Social Security Q&A Part 11

Question: I served in the military, and I’ll receive a military pension when I retire. Will that affect my Social Security benefits?
Answer: You can get both Social Security retirement benefits and military retirement at the same time. Generally, we don’t reduce your Social Security benefits because of your military benefits. When you’re ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline. This is the fastest and easiest way to apply. For your convenience, you can always save your progress during your application and complete it later. And thank you for your military service!
Question: What type of information will I need to provide if I’d like to apply online for Social Security retirement benefits?
Answer: Whether you apply for retirement benefits online, by phone, or in an office, we suggest that you have the following information at hand when you do it. This will make completing the application easier for you.

  • Your birthdate, place of birth and Social Security number;
  • Your bank account number and your bank’s routing number, for direct deposit;
  • The amount of money you earned last year and this year. If you are applying for benefits in the months of September through December, you may also need to provide an estimate of what you expect to earn next year if you plan to continue working;
  • The name and address of your employer(s) for this year and last year;
  • The beginning and ending dates of any active military service you had prior to 1968; and
  • The name, Social Security number and date of birth of your current and any former spouses.

Depending on your situation, you may need to provide additional documentation with your application. We’ll give you instructions on how to mail or bring it to us. To get started, visit our Retirement Planner at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2.
Question: If I go back to work, will I automatically lose my Social Security disability benefits?
Answer: No, Social Security has several work incentive programs to help people who want to work. You may be able to receive monthly benefits and continue your health care coverage during a trial work period. For information about Social Security’s work incentives and how they can help you return to work, you should:

For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
 Question: I have a 38-year-old son who has been disabled by cerebral palsy since birth. I plan to apply for retirement benefits. Will he be eligible for benefits as my disabled child?
Answer: Yes. In general, an adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because we pay it on the parent’s Social Security earnings record.
The “adult child”—including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild—must be unmarried, age 18 or older, and have a disability that started before age 22.
 Question: If I receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, what is the effect on my benefits when I take seasonal work?
Answer: Even a small amount of earned wages can cause a deduction in your SSI payment. However, it takes substantial work to make your benefits stop. In many cases, we will deduct approved work expenses to determine your SSI payment amount. In most cases, you can continue to receive your medical coverage for up to two years after you begin working. We have several publications on SSI, including Reporting Your Wages When You Receive Supplemental Security Income, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. For more information, call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.
 Question: I will rely on Medicare when I retire. Can you explain the different parts of Medicare?
Answer: The different parts of Medicare coveryour specific needs.There are four parts, all of which work in tandem to deliver healthcare services.

  • Part A (hospital insurance): Hospital insurance helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care, and hospice care.
  • Part B (medical insurance): Medical insurance helps pay for doctors’ services and many other medical services and supplies that hospital insurance doesn’t cover.
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage plans): If you have Medicare Parts A and B, you can join a Medicare Advantage plan. Private companies offer Medicare Advantage plans which are approved by Medicare. These plans generally help you pay the medical costs not covered by Medicare Part A and B.
  • Part D (prescription drug coverage): Prescription drug coverage helps pay for medications doctors prescribe for treatment.

Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov