If my claim is approved, when will I receive benefits?
It is normal to feel anxious as you wait for the first deposit from the Social Security Administration into your account. However, how long you will have to wait will depend on several factors. In most cases, it depends on your date of birth.
That said, receiving your first deposit could take up to three months. These benefits are usually paid out every month, usually on Wednesdays, beginning the month after the birthday at which you attained full retirement age.
Here is how your birthday determines when to expect your social security payments:
If you were born anywhere between the 1st and 10th of the month, you should expect your check on the second Wednesday of the month. If you were born anywhere between the 11th and 20th, your check would likely arrive on the third Wednesday of the month. Lastly, if you were born between the 21st and 31st of the month, you should expect the check on the fourth Wednesday of the month.
What Are the Rules for Social Security Benefits?
You must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to qualify for Social Security benefits. Generally, when applying for retirement benefits, you must have 40 credits. In addition, each year of work can have no more than four credits. Ideally, you must have worked for at least ten years to qualify for benefits.
On the other hand, if you apply for disability benefits, you must meet the following requirements set by the Social Security Administration:
- You can no longer work or engage in a substantial gainful activity because of your current medical condition
- You can no longer do the work you did previously or adjust to any other work because of your current medical condition
- Your current medical condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or lead to death
In addition, to qualify for disability benefits, the SSA will determine whether:
- You are working
- Your condition is considered severe enough to prevent you from working
- Your condition is considered disabling
- You can do the work you did previously
- You can do any other kind of work
What Do I Need to Apply for Social Security Benefits?
It is advisable to apply for benefits at least four months before you want the SSA to process your benefits. You can submit an application online via the Social Security portal or have an experienced attorney do it for you. Hiring an attorney significantly increases your chances of obtaining favorable results.
You will need the following documents when you apply for benefits:
- Your original birth certificate or any other qualifying proof of birth
- Proof of US citizenship
- If you are a lawful alien (i.e., you are in the United States legally, but you were not born in the country), you will need to provide proof of lawful alien status
- Copies of your military service papers if you served in the US military
- A copy of your W-2 forms if employed
- If self-employed, you will need a copy of last year's self-employment tax return
Can I Receive My Deceased Spouse's Social Security Benefits and My Own Simultaneously?
You cannot receive your deceased spouse's Social Security benefits if you are eligible for both. Rather, the SSA will pay out only the higher of the two benefits.
Does Marriage Affect My Social Security Benefits?
Getting married does not necessarily have an influence on your social security payments. This is because these payments are based on your work record and earning history, not your marital status. That said, you and your spouse can still collect benefits, assuming both of you are eligible.
However, if you divorce and remarry, this could affect the benefits you receive based on the record of a deceased or former spouse. But it will not affect your retirement benefits.
What's the Best Way to Maximize My Social Security Benefits?
There are many different ways to maximize your social security benefits. Here are some quick tips worth considering:
The SSA uses a system known as Average Indexed Monthly Earnings to calculate your earnings. This system totals your earnings from your 35 highest-earning years and then obtains the average. For this reason, consider working for at least 35 full years.
Delaying retirement benefits is also another tactic some people use to maximize their benefits. When you delay your benefits past the full retirement age, you may earn an additional 8% each year that is delayed until age 70.
Alternatively, consider claiming spousal benefits if you and your spouse were born before January 2, 1954, and have both reached retirement age. When you claim spousal benefits, you allow your benefits to keep growing. Then, at age 70, you can switch to the higher benefit.
For best results, speak with a Morgan and Morgan social security benefits attorney. The attorney will review your specific situation and recommend various tactics to maximize your benefits.
Can I Collect Benefits If I Divorce My Partner?
You can collect benefits if you divorce your partner and meet other conditions even if you have remarried. However, for this to work, you must:
- have been married to your former spouse for at least ten years;
- your ex-spouse cannot be married; and
- your ex-spouse must be 62 years old.
In addition, the benefit your former spouse is entitled to based on their own work history must be less than the benefit they would receive based on your own work history. Lastly, you must also be entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits to collect benefits after divorcing your partner.
Where Can I Find Help Applying for Social Security Benefits?
At Morgan and Morgan, we understand that applying for Social Security benefits can be stressful and challenging. The mountains of paperwork aside, you will have to deal with complex legal terms and crucial deadlines. Most importantly, you will need a strategy to maximize your benefits, avoid unnecessary delays, etc.
That is why Morgan and Morgan Social Security attorneys are here to help. Whether you want to claim retirement or disability benefits, our attorneys can help you with this and so much more.
How Do I Contact Morgan and Morgan Social Security Benefits Attorneys?
To contact Morgan and Morgan Social Security benefits attorneys, all you have to do is fill out our free case evaluation form. Then, one of our legal representatives will get in touch with you, usually within 24 hours, to discuss your case.