Each year we announce the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Usually, there is an increase in the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit amount people receive each month, starting the following January. Law requires that federal benefit rates increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
The CPI-W rises when prices increase for the things the average consumer buys. This means that when prices for goods and services we purchase become more expensive, on average, the COLA increases benefits and helps beneficiaries keep up with the changing cost of living. More than 67 million Americans will see a 2.8 percent increase in their Social Security and SSI benefits in 2019. January 2019 marks other changes based on the increase in the national average wage index. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax, as well as the retirement earnings test exempt amount, will change in 2019.
During the holiday season, most of us, regardless of our beliefs, focus on the children we love. Children are our future—we share our knowledge and talent with them—we pass on our values to them knowing they will share those gifts. Read more in the December 7th edition of Scoop USA Media.
At the end of the year, some of us like to take a tally of our top favorite things, such as movies and songs. At Social Security, we’re no different.
Because we care a lot about making our services convenient and easy to access, we care a lot about our online services—from signing up for retirement benefits to calculating future payments. That said, here are our top ten websites of 2018:
Our hub for Social Security news and updates is our blog: Social Security Matters at blog.socialsecurity.gov. You can use social media to easily share these informative articles with friends and family. We have an easy way to learn how to replace your Social Security card at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. And in many states, you can get a replacement card online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Read more at Scoop USA Media, December 14, 2018.
It’s 2019, and that means you might be one more year closer to retirement. Whether you’re at your very first job or wrapping up a successful career, there are always new things to learn about when it comes to saving for the future. So why not make retirement planning part of your New Year’s resolution!
Putting money in a high yield
Read more Scoop USA Media, December 28, 2018.
Running a small business isn’t just a fulltime job — it can be a 24-7 endeavor. Managing employees, inventory, scheduling, and services, not to mention marketing, can be exhausting.
Social Security can make your life easier with our suite of services that allows you to file W-2/W-2Cs online and verify your employees’ names and Social Security numbers against our records. If you run a business, make us your first stop for information on W-2s, electronic filing and verifying Social Security numbers at www.socialsecurity.gov/ employer to save time.
Read more Scoop USA Media, January 4, 2019.
Social Security is here to help secure today and tomorrow by providing benefits and financial protection for millions of people. This assistance allows people with severe disabilities and health conditions to take care of the necessities of living, such as food, shelter, and medications. It is imperative that we continue to protect the integrity of the disability program for everyone by ensuring we make the correct decision on each claim. However, if you do not agree with our decision, you can ask us to take another look by filing an appeal. Generally, there are four appeal levels: 1) Reconsideration, 2) Hearing, 3) Appeals Council Review, and 4) Federal Court Review. At the Reconsideration level, someone who did not make the first decision on your claim will conduct a review and accept any additional evidence.
Read more, Scoop USA Media, January 25, 2019
In February, our nation honors African Americans by celebrating Black History Month. Recognizing our shared history is one way we can affirm our belief in freedom and democracy for all.
For more than 80 years, Social Security has helped secure today and tomorrow with financial benefits, information, and tools for people of countless backgrounds and ethnicities that make up our richly diverse country. One of our popular tools is the online Retirement Estimator. With it, you can plug in some basic information to get an instant, personalized estimate of your future benefits. Different life events or choices can alter the course of your future, so try out different scenarios such as higher and lower future earnings amounts and various retirement dates to get a good prediction of how it can change your future benefit amounts. You can access it at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement/estimator.html. If you find that helpful, we have a number of calculators to help you prepare for retirement at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/calculators.
Read more, Scoop USA Media, February 1, 2019
Tax season is approaching, and Social Security has made replacing your annual Benefit Statement even easier. The Benefit Statement is also known as the SSA-1099 or the SSA-1042S. Now you can get a copy of your 1099 anytime and anywhere you want using our online services.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, February 8, 2019
Unfortunately, tragedy can strike without any warning. The loss of the family wage earner can be devastating both emotionally and financially. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. Some of the Social Security taxes you pay go toward survivors benefits for workers and their families.
