Social Security was established in 1935 to alleviate poverty among the elderly during the Great Depression. It was created as a self-financing program that would collect payroll taxes from workers which would immediately be paid out in benefits to retirees.
Millions of Americans depend on Social Security. For many, it is their primary source of retirement income. For others, it is an important supplement to pensions and personal savings.
Unlike other sources of retirement income, Social Security offers a unique combination of benefits.
There are three ways to apply for Social Security:
Information and documents you will need to provide
Have ready the following when you make your application:
Medicare and Social Security used to go hand in hand. When full retirement age was 65 for everyone, most people would apply for Social Security and Medicare at the same time. But now that full retirement age is increasing, baby boomers will become eligible for Medicare at 65, before they become eligible for full Social Security benefits at 66.
The most important thing to know about Medicare is that unless you are receiving Social Security benefits at age 65 (that is, you applied for early reduced benefits), you must proactively apply for medicare when you turn 65. If you don't apply in a timely manner, a 10% penalty will be added to your Part B premiums for each 12-month period that you go without applying after becoming eligible. This penalty will continue for the rest of your life. (An exception exists if you are covered under a group health plan that covers 20 or more employees and is based on current employment. In this case you have a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Part B and may defer Medicare enrollment without penalty until your group coverage ends.)
For more information on Medicare, click here.