There are several programs that are administered by the Social Security Administration including Social Security Annuity (SSA or retirement), Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, and Survivor benefits. Each program has different eligibility requirements. Click here for information on applying for benefits.

My office is frequently contacted by constituents who have questions about their retirement benefits or their applications for disability benefits. Here are a few of the most common questions my office receives concerning Social Security benefits and programs:

When can I begin collecting Social Security Annuity/SSA (retirement) benefits?

You may begin collecting retirement benefits at age 62, however since this is before “full retirement age”, your benefit will be reduced. Full retirement age is based on the year of your birth. To learn more about what your full retirement age is, and how much your benefit would be reduced if you file for SSA before that date, please visit the SSA Retirement Planner page.

Can I continue working after I begin collecting SSA (retirement) benefits?

Yes, you may continue working while collecting SSA benefits however in some cases there are restrictions on the amount you can earn.

If you begin collecting SSA benefits before reaching full retirement age, your monthly SSA benefit will be reduced by $1 for every $2 earned above the annual earnings limit. The 2016 annual earnings limit is $15,720.

In the year you reach full retirement age, the reduction in benefit decreases to $1 for every $3 earned and the annual income limit increases to $41,880.
Beginning the month you reach full retirement age, you can collect your SSA benefit with no limit on annual earnings.

How do I file for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and how long does it take to process a claim?

You may file for SSDI in person at the local Social Security office, over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY only), or online. This site also provides guidance on ensuring that your application is complete and information on what to do if your claim is denied.

Since each claim is different, it is difficult to estimate how long it will take render a decision but it may take between 6 – 12 months or in very complex cases, even longer. If you are experiencing a life-or-death or other emergency such as pending eviction or foreclosure, please contact my office immediately so that we can contact the Social Security Administration on your behalf to request a timely review of your claim.
If your claim is approved, you will also qualify for Medicare benefits after a waiting period of 24 months after the effective date of the disability.

My office is always available to assist you with issues that you may be experiencing with your Social Security issues. If you cannot find the answer to your questions through these links or would like my office to contact the Social Security Administration on your behalf, please complete my online Privacy Release Form. My staff will be happy to provide you with all possible assistance.

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