- 11:01 ET, Mar 28 2022
- Updated: 11:01 ET, Mar 28 2022
MILLIONS of Americans are set to receive two huge Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks totaling $1,682 in April.
The average SSI claimant is getting $621 a month in benefits this year, thanks to the cost-of-living adjustment climbing to 5.9 percent.
The maximum payment per individual is $841 per month.
SSI claimants can expect to get two of the same checks worth up to $1,682.
The payment schedule will be impacted because the first of May (the date SSI benefits are normally sent out) is a Sunday.
When that happens, benefits are issued on the Friday before.
Because of this, SSI beneficiaries can expect their payments to arrive on Friday, April 1, and Friday, April 29.
Read our Supplemental Security Income live blog for the latest news and updates…
Reporting Social Security scams
If you suspect an email you got from the Social Security Administration may be fraudulent, you’re urged to avoid responding or clicking on any links in the message.
The SSA said you should report the email by forwarding it to the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) at [email protected].
Avoiding Social Security scams
The Social Security Administration said Americans can avoid fraudulent calls and internet “phishing” schemes by not revealing personal information, clicking malicious links, or opening suspicious attachments.
The agency said most emails from Social Security will come from a “.gov” email address.
If an email address does not end in “.gov”, use caution before opening attachments or clicking on pictures or links.
You can learn more about how to protect your personal information and online account on the administration’s security webpage.
Go back to work for a boost
An individual’s benefits are calculated based on covered earnings, which are received from working.
The Social Security Administration ranks all of a person’s covered earnings from one’s work years and takes the highest 35 values.
This ranking is used to form average indexed monthly earnings, which is then used to calculate the benefit amount a person will receive.
If a person decides to keep working, it is possible to increase the average indexed monthly earnings, and therefore, the person’s monthly benefits would also increase.
Withdraw application for a boost
Another option is a complete withdrawal of the application.
This option is for people who regret claiming and do not foresee themselves re-claiming in the near future.
It’s only available if it’s been less than 12 months since you decided to claim.
You will need to repay all the benefits you received in order to reverse your decision.
To suspend or withdraw your application, you can ask the Social Security Administration (SSA) either over the phone or in writing.
Suspend benefits for a boost
If an individual is between full retirement age (FRA) and the age of 70 and is already receiving benefits, they can still stop monthly checks and restart them later in order for benefits to start growing again.
During a suspension, a person can earn delayed retirement credits, which boosts the eventual benefit by 8% each year.
You can only earn delayed retirement credits until the age of 70 though, meaning there’s no point to delay them further beyond that.
How does Social Security work?
The majority of Americans pay 6.2 percent of their salaries into the Social Security system, with employers matching that proportion, according to US News.
Self-employed people contribute 12.4 percent of their earnings to Social Security.
Workers who have contributed enough to the system can begin collecting retirement benefits at the age of 62 or older.
If you become handicapped, you may be eligible for benefits, and if you die, your family members may be entitled to survivor’s payments.
Social Security wage limit, continued
For people who reach full retirement age in 2020, the earnings cap increases to $48,600, and the penalty is reduced to $1 withheld for every $3 earned above the maximum, per US News.
Your benefit will be adjusted after you reach full retirement age, taking into account your withheld benefit and ongoing wages.
After you reach full retirement age, you can earn any amount you choose without being subject to Social Security withholding.
What is the Social Security wage limit?
You can work and collect benefits from Social Security at the same time. If you haven’t reached full retirement age, though, half of all of your Social Security benefits may be withheld temporarily.
In 2020, Social Security beneficiaries under the age of full retirement can earn up to $18,240 before losing one dollar of benefits for every $2 earned over the limit, according to US News.
States without supplemental payments
The following states do not provide funds in addition to the federal SSI payment:
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
- Northern Mariana Islands
Supplemental payments, continued
In these states, Social Security administers some categories of state supplement payments, and the state administers other categories of supplemental payments:
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- Washington, DC
The following states pay and administer their own supplemental payments, in addition to the basic federal SSI monthly payment:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
The basic monthly maximum SSI payment for one person is $841, according to the Social Security Administration, and if you are a couple, you will receive $1,261.
And you may get more if you live in a state that supplements the federal SSI payment.
Amounts vary by state but, for example, New York offers an extra $87 a month for individuals or $104 for couples.
Elsewhere, Alabama couples can get a $120 boost.
Filing requirements for dependents, part three
Married dependents below 65 and who aren’t blind must file a return if any of the following apply.
- Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions.
- Your unearned income was more than $2,450 ($3,800 if 65 or older and blind).
- Your earned income was more than $13,900 ($15,250 if 65 or older and blind).
