Social security is a program that uses public funds to provide a degree of economic security for the public as a whole. In the U.S., employers and employees are required to pay social security taxes and the money that is raised from these taxes would then provide benefits for those who have reached retirement age or are otherwise eligible to receive such funds. This way, when everyone retires, they will have some type of funds to keep the economy flowing.
Social security also is a government program to provide financial support for the disabled. Over the course of your life, you pay a certain percentage of your income to the government in the form of social security taxes. After you retire or become disabled, the government sends you monthly payments based on how much you paid in social security taxes.
Any U.S. citizen who is over the age of 18 and receives some type of income, must have an SSN. Employers are required to use the social security number to report all employee’s income to the IRS. Paying social security from your income is also mandatory and you cannot refuse to pay for it. Although children are not required to have an SSN before the age of 18, it is a good idea to go ahead and get an SSN for your child since you would need an SSN to open a savings account in their name, get medical coverage, or get any other type of government provided service for your child. Most people today get an SSN at birth.
Social security benefits are monetary benefits received by retired workers who have paid in to the social security system over the years that they have been working. Once qualified to receive these benefits, social security benefits are paid out on a monthly basis to retired workers and their surviving spouses. Social security benefits are also paid out to eligible disabled individuals. Social security offers a number of different kinds of benefits:
- Retirement benefits – If you retire after the age of 62, you are entitled to retirement benefits. The amount of money you receive is related to the income you made over the course of your life. The later you file for retirement benefits, the larger they will be (up until the age of 70).
- Disability benefits – If you are disabled before you retire, you may be eligible for disability benefits. You can receive benefits roughly equal to what your retirement benefits would have been.
- Supplemental Security Income – These benefits are available to people who did not earn a lot of income over the course of their lives, but still need financial assistance. Supplemental security income is only available to those who are over 65, disabled, or blind.
- Survivor’s Benefits – If your spouse is deceased and would otherwise be entitled to retirement or disability benefits, you may receive the benefits on the deceased’s behalf. Surviving Child Benefits are also available for a biological child, adopted child, or step-child upon the death of a parent
The social security administration will deny social security benefit claims if they think you don’t qualify for them. If you believe you should qualify for Social Security benefits, the first thing you should do is file an appeal. The social security administration has a complex appeal system, which may reverse the denial of benefits. There are four parts to the appeal:
- Reconsideration – Local social security officers can review your claim. If they still deny benefits, then you can have an administrative law hearing.
- Administrative Law Hearing – An administrative judge independently reviews your claim. If the judge denies your claim, you can appeal to the National Social Security Appeals Council.
- National Social Security Appeals Council – This council will review your claim. Their ruling is final.
- Sue the Social Security Administration – If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your appeal, you can sue the social security administration in federal court.
The laws that regulate social security are very complex and confusing. It isn’t always clear which benefits you are entitled to. A social security attorney can help you understand which social security benefits you should be receiving. A lawyer can also help you if you need to appeal a denial of social security benefits.