Social Security:Catering To The Needs Of The Retired And The Disabled In The US


Each individual has the basic right to lead a life full of respect, dignity and contentment. This is the basic human goal of any individual’s life. Having a sense of belief and certainty that you will be able to cater to your basic needs in life is what drives you to work every day. However, sometimes life throws at us the most unexpected challenges and it becomes difficult to continue leading a stress-free life on your own. Medical ailments, meeting accidents, deaths etc are some things that are not under the control of us humans and we need to prepare for these challenges from before so that we do not have to face consequences in the long run. This is where the Social Security Scheme of the US Government comes into the picture. 

What is Social Security?

Social Security is nothing but an insurance policy of the US Government that helps assist all retired and disabled people and their loved ones after they fail to help themselves out.  Social Security refers to insurance where people receive benefits in accordance with the contribution that they have made to a particular plan. The main areas where Social Security plan comes to play a role are:
  • Retirement pensions
  • Disabled Persons
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Survivor benefits
  • Health and safety at work
  • Medical care
  • Food, clothing and housing

How does Social Security work?

The Social Security is implemented by the SSA or the Social Security Administration. The SSA assigns Social Security numbers and takes care of social security retirement, survivors and disability pension schemes. It also administers the SSI or the Supplemental Security Income programme for the blind, poor and aged. The SSA is an independent agency of the US federal government. To be avail benefits from the SSA most people pay Social Security taxes as part of their earnings. The SSI benefits, however, are given based on the needs of the people. The SSA was created during the tenure of President Roosevelt's tenure when he signed the Social security Act in 1935. The programme is dependent on the contributions made by the employees while they are in service and the benefits are enjoyed later on, which is when they retire from their jobs. Payroll taxes gathered from the individuals and the companies fund this programme.
The Social Security benefits vary from person to person based on their lifetime earnings, marital status, retirement age and the retirement income. The SSA levies 12.4% tax on your earnings to fund the scheme.

When to claim your SSA benefits?

Well, there is a right time for everything and the same applies to avail benefits from the SSA. The longer you wait to claim your benefits the greater would be the reward. You can claim retirement benefits only when you have crossed 62 years of age. When you wait till your full retirement age which is fixed by the SSA and 67 in case you were born in and after 1967 then you will be entitled to receive your primary benefit amount. The sooner you claim your benefits the lesser your monthly payment will be. If you claim benefits at 63 you will get just 70% of the Primary benefit and at 65, 86.7% of the amount. So it's better to wait till 67 if that is your retirement age determined by the SSA.

Benefits under the Social Security Scheme

Social Security Child’s Insurance Benefits

These benefits are federally funded. The SSA administers these benefits for children whose parents have worked and earned enough Social Security scores and are entitled Ssa retirement and disability benefits. To qualify for this scheme the child must be unmarried, less than 18 years of age and completely dependent on his or her parents.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

These benefits are paid to you and to your family in case you have worked long enough and are now suffering from a medical ailment that has prevented you from working or do so in the next 12 months at least or may even prove to be fatal. You must adhere to the SSA's definition of disability to claim benefits under this scheme.

Social Security Disabled Surviving Divorced Spouses Benefits

These benefits are served to the disabled surviving divorced spouse of an individual who had worked enough to gain required Social Security credits. To qualify for this scheme your age must lie between 50 to 60 and you must be marred for at least 10 years prior to your divorce. You must also not be entitled to some other Social Security benefit based on your own work elsewhere.

Social Security Disabled widow(er) Insurance Benefits

These benefits are paid to the disabled widow or widower of the deceased who has worked enough to earn Social Security credits. Your age must be between 50 and 60 years to claim benefits and should be married for at least 9 months before the death of your spouse. Also, you must not be eligible for benefits from some other scheme owing to your own work.  

Social Security Medicare Program

It is a federally funded program looked after by the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicated Services) which is the health insurance program of the US. To be eligible for this scheme you must be 65 years and older and must be getting disability benefits from the SSA. When you sign in for Medicare benefits you can choose between part A and part b which are hospital insurance and medical insurance respectively.

Social Security Retirement Benefits

The retirement benefits vary according to the retirement age fixed by the SSA which could either be 62 or 67 but the basic criteria of having earned specific Social Security credit holds for both. There are incentives for you if you wait till your full retirement age to claim the insurance benefits.

Social Security benefits for World War II veterans

The veterans who served in the US Army from September 16, 1940, to July 24, 1947. You must be eligible for the SSI as of December 1999 and in the month in which you apply for the benefit scheme.

Summary
The Social Security scheme is a monetary insurance plan that helps you lead a dignified life today and always.