pay for and may need, as well as how the application process works, can help you cut down on problems and can help the process run smoothly when you need it to.

Types of Social Security Benefits

The three main types of social security benefits that most people are concerned with are listed below, but keep in mind that these are just general outlines, and that the criteria for being eligible for these benefits is very detailed:

  • Death benefits. Social security death benefits are paid to the surviving spouse of a person who paid into social security. If there is no spouse, parents and children may qualify, although certain restrictions may apply.
  • Retirement benefits. Social security retirement benefits are paid out on a "credit" scale that is based on your age, the number of years you work and the age at which you retire. The amount you are paid will vary based on your earnings.
  • Disability benefits. Social security disability benefits are given out to people who suffer from serious, long-term medical conditions that prevent them from working. There are very strict guidelines about the amount that is given out and who qualifies, so be sure to read up on the topic or consult an expert.

Applying for Social Security Benefits

To apply for social security benefits, you'll need to first find out if you qualify. You can do this by reading the guidelines on the government social security website. You will also be able to apply through this website for death benefits, retirement benefits and disability benefits.

For each type of benefit, you may be asked for various forms of supplementary documentation as well as your banking information. You may also need to reveal other employee benefits that you are receiving.

It's advised that you start your benefits application for retirement no earlier than four months before the date in which you'd like your benefits to start. You must be at least 61 years and 9 months old to qualify for retirement benefits.

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