Social Security: Your questions, our answers | TSLN.com

Social Security: Your questions, our answers

Question: How do I request proof of my benefit amount?

Answer: You can use your SSA-1099 form as proof of your income if you receive Social Security benefits, or you can use the annual cost-of-living adjustment notice as verification of your current benefits. You also can make an online request for a Proof of Income Letter at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/BEVE/main.html, or you may call Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

Question: I’m retired and I get a monthly withdrawal from an IRA. I plan to apply for Social Security benefits. Will the money from my IRA be considered earnings that could reduce my monthly benefits?

Answer: No. Non-work income such as pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains, and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. For more information, we suggest the following publications: Retirement Benefits (Publication No. 05-10035) and How Work Affects Your Benefits (Publication No. 05-10069). You can find both online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

Question: Are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits taxable?

Answer: No. SSI payments are not taxable. You will not receive an annual form SSA-1099. You can learn more about SSI by reading the online publication, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/11000.html

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Question: I began collecting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, but also continued working. Now I am full retirement age. Do I need to report my earnings to Social Security?

Answer: No. When you reach full retirement age, you no longer need to report your earnings to Social Security. You do, however, need to report earnings for those months in the calendar year before the month you reach full retirement age. For example, if you reach it in May, you would need to report your earnings total for the four earlier months. If you are under full retirement age when you start getting your Social Security payments, $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2010 and 2011, that limit is $14,160. In the calendar year you attain full retirement age, $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $3 you earn above a higher annual limit up to the month of full retirement age attainment. For 2010 and 2011, that limit is $37,680. Learn your full retirement age by consulting the chart at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/agereduction.htm.

kathy petersen is the public affairs specialist for south dakota and eastern wyoming. you can write her c/o social security administration, 605 main, suite 201, rapid city, sd, 57701 or via e-mail at kathy.petersen@ssa.gov. check back next week to find out how to best conduct social security business during the holidays.

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