Social Security is a source of monthly funds that many seniors rely on in order to take care of household costs, including food and utilities. It was put into place in 1935, and today, the program serves nearly 100 million people across the United States. The program is designed to provide financial payments to those who qualify and is largely funded by current workers through a payroll deduction. Although there are age requirements to receive benefits, individuals must also meet work history requirements.

When Does Social Security Start?

In most cases, you can apply to receive Social Security benefits when you have reached retirement age. Currently, this is set at age 66; however, you can opt to retire earlier, but you will not receive full benefits if you choose this route. As early as age 62, you can apply to receive Social Security, but you will see a reduction of 25% if you take early retirement. The amount of reduction in your payments gets smaller the longer you wait to receive Social Security, and full benefits apply if you wait until 66.

The Application Process Takes Time

No matter what age you plan to retire, you need to remember that the application process to receive Social Security can take up to three months. As a result, you will want to time your application submission accordingly. Even if you meet all of the criteria to receive Social Security, you will not receive your first payment until your application if completely processed. This may put you in a position where you have to wait for payments unexpectedly.

When Does Social Security Disability Insurance Start?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is another set of payments offered to those with disabling conditions that prevent them from being able to earn an income. This is separate from traditional Social Security, and there is no age requirement to apply for SSDI. In order to receive SSDI, you will need to submit an application and undergo screening to assess your condition. Once again, this process can take months or longer, so you’ll want to apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled in order to receive funds faster. You may also need to involve your doctor in the process as he or she will likely need to submit documentation regarding you medical history and any testing, treatment and diagnoses you have received.

Does Social Security Affect Medicare?

Medicare is a program that helps qualified United States citizens gain access to healthcare options, and it is administered separately from Social Security. With this stated, both programs include support for seniors, so many people become eligible for both programs at the same time. You don’t have to accept Medicare benefits in order to take part in Social Security, and choosing to refuse Medicare will not affect your eligibility for Social Security, nor will it affect the amount of funds you receive each month.

To receive Medicare, you must reach age 65, unless you qualify under the age of 65 due to certain disabilities. At that point in time, you can choose your Medicare benefits from a number of plan options. Some options require a monthly premium payment, and you may need to meet a deductible in order to access benefits. There is also an open enrollment period each year that allows you to make changes to your plan after having a chance to see if it works for your specific healthcare needs. To learn more about Medicare plans, contact your local administration office or speak with a licensed Medicare consultant.

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