Women’s Independent Press

Informing Women About Our World

Archive for the ‘Social Security Administration’

Social Security Serves Veterans

November 30, 2010 By: admin Category: Consumer Education, Social Security Administration

By LeeAnn Stuever

Social Security Manager in Downtown Pittsburgh


On Veterans Day we honor our Nation’s veterans for their service to America. What better time than now to tell you about the many benefits and the wealth of information Social Security has available for veterans and military personnel.


In September, the agency published final rules about the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act.  The HEART Act changes the way we treat some cash payments to members of the uniformed services and veterans under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.  As Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue noted at the time, “This law allows the men and women of our armed forces, veterans, and their families to keep more of their military-related payments while also maintaining eligibility for valuable cash and healthcare benefits.”


The HEART Act does the following:

  • Treats most cash military compensation as earned income for SSI purposes, which generally provides a higher benefit to the service member as a result of the SSI program’s more favorable consideration of earned income.
  • Excludes certain State annuity payments to disabled, blind or aged veterans from countable income and resources used to determine SSI eligibility.
  • Excludes any cash or in-kind payments provided by AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps from countable income.






Social Security also makes it easy to get information about benefits for wounded warriors. The first place to go is our website designed specifically for our wounded veterans: www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. There, you will find answers to a number of commonly asked questions, as well as other useful information about disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Please pay special attention to the fact sheets available on that website, Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors and Expediting Disability Applications for Wounded Warriors.


You will also find a “webinar” that explains the Social Security disability application process and expedited processing available to wounded warriors. This outreach program provides general information about Social Security disability benefits as well as topics unique to wounded warriors, and is a great way to orient yourself to disability benefits for veterans and active duty military.


It’s important to note that benefits available through Social Security are different than those from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.


Military service members are covered for the same Social Security survivors, disability, and retirement benefits as everyone else.  Military personnel have been covered under Social Security since 1957, and people who were in the service prior to that may be able to get special credit for some of their service.


To learn more about Social Security for current and former military service members, read Military Service and Social Security. You can find the publication online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10017.html.

Wrap up your retirement application before wrapping holiday gifts

November 30, 2010 By: admin Category: Social Security Administration


By LeeAnn Stuever

Social Security Manager in Downtown Pittsburgh


The holiday season is, for many people the busiest time of year with gift lists and to-do lists, feast planning and party preparation. The busy schedule, like the gift lists, often can get out of hand.


If you’re planning on retiring sometime early in the new year, we suggest you wrap up your retirement application now before wrapping any holiday gifts. It’s so easy and can take as little as 15 minutes. Just go to www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.


Our website makes the retirement application process quick, easy, and secure.  In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed.


Before you start your application, you may want to spend a few minutes to get an estimate of your retirement benefit at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. The Retirement Estimator uses your personal employment history to estimate your retirement benefit.


Then, jump right into the retirement application. You can use the online application to apply for Social Security retirement or spouses benefits if you:

·         Are at least 61 years and 9 months old;

·         Want to start your benefits in the next four months; and

·         Live in the United States.






Before filing online for retirement, we suggest you have the following information on hand:

·         Your date and place of birth and Social Security number;

·         Your bank or financial institution’s routing transit number and the account number, for direct deposit of your benefits;

·         The amount of money earned last year and this year. If you are filing for benefits in the months of September through December, you also will need to estimate next year’s earnings;

·         The name and address of your employer(s) for this year and last year;

·         The beginning and ending dates of any active U.S. military service you had before 1968;

·         The name, Social Security number, and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. You also should know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death (if appropriate); and

·         A copy of your Social Security Statement.


Even if you don’t have all the information we need at your fingertips, you should go ahead and apply now.

Applying online means there is no need for you to go to a Social Security office or wait for a scheduled appointment with a Social Security representative. Besides, retiring online is so easy. You can apply in as little as 15 minutes. That translates to more time for holiday shopping and activities.


So beat the holiday rush and wrap up your retirement application today at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.


Social Security Covers Every Season Of Life-By LeeAnn Stuever,Social Security Manager in Downtown Pittsburgh

November 01, 2010 By: admin Category: Consumer Education, Social Security Administration

The cool winds and changing leaves are tell-tale signs: another autumn has arrived. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how quickly the seasons change and the years pass by. Whatever season of life you happen to be in, it may be a good time to reflect on the protection you have through Social Security.


Each stage of life — from the spring of youth to the summer of middle age to the autumn of retirement — comes with its own set of financial concerns. And in each situation, Social Security is there to help.


Of the more than 53 million Americans receiving Social Security benefits, nearly one-third are not retired workers or their dependents. They’re disabled workers and their families, or the survivors of a deceased worker. These non-retirement Social Security benefits can be especially important to young workers because about one-in-eight young people will die before retirement, and about one-in-four will become disabled.

While the death of a husband, wife, or parent is emotionally devastating, it often can be financially devastating as well. Social Security provides a monthly survivors benefit payment to help the qualified family members of a deceased worker.

Social Security disability protection is equally valuable. Few workers have an employer-provided, long-term disability policy. With Social Security, however, the average worker has the equivalent of a disability insurance policy that pays monthly benefits to workers and their families, based on the workers’ lifetime earnings. So you can rest a little easier knowing that Social Security provides some measure of security, if life does not turn out as planned.

On the other hand, if you do work and retire as planned, Social Security serves as the foundation for a secure retirement. Social Security is the largest source of income for most elderly Americans today, but Social Security was never intended to be your only source of income when you retire. You also will need other savings, investments, pensions or retirement accounts to make sure you have enough money to live comfortably when you retire.


The Social Security Statement that you receive in the mail each year provides an estimate of your retirement, survivors, and disability insurance benefits. If you’d like to try out some different scenarios and see how various retirement ages and future earnings may change your retirement picture, visit our online Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. It provides an instant, personalized estimate of your future benefits.


And perhaps the best news of all is that it’s easier than ever to apply for retirement benefits. You can do it right from the comfort and convenience of your home or office by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/applytoretire. It can take as little as 15 minutes.


Whether you’re young or old, Social Security is there through every season. You can find out more at www.socialsecurity.gov.