How Do Social Security Benefits Work?

 In Social Security Disability

Many may not realize it, but Social Security is an umbrella term for several federal benefits programs. The Federal Old-Age Benefits section of the 1935 Social Security law exists to provide a nationwide retirement plan. This plan is for workers once they qualify for benefits. A frequently asked question is if the government can reduce or end payments once they begin. So how do Social Security benefits work?

Payments and Benefits

Those about to receive, or currently accepting payments don’t need to worry about the government ending those payments.  By law, these retiree payments are for life. Such payouts also come from the 1935 law’s Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, or OASI. The recipients receive the full amount of the payout for which they’ve qualified. Surviving spouses of retired workers can also receive up to half of their deceased spouse’s Social Security payment. This occurs without reducing the level of their retirement payments. Rules for just how much a surviving spouse would receive from Social Security vary. However, a good Social Security benefits lawyer can explain them in detail.

Retirement Rules Matter

Workers who have contributed sufficiently to Social Security become insured or qualified. Retirement rules layout precise periods or numbers of quarters in a work year needed to qualify for Social Security old-age payments. The Social Security Administration typically notifies workers of their qualification for eventual retiree payments not long after they’ve reached the threshold to qualify for them.

Drawing Social Security

The minimum qualification age for Social Security’s old-age retirement benefits is 62 years. Be careful when considering drawing regular Social Security payments at age 62, though, because they’ll be reduced for life by up to 30% consequently. Those born between 1934 and 1954 can receive full payments at age 66, and the age for doing so increases annually by two months from 1955 to 1959. Workers born in 1960 and later qualify for full Social Security retirement payments when they turn 67.

Social Security Payments

How much a retirement-eligible worker receives from Social Security depends on various factors, including the amount of money they’ve earned each year or over the years. Please consult with an attorney whenever the payment amount from Social Security differs from what you believe it should be paying. Almost every federal government benefits program is characterized by its complexities, too. Those rules can seem overwhelming to the average person who doesn’t have the time to read them all.

Payment Reductions

So far, the federal government hasn’t ever reduced Social Security retirement benefits. However, the annual Cost of Living Allowances (COLA) or payment increases for retirees and other recipients differ. Social Security retirement payment increases depend on the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W. If target CPI-W prices don’t increase that year, Social Security payments don’t rise.

The Slaughter Law Firm stands ready to help you obtain the maximum amount of Social Security benefits, whether straight retirement or disability-related, to which you’re entitled. We will fight for your right to receive the payments you’ve earned. Contact us now for a consultation and a review of your Social Security case.