The value of the survivors benefits you have under Social Security may even be more than the value of your individual life insurance. When you die, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors benefits. These include widows and widowers (and divorced widows and widowers), children, and dependent parents. Here are the people who can get survivors benefits based on your work: Your widow or widower may be able to get full benefits at full retirement age. The full retirement age for survivors is age 66 for people born in 1945-1956, with the full retirement age gradually increasing to age 67 for people born in 1962 or later. Your widow or widower can get reduced benefits as early as age 60. If your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50. Your widow or widower can get benefits at any age if they take care of your child younger than age 16 or disabled, who is receiving Social Security benefits.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, February 15, 2019
If you are not self-employed, Social Security taxes are typically taken out of your paycheck automatically. You and your employer each pay a 6.2 percent Social Security tax on up to $132,900 of your earnings and a 1.45 percent Medicare tax on all earnings in 2019. You don’t have to do anything extra for the coverage you will one day receive because your employers handle the deduction as well as matching that contribution. Then they send the taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and report your wages to Social Security.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, February 22, 2019
Question: My uncle states that he is considered to be 70 percent disabled through the VA. Does Social Security rate my disability on a percentage scale?
Answer: Social Security does not rate individuals on a percentage scale for disability benefits. For Social Security purposes, a disability is defined as: · A medical condition(s) that must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least one year or ends in death; and · The condition must prevent you from performing substantial work.
For more information regarding disability benefits, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi.
Question: How does Social Security decide if I am disabled?
Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 1, 2019
Social Security is with you through life’s journey, putting you in control of your finances and future. With this in mind, we have made getting a replacement Social Security Benefit Statement even easier. Now you can instantly print or save a replacement any time you want. That’s control!
The Benefit Statement, also known as the SSA-1099 or the SSA-1042S, is a tax form Social Security mails each year in January to people who receive Social Security benefits. It shows the total amount of benefits you received from Social Security in the previous year, so you know how much Social Security income to report to the IRS on your tax return.
An SSA-1042S is for a non citizen who lives outside the United States and received or repaid Social Security benefits last year. If you currently live in the United States and you need a replacement form SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S, simply go online and get an instant, printable replacement form with a my Social Security account at www∙socialsecurity∙gov/myaccount.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 8, 2019
For generations, Social Security has been evolving to meet your changing needs. In April, we celebrate National Social Security Month by letting you know what you can do online with a my Social Security account. Replacing a lost or stolen Social Security number (SSN) card has never been easier. You can request a replacement SSN card online in most states. There’s no need to sit in traffic or visit a local office or Card Center. As long as you’re only requesting a replacement card, and no other changes, you can use our free online service from anywhere. All you need to do is log in to or create a my Social Security account at
Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 15, 2019
March is Women’s History Month. It’s a time when we reflect on the achievements and contributions of our nation’s remarkable women. Many of these heroes might be people close to you: mothers and daughters, aunts, and grandmothers. Each of them plays a special role in our lives as they provide love and support.
Social Security plays an important role in providing economic security for women. Nearly 55 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 22, 2019
If you have higher income, the law requires an upward adjustment to your monthly Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums. But, if your income has gone down, you may use form SSA-44 to request a reduction in your Medicare income- related monthly adjustment amount.
Medicare Part B helps pay for your doctors’ services and outpatient care. It also covers other medical services, such as physical and occupational therapy, and some home health care. For most beneficiaries, the government pays a substantial portion—about 75 percent--of the Part B premium, and the beneficiary pays the remaining 25 percent. If you’re a higher-income beneficiary, you’ll pay a larger percentage of the total cost of Medicare Part B, based on the income you report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You’ll pay monthly Part B premiums equal to 35, 50, 65, 80, or 85 percent of the total cost, depending on the income you report to the IRS.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, March 29, 2019
Part of what makes our nation unique is our diversity. Social Security touches the lives of nearly all Americans; so, we’re accustomed to serving a diverse population.
Online, our People Like Me pages help inform the many different people we help. From people with disabilities to students and military veterans — Social Security is here for you. These pages are easy to share with friends and family or on social media. Here are just a few that might speak to you or someone you love.
Do you know someone who is just starting their career?
Now is the best time for them to start preparing for retirement. The sooner we begin to save, the more we’ll have when we reach retirement age. Share this page with a young worker you know. www.socialsecurity.gov/ people/earlycareer.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, April 5, 2019
In April, we celebrate National Social Security Month by letting you know what you can do online with a my Social Security account.
Last month we featured how you can replace a lost or stolen Social Security card, get a copy of your 1099 (SSA1099), and check the status of your Social Security benefit application or claim. This month we share three more advantages.