- Your gross income was more than the larger of—
$2,450 ($3,800 if 65 or older and blind), or
Your earned income (up to $12,200) plus $1,700 ($3,050 if 65 or older and blind).
You can find the full income requirement details on the IRS website.
Filing requirements for dependents, continued
Single dependents below 65 and who aren’t blind must file a return if any of the following apply.
- Your unearned income was more than $2,800 ($4,500 if 65 or older and blind).
- Your earned income was more than $14,250 ($15,950 if 65 or older and blind).
- Your gross income was more than the larger of—
$2,800 ($4,500 if 65 or older and blind), or
Your earned income (up to $12,200) plus $2,050 ($3,750 if 65 or older and blind).
Filing requirements for dependents
Even if a person is claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return, the person will generally have to file their own tax return if the person’s total income is more than the standard deduction.
Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and taxable scholarships and fellowship grants.
While unearned income includes taxable interest, ordinary dividends, capital gain distributions, unemployment compensation, taxable Social Security benefits, pensions, annuities, and distributions from a trust.
Social Security changes: earnings limit increase, continued
However, starting from 2022, this threshold will increase to $19,560.
If you reach full retirement age in 2022, you’ll be able to earn $51,960 next year – up by $1,440 from the 2021 annual limit of $50,520.
In that event, $1 is withheld for every $3 earned over that threshold.
If you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67. For others, it’s 66 and a specific number of months.
Social Security changes: earnings limit increase
Social Security claimants can expect a number of changes to their benefits next month.
If you work while collecting Social Security benefits, then your benefits may be reduced, depending on how much you earn.
If your income is more than $18,960 during 2021, the SSA will withhold $1 for every $2 you earn over the limit if you’re below the full retirement age.
Social Security changes: credit-earning threshold hike
If you were born in 1929 or later, you must earn at least 40 credits over your working life to qualify for Social Security benefits.
This is set at a maximum of four per year.
The amount it takes to earn a single credit goes up slightly each year – and it’ll increase from $1,470 in 2021 to $1,510 in 2022 – a hike of $40.
Meanwhile, the number of credits needed for disability depends on your age when you become disabled.
How does Social Security calculate COLA?
Your Social Security payout is usually adjusted for inflation each year to ensure that your benefits’ buying power is not diminished by rising costs.
The cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is a government gauge of consumer prices for a range of products and services that are used to track inflation.
Benefits grow if this price index shows a noticeable increase (at least 0.1 percent) from year to year.
The cost-of-living raise for 2022 will be 5.9 percent, increasing benefits by an average of $92 per month beginning in January.
This is the highest increase since 1982, caused by a jump in pricing for several items during the COVID-19 epidemic.
In 2021, 1.3 percent, 1.6 percent in 2020, and 2.8 percent in 2019, the COLA was 1.3 percent, 1.6 percent in 2020, and 2.8 percent in 2019.
Can you select your representative payee?
Only the SSA has the authority to designate a representative payee to handle payments for someone who is unable to do so for themselves, such as a minor, a person with a significant physical disability, or an older adult with cognitive impairments.
You can, however, choose up to three people ahead of time to act as your payee in the event that the need arises, according to AARP.
What is a representative payee?
A representative payee is a person or institution designated by Social Security to administer benefit payments on behalf of someone who is unable to do so on their own, such as a minor child, a seriously incapacitated person, or a retiree with advanced dementia.
According to AARP, around 5million Social Security claimants (or 7.7 percent of the total benefit population) have representative payees as of December 2020.
Can you get Social Security while working?
Yes, you may collect Social Security payments while still employed.
You can work and earn as much as you like once you’ve achieved full retirement age and still receive full benefits.
Your benefits will be temporarily lowered if you are beneath the age of full retirement.
The money, on the other hand, is not lost.
When you reach full retirement age, Social Security will credit it to your record, resulting in a greater benefit.
How much do you pay toward Social Security?
Workers contributed 6.2 percent of their earnings into Social Security up to $142,800 in 2021 and $147,000 in 2022.
Employers also contribute 6.2 percent.
Self-employed individuals must pay both components of the tax or 12.4 percent.
Stopping Social Security payments
The SSA is unable to pay benefits for the month in which a person dies.
That implies that if the individual died in July, the August check must be returned.
If the payment was made by direct deposit, please tell the financial institution as soon as possible so that any payments made after your death can be returned.
When a person receiving Social Security benefits dies, family members may be eligible for survivors payments.
Reporting the death of a SS beneficiary
The death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits must be reported.
Both are processed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
To report a death, follow these steps:
- Give the funeral director the deceased person’s Social Security number so that the SSA can be notified of the death.
- Make an appointment with your local Social Security office. To file a report, call the SSA’s main line at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
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