What are Social Security retirement benefits?

Beginning in the year 2003, the age at which full retirement benefits are payable will increase from 65 to age 67 – in a series of gradual steps – those of you who were born in 1940 become eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits at age 65 and 6 months – those born in 1950 are eligible at age 66 and those of you who were born in 1960 or later become eligible for full retirement benefits at age 67.

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Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security disability benefits are paid out through two federal programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Both programs pay insurance benefits to people whose medical conditions prevent them from working their normal work schedules. To qualify, you must have “a physical or mental impairment that is expected to keep you from doing any substantial work for at least a year” – or a condition that is expected to result in your death. Generally, $1000 or more of monthly earnings are considered to be “substantial.”

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How are Social Security benefits paid?

The government’s preferred method is for the benefits to be paid by direct, electronic deposit to a bank account. Starting March 1, 2013, social security checks will no longer be mailed to recipients. Rather, recipients must receive their payments electronically in the form of a direct deposit into a credit union or bank account or loaded onto a prepaid debit card.

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