The people's voice of reason

THIS NEW YEAR – LEARN ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY

Social Security programs touch the lives of more than 71 million people. We work hard to ensure critical benefits and other services are accessible to you. Consider the start of the new year as an opportunity for you to engage with Social Security online. This begins with creating your free and secure personal my Social Security account at http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount. Once you create an account, you can:

• Apply for retirement, spouses, or disability benefits.

• Apply for Medicare.

• Check your application status.

• Request a replacement Social Security number card.

If you do not receive Social Security benefits, you can use your personal

my Social Security account to:

• Get personalized retirement benefit estimates.

• Get your Social Security Statement.

• Get estimates for spouse’s benefits.

• Get instant proof that you do not receive benefits.

If you receive benefits, you can use your personal my Social Security account to:

• Change your address (Social Security benefits only).

• Set up or change your direct deposit information (Social Security benefits only).

• Instantly get proof of benefits.

• Print your SSA-1099.

Your personal my Social Security account has a secure Message Center. You can choose to receive the annual cost-of-living adjustments and the Medicare income-related monthly adjustment amount online. Unless you opt-out of receiving notices by mail that are available online, you will receive both mailed and online notices.Your personal my Social Security account offers easy access to features that save you time when you do business with us online. Check out our other resources available at:

http://www.ssa.gov/onlineservices for your convenience.

IF YOU DID NOT APPLY FOR MEDICARE PART B (medical insurance)

within three months before or after turning age 65, you have another chance each year during the General Enrollment Period. The period runs from January 1 to March 31 every year.

If you don’t enroll in Part B when you’re first eligible for it, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage.

Your monthly premium will increase 10% for each 12-month period that you were eligible for Part B but did not sign up for it. Your coverage starts the first day of the month after you sign up.

To learn more about Medicare, please visit our Medicare Benefits page at http://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare. You may also read our publication at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf.

5 THINGS TO KNOW WHEN YOUR CHILD WITH DISABILITIES TURNS 18

When your child turns 18 years old, they legally become an adult. This is an

important time to consider their financial future – especially if they need

additional care into adulthood. Here are 5 things that may help you prepare

for this milestone:

1. Health and Welfare Decision-making

• When your child legally becomes an adult, you can no longer make certain

decisions for them about their health and welfare. However, you can stay

involved through:

• A Representative Payee: Social Security will determine who best serves

as a Representative Payee for your child’s benefits. To learn more about the

Representative Payee program, read our webpage at:

http://www.ssa.gov/payee/index.htm.

• Guardianship: This requires court involvement. It may be necessary if

your child can’t execute a power of attorney. Please consult an attorney for

assistance.

2. Changes in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Eligibility

•. SSI provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or

blindness who have income and resources below specific financial limits.

• If your child receives SSI, when they turn 18 we will review their

eligibility for continued SSI payments based on the disability rules for adults.

For more information, please review the publication, What You Need To

Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18

at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-11005.pdf. Please be sure to review this with

your child. We also encourage you to check out Social Security’s Youth Resources

page at http://www.ssa.gov/youth.

3. Education Transitions

• If your child attends public school, they have a few options to continue

their education, such as pursuing:

• A diploma: They may pursue further education in college or trade programs

with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). More information on the

IEP is available at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-64-118.pdf.

• A certificate: They may have the opportunity to continue in a

transitional program in their high school even after they complete their senior

year. Most are permitted to remain until they turn 22.

• Employment: Local Vocational Rehabilitation Services can assist with

employment options during pre-graduation IEP meetings.

4. Support for Living Arrangements

• Once your child turns 18, they may choose or qualify for different living

arrangements depending on the services they already receive. If your child

receives therapy services at school, how will they receive them once they

leave? They could receive them through a Medicaid waiver or private insurance.

• Qualification for respite services may also look different. Respite services

allow family caregivers time to step away from their duties. It is essential

you understand all the benefits and options available to your child after they

complete high school before deciding on living arrangements and services.

5. Financial Protections

• Special Needs Trust: Update estate planning documents before your

child turns 18. Otherwise, inheritance may terminate your child’s governmental

benefits.

• ABLE Account: You can deposit funds into this account up to a certain

limit each year; however, there are limits on what its funding covers.

More information on ABLE accounts is available at

http://www.ssa.gov/payee/able_accounts.htm

• Children receiving benefits on a parent’s record may continue to receive

those benefits until age 19 if they’re a full-time elementary or secondary

school student. People who have a qualifying disability that began before age

22 may also be eligible to receive child’s benefits at any age. For more information,

please review the publication, Benefits for Children at

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10085.pdf.

• As your child turns 18, consider these issues while you navigate their financial

future. For more information, please contact the Special Needs Alliance

at http://www.specialneedsalliance.org/contact-us or visit the Social Security

website at http://www.ssa.gov.

GENERAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR MEDICARE PART B

Scams to steal your personal information are at an all-time high. That’s

why it remains critical to safeguard important personal documents like

your Social Security card. A Social Security card is not an identification

document. In many situations, you only need to know your Social

Security number (SSN). Your physical card is not necessary for most

business needs.

Do you need evidence for work? There are several documents you can

use instead of your card. These include:

• Birth Certificate.

• Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt.

• Employment Authorization Document.

• Form I-94 or Form I-94A.

You do not need to show your physical card to apply for certain benefits.

You can simply provide your SSN for benefits like:

• Housing.

• Health insurance.

• Food assistance.

You should also know your physical card is not required as evidence for

the Department of Motor Vehicles. The only state that requires a physical

card is Pennsylvania. For all other states, acceptable evidence includes:

• W-2 forms.

• Form SSA-1099.

• Non-SSA-1099 forms.

• Pay stubs.

Keeping your card at home reduces the risk of loss or theft – and helps

you keep your information safe. To learn more about keeping your

card and information safe, please visit our Fraud Prevention and

Reporting webpage at http://www.ssa.gov/fraud.

HOW PROVIDING RACE AND ETHNICITY DATA HELPS ALL CUSTOMERS

We are continuously working to better understand how Social Security’s

programs serve the public. Collecting race and ethnicity data for research

and statistical purposes i s one w a y f or us to determine whether we ar e

equitably s erving the public. Applicants and customers may volu ntarily

provide this infor mation. It d o e s n o t a ff e c t d e c i s i o n s o n b e n e f i t

applications.

Why does it matter if people provide race and ethnicity data? When

customers choose to provide race and ethnicity information, it lets us know:

• W ho o ur ben e fit pa yments and pro grams are help ing and who

may be left out.

• What unintended barriers may impact benefits and services.

• Where to expand outreach efforts.

• How to increase awareness of eligibility for programs and benefits.

In other words, race and ethnicity data can help expand access to our

programs, which is one of the objectives in our Equity Action Plan at

blog.ssa.gov/social-securitys-equity-action-plan.

Examples of how we use this information can be found on our Racial

Equity Resources webpage at http://www.ssa.gov/policy/about/racial-equityresources.

html.Currently, we collect race and ethnicity information on

applications for new or replacement Social Security number (SSN) cards.

These applications can be completed:

• Online at http://www.ssa.gov/number-card.

• At one of our local offices or card centers.

S oon, par e nts may v olun tarily provide this inf orma tio n when

requesting their n ew bor n’s SSN at the hospital. The op tio n to

provide t his data will be a vail a ble in participating states. We

encourage you to provide your race and ethnicity information on your or

your child’s application for a new or replacement SSN card. This information

w ill hel p us better understand an d serv e all our cu rrent a nd futu re

customers.

 

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