Collecting Social Security Retirement Benefits

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The United States Social Security Administration is a voluntary agency of the U.S. government which administers Social Security, an integrated social security system consisting of disability and survivor and retirement benefits. The primary functions of Social Security are to assure coverage and provide support to citizens with disabilities and to support the economic security of the nation as a whole. As the name suggests, social security is a social welfare program and is funded by general tax revenues. The Disability Insurance Program (DIP) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are two parts of social security. Both of these programs are intended to assist people with disabilities in paying for their own living expenses and for those who may not qualify for social security benefits due to various reasons. These two programs together represent the bulk of social security spending.

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DIP stands for disability related plans and SSDI for social security disability. Social Security’s major disability-related programs are the General Assistance Programs (GAP), temporary disability and permanent disability programs. For individuals who do not qualify for social security benefits because of a physical or medical condition, they may apply for Social Security disability benefits. Eligibility for either program depends on the severity of the condition and duration of the disability.

The General Assistance Programs offer four credits for working in a specific field. They include Home Energy Assistance (HEA), Personal Assistance Services (PAAS), and Personal Assistance for Needy Families (PANF). For employees who are self-employed, they can apply for Self-Employment Identification (SEI) card and for employers who offer training opportunities for workers who are not eligible for social security benefits, they can give training credits. After two years, the worker will be allowed to work in the company provided he/she still has not earned the maximum number of credits.

The Pay Benefits for Long-Term Care (PBGC) program is for workers who cannot return to work because of a serious illness or if they undergo extended periods of incapacity. To apply for this program, workers must have worked in the same job continuously for more than five years. They do not need to have earned a social security number. If they receive retirement payments and need to have their benefits deposited, they can apply for this program.

On the other hand, those who qualify for the Disability Insurance (DI) program must have worked in a job that pays at least one year or the worker qualifies for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or the Special Supplemental Security Income (SSI and SSDI) program. They do not need to have earnings data. To apply, the worker should fill out a FAFSA form. Then he/she should attach the worker’s social security card, pass a physical test, and complete a medical exam. If the applicant qualifies for the retirement benefits, he/she should apply for a certificate of eligibility for retirement benefits.

After the completion of all these steps, the individual will receive a Social Security card with a photograph. Usually, recipients of Social Security retirement benefits are entitled to draw check and use it for buying cars, homes, vacations, or even money for paying debts. The retiree can also take the money drawn from the check for use in his/her community, bank, or any other financial institution. The benefit usually stops once the worker reaches the age of 70.