If you already receive Social Security benefits, you can set up or change direct deposit information online with a my Social Security account. In most cases, you are required to receive federal benefits electronically, so when you choose direct deposit, we will electronically deposit your funds directly into a bank account. If you do not have a bank account, you can choose Direct Express® and your funds will be electronically deposited into a prepaid debit card account. Direct Express® has no enrollment fee or minimum balance requirement to open or use the account.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, April 12, 2019
April is Financial Literacy Month and there’s no better time than right now to begin to save for your future. The earlier you start saving, the more you can accrue in a 401k individual retirement account and other types of IRAs. Social Security helps secure your future, but Social Security is only one part of a more complete retirement plan.
Financial literacy includes having access to not just the correct general information, but also to your personal financial information. You can open your own personal my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/ and quickly have access to your information from anywhere.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, April 19, 2019
We strive to keep you informed with accurate and helpful information. Over the last decade, Social Security’s communications strategy has evolved to include electronic messages, through our social media channels. You can share Social Security information, including links to our online tools, with a click of a button. Using Facebook, we can reach millions of people on a platform they’re familiar with and comfortable navigating. We can cross generational divides as we encourage users to share their personal experiences with Social Security programs, such as disability, survivors, and retirement benefits. You can follow us and repost our articles at www.facebook.com/socialsecurity. Our newest social media outlet is our Instagram account. As we do on Facebook, we share stories and resources that can help you and your loved ones. Check out our new Instagram page at www.Instagram.com/SocialSecurity Have you seen us on YouTube? Our diverse collection of videos covers veterans’ benefits, online services, retirement, Social Security scams, and much more.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, May 3, 2019
Each May, Social Security releases the top 10 baby names of the previous year. We are the leading source for America’s popular names because almost every newborn gets a Social Security number at birth. In a way, your name is your first “personal” information — a piece of identification that you have for the rest of your life.
Having a Social Security number provides the foundation for vital benefits to that child if they need them in the future and when they retire. Saving early is key to having enough money to live on in retirement. Because we're living longer, healthier lives, we can expect to spend more time in retirement than our parents and grandparents did. Achieving the dream of a secure, comfortable retirement is much easier when you plan your finances.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, May 10, 2019
In May, we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week and honor all of the educators who are preparing students for the future. Social Security knows that a well-informed instructor is usually the best one suited to educate others. That’s why we have online resources that are easy to access and share.
Social Security’s Educator Toolkit is a rich resource for teachers and advocates. Our Information for Educators page contains information and resources to engage students and to educate them on Social Security. It includes: Infographics and handouts for each lesson plan. Links to Social Security webpages, talking points, quiz questions and answers.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, May 17, 2019
Every year, on Memorial Day, the nation honors service members who have given their lives for our freedom.
Social Security acknowledges the sacrifice of our military’s service members, and we honor these heroes and their families who may need help through the benefits we provide. Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. You can learn more about those benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/ survivors.
It’s also important to recognize those service members who have been wounded. Social Security offers benefits to protect veterans when an injury prevents them from returning to active duty or performing other work. Wounded military service members can receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability claims. For example, Social Security will expedite disability claims filed by veterans who have a 100 percent Permanent & Total Compensation rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Read More, Scoop USA Media, May 24, 2019
Now that tax season is over, it’s probably a good time to evaluate some financial “best practices” for the rest of the year. A good spring-cleaning can clear out the clutter to let you see a clear path for your future. Social Security is always here to help. Even if you just started working, now is the time to start preparing for retirement. Achieving the dream of a secure, comfortable retirement is much easier with a strong financial plan.
Tip 1: Start Early Our online retirement planning resources are helpful to people at any stage of their career. Our many calculators, Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool, and disability resources are all available at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners. From here, you can read and download publications and also email and share with colleagues, friends, and family. Remember, the earlier you start, the better chance you have at saving what you need.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, May 31, 2019
Affordable medical coverage is something everyone wants, especially as people age. Luckily, our nation has safeguards for workers as they get older. Millions of people rely on Medicare, and it can be part of your health insurance plan when you retire. Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, as well as younger people who have received Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, and people with certain specific diseases.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 7, 2019
Social Security touches the lives of nearly every American, whether at the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, the onset of a disability, or the transition from work to retirement. For more than 80 years, our programs have contributed to the financial security of the elderly and the disabled. Social Security replaces a percentage of a worker’s pre-retirement income based on their lifetime earnings. The amount of your average wages that Social Security retirement benefits replaces varies depending on your earnings and when you choose to start benefits. If you start benefits after full retirement age, these percentages are higher. If you start benefits earlier, these percentages are lower. Most financial advisers say you will need about 70 percent of pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement, including your Social Security benefits, investments, and personal savings. You can learn more about retirement benefits atwww.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/ retirement.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 14, 2019
While many of us look forward to Friday, with its endof- the-workweek designation and our weekend plans, certain cultures consider it an unlucky day. Some people, suffering from triskaidekaphobia, are truly terrified of the number 13. Combine the two factors and it’s not surprising that many believe that Friday the 13th is a frightening day. While superstitions play an important part in the Friday the 13th jitters, we offer a different approach to this “unlucky” day with 13 fearless things to know about your Social Security number and card.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 21, 2019
Social Security is committed to protecting your personal information. We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number (SSN) or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or internet. If you receive a call and aren’t expecting one, you must be extra careful. You can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and — if you do need more clarification — contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent.
Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 28, 2019
July 4th brings family and friends together, as well as neighbors, to celebrate that we’re all part of a community. Everyone pitches in, combining their resources — great food, music, and displays — to lift our spirits. Social Security has been helping people maintain their independence for over 80 years. In that time, we’ve made it even easier for you to access the programs and benefits you might need. Today, applying online is a fast way to get those crucial benefits. Here are some of the benefits you can apply for:
o Retirement or Spouse's Benefits – You must be at least 61 years and 9 months old and want your benefits to start no more than four months in the future. Apply at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline.
o Disability – You can apply online for disability benefits. Apply for Disability at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityonline.
o Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs – Some people need assistance with the cost of medications. Apply for Extra Help at www.socialsecurity.gov i1020.
o Medicare – Medicare is a national health insurance program administered by the U.S. federal government that began in 1966. You should apply before your 65th birthday at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline.
Read More, Scoop USA Media Digital July 5, 2019
Social Security matters to millions of people and that’s why we aptly named our blog Social Security Matters. Over the past several years, more and more people have realized that our blog is a trusted source for information and easy-to-share articles. Here are five recent popular blog posts:
1. Three Common Ways Your Social Security Payment Can Grow After Retirement -You made the choice and now you are happily retired. You filed online for your Social Security benefits. They arrive each month in the correct amount exactly as expected. But, did you ever wonder if your Social Security check could increase? You can see all three ways at blog.ssa.gov/three-common-ways-your-social-security-payment-can-grow-after-retirement.
2. So You’ve Lost Your Social Security Card -Losing important documents is frustrating, especially something as important as your Social Security card. You’ll want to consider whether you really need to get a replacement card. Knowing your number is what’s important, after all. You’ll rarely need the card itself — perhaps only when you get a new job and have to show it to your employer. Learn how to replace your card at blog.ssa.gov/so-youve-lost-your-social-security-card/
3. Is that Phone Call From Us? It’s the morning of a busy day at home and you get a call from an unknown number. You answer only to find yourself on the receiving end of a threatening message saying your Social Security benefits will stop immediately unless you provide your personal information. It happens every day to thousands of Americans. And it’s not Social Security calling. Read more about this scam at blog.ssa.gov/is-that-phone-call-from-us/
Read More Social Security, Patrick Robinson, Scoop USA Media, July 12, 2019, page 12
For young people whose parent passes away, Social Security is here. Losing a parent is both emotionally painful and, often times, devastating to a family’s finances. In the same way that Social Security helps to lift up the disabled and seniors when they need it, we support families when an income-earning parent dies.
You should let Social Security know as soon as possible when a person in your family dies. Usually, the funeral director will report the person’s death to Social Security. You’ll need to give the deceased’s Social Security number to the funeral director, so they can make the report. Some of the deceased’s family members may be able to receive Social Security benefits if the deceased person worked long enough in jobs covered by Social Security to qualify for benefits. Contact Social Security as soon as possible to make sure the family gets all the benefits they’re entitled to.
Please read the following information carefully to learn what benefits may be available. Your unmarried child can get benefits if they’re: Younger than age 18; 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12); or 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22. To get benefits, a child must have: A parent who’s disabled or retired and entitled to Social Security benefits; or, a parent who died after having worked long enough in a job where they paid Social Security taxes. Benefits stop when your child reaches age 18 unless your child is a student in secondary school or disabled. Within a family, a child can receive up to half of the parent’s full retirement or disability benefit.
If a child receives Survivors benefits, he or she can get up to 75 percent of the deceased parent’s basic Social Security benefit. There is a limit to the amount of money that we can pay to a family. This family maximum is determined as part of every Social Security benefit computation. It can be from 150 to 180 percent of the parent’s full benefit amount. If the total amount payable to all family members exceeds this limit, we reduce each person’s benefit proportionately (except the parent’s) until the total equals the maximum allowable amount. Children with disabilities may also be eligible for benefits.
