Social security is a federal retirement program. It provides payments to retired workers at age 65.
Reduced benefits are available beginning at age 62. Should you elect to receive early benefits, the reduced rate will continue to be paid past age 65.
If you choose to work and delay retirement beyond age 65, you are entitled to higher benefits when you do retire.
Social security also provides disability and survivor benefits to qualifying recipients, and is responsible for the Medicare Part A program. If you are not yet 65 but have significant medical problems, you may qualify for disability benefits.
To qualify for disability benefits you must first meet an earnings test, and then a disability test.
Some people may be sent to a vocational rehabilitation program to obtain therapy, training, and assistance finding a job.
For those who meet the disability requirements, benefits will start six months after the Social Security Administration determines the disability began. Dependents of a disabled worker are also eligible to collect benefits.
Family members of retired or deceased workers are also eligible to collect survivors, widows, or widowers benefits. Again, certain qualifications must be met in order to qualify.
You should apply for Social Security benefits three months prior to the date benefits are to start, but not later than the month before reaching age 65.
To apply, contact your local Social Security Administrator or call 1-800-772-1213. Social Security representatives visit some South Dakota communities on a regular basis. Applications can also be taken over the phone in some cases.
The amount of Social Security benefits you will receive depends on your earnings record and the length of time you worked at employment covered under the program. Contact you local Social Security office for an explanation of what is or could be payable based on your record.
The Social Security program is much more complex than what can be explained here.
Handbooks are available from the Social Security Administration. For assistance regarding your Social Security benefits, contact your local Social Security Administration or call 1-800-772-1213.