Social Security: Your questions, our answers
Question: Is it true that if you have low income you can get help paying your Medicare premiums?
Answer: Yes. If your income and resources are limited, your State may be able to help with your Medicare Part B premium, deductibles and coinsurance amounts. State rules vary on the income and resources that apply. Contact your State or local medical assistance, social services, or welfare office, or call the Medicare hotline, 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), and ask about the Medicare Savings Programs. If you have limited income and resources, you also may be able to get help paying for prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778) or visit any Social Security office.
Question: I received a notice from Social Security recently. It said my name and Social Security number do not match Social Security’s records. What should I do?
Answer: It’s critical that your name and Social Security number, as shown on your Social Security card, match your employer’s payroll records and your W-2 form. If they don’t, here is what you need to do:
• Give your employer the correct information exactly as shown on your Social Security card or your corrected card; or
• Contact your local Social Security office (www.socialsecurity.gov/locator) or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) if your Social Security card does not show your correct name or Social Security number.
For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.
Question: Are Social Security numbers reassigned after a person dies?
Answer: No. We do not reassign Social Security numbers. In all, we have assigned more than 460 million Social Security numbers, and each year we assign about 5.5 million new numbers. The current system has enough new numbers for several more generations. For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Question: How do I get Social Security credit for my military service?
Answer: You do not need to take any action before applying for your Social Security benefits. You may be asked to provide proof of military service at that time.
Earnings for active duty military service or active duty training have been covered under Social Security since 1957.
If you served in the military before 1957, you did not pay Social Security taxes, but we gave you special credit for some of your service.
Under certain circumstances, special earnings can be credited to your military pay record for Social Security purposes. The extra earnings are for periods of active duty or active duty for training. These extra earnings may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit.
NOTE: Social Security will add these extra earnings to your earnings record when you file for retirement or disability benefits.
If you served in the military from 1940 through 1956, including attendance at a service academy, you did not pay Social Security taxes. However, we will credit you with $160 a month in earnings for military service from Sept. 16, 1940, through Dec. 31, 1956, if:
• You were honorably discharged after 90 or more days of service;
• You were released because of a disability or injury received in the line of duty; or
• You are applying for survivors benefits based on a veteran’s work and the veteran died while on active duty.
You cannot receive credit for these special extra earnings if you are already receiving a federal benefit; e.g, military retirement, based on the same years of service. There is one exception: If you were on active duty after 1956, you can still get the special earnings for 1951 through 1956, even if you’re receiving a military retirement based on service during that period.
If you served in the military in 1957 through 1977, we credited you with $300 in additional earnings for each calendar quarter in which you received active duty basic pay.
If you served in the military in 1978 through 2001, we credited you with an additional $100 in earnings, up to a maximum of $1,200 a year, for every $300 in active duty basic pay. After 2001, additional earnings are no longer credited.
If you began your service after Sept. 7, 1980, and did not complete at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour, you may not be able to receive the additional earnings. Check with us for more information.
NOTE: In all cases, the additional earnings are credited to the earnings we average over your working lifetime, not directly to your monthly benefit amount.
kathy petersen is a public affairs specialist for social security, denver region. you can write her c/o social security administration, 605 main, suite 201, rapid city, sd, 57701 or via e-mail at email@example.com. next week kathy discusses important information for those planning to retire in 2012.
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