You can read more about Benefits for Children with Disabilities at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf.
Read more Social Security, Scoop USA Media, July 19, 2019, page 12
Question: My father receives Social Security retirement benefits and I will be in charge of his estate when he dies. Should that occur, do I need to report his death to Social Security or will benefits automatically stop?
Answer: When your father dies, please notify Social Security as soon as possible at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Another person, such as a spouse, may be eligible for survivors benefits based on his record. Also, we might be able to pay a one-time payment of $255 to help with funeral expenses.
We suggest reading a copy of our online publication, How Social Security Can Help You When A Family Member Dies, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10008.html.
Question: I am 57 years old and I currently receive Social Security disability benefits. Can I still get my regular Social Security retirement benefits when I reach full retirement age?
Answer: If you are still receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach your full retirement age, we will automatically switch you from disability benefits to retirement benefits at that point. The money amount will remain the same. For more information on disability benefits , visit www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/disability.
Question: Can I delay my retirement benefits and receive benefits as a spouse only? How does that work?
Answer: It depends on your date of birth. If you were born on or before 01/01/1954 and your spouse is receiving Social Security benefits, you can apply for retirement benefits on your spouse’s record as long as you are at your full retirement age. You then will earn delayed retirement credits up to age 70, as long as you do not collect benefits on your own work record. Later, when you do begin receiving benefits on your own record, those payments could very well be higher than they would have been otherwise. If your spouse is also full retirement age and does not receive benefits, your spouse will have to apply for benefits and request the payments be suspended. Then you can receive benefits on your spouse’s Social Security record. If you were born on or after 01/02/1954 and wish to receive benefits, you must file for all benefits for which you are eligible. Social Security will determine the benefits you are eligible for and pay you accordingly. For individuals born on or after 01/02/1954, there is no longer an option to select which benefit you would like to receive, even beyond your full retirement age. Widows are an exception, as they can choose to take their deceased spouse’s benefit without filing for their own. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov
Read More Social Security, ScoopUSA Media, July 26, 2019, page 12
It’s summer and millions of families are enjoying our nation’s beaches, forests, and mountains before the school season begins. If you’re on vacation this summer, know that you can access Social Security’s online services anywhere you have an internet connection.
Our online services at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices help you plan for the future. We’re constantly expanding our online services to give you freedom and control in how you wish to conduct business with us. You can go online to: Use our benefits planners to help you better understand your Social Security protections.; Find out if you qualify for benefits; Estimate your future retirement benefits to help you plan for your financial future; Apply for retirement or Medicare quickly and easily; and, Open your personal my Social Security account.
A my Social Security account is the most versatile tool available. If you don’t receive benefits yet, you can: Get your Social Security Statement to review your earnings and make sure they’re recorded correctly; Get a benefit verification letter to prove you don’t receive Social Security benefits or that you applied but haven’t received an answer yet; Request a replacement Social Security card if you meet certain requirements; and, Check the status of your application or appeal a decision.
If you receive benefits, you can: Change your address and phone number; Get a benefit verification letter to prove you receive Social Security benefits Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Medicare ;Change your direct deposit information; Request a replacement Medicare card; Request a replacement Social Security card if you meet certain requirements; Get a replacement Benefit Statement (SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S) for tax purposes.
Sharing these online services with family and friends can make a difference in their lives. Many people still don’t know about all the business they can do online with Social Security. If they have any questions, they can always start at www.socialsecurity.gov or go to our online services at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.
Read More Social Security, Scoop USA Media, August 2, 2019, page 12
Social Security turns 84 this year. With more than eight decades of service, we’ve provided benefits to one of the most diverse populations in history.
Regardless of background, we cover retirees, wounded warriors, chronically ill children, and people who have lost loved ones. Knowing that we cover so many different people, we’ve created People Like Me webpages that speak to specific audiences. Sharing these pages could make a positive impact on someone’s life. Here are a few that might speak to you.
Do you know someone who needs to start saving for retirement? No matter where they are in their careers, Social Security can help. It’s never too late to start planning. We offer two pages, one for people early in their career at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/earlycareer and one for people who have been working for a while, www.socialsecurity.gov/people/midcareer.
Read more Social Security, ScoopUSA Media, August 9, 2019, page 12