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Social Security questions and answers

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By Ruqayyah Nicholas
Social Security District Manager Gainesville

Question:
How do you replace a damaged Social Security card?
Answer:
While you can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen, you may not have to do so. Knowing your Social Security number is what is most important. You may need a new card if you are starting a new job and your employer asks to see the card. For more information about getting a replacement card, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Question:
How much difference will it make if I defer retirement benefits until age 70?
Answer:
It can be significant. Let’s say your full retirement age is 66 and your monthly benefit starting at that age is $1,000. If you choose to defer receiving benefits until age 70, you would increase your monthly benefit amount to $1,320. That’s almost an extra $4,000 each year for the rest of your life. This increase is from delayed retirement credits you receive for your decision to postpone receiving benefits past your full retirement age. The benefit amount at age 70, in this example is 32 percent more than you would receive per month if you chose to start getting benefits at full retirement age. And, this higher benefit would continue for as long as you live. You can estimate your future benefits at different ages using our Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Question:
I receive my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on the first of the month. What happens when the first of the month falls on a Saturday?
Answer:
If you receive an SSI payment on the first of the month, and the first of the month falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, your payment should arrive on the previous banking day. For more information, visit our Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/calendar.htm. Keep the reference handy. And remember, if you have direct deposit, you’ll never have to wait for your payment to arrive in your mailbox; it will be directly deposited into your account.

Question:
I applied for disability benefits three months ago and still haven’t received an answer. When should I expect to be notified of the decision?
Answer:
The length of time it takes to receive a decision on your disability claim is usually from three to five months. It can vary depending on several factors, but primarily on:
The nature of your disability;
How quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor or other medical source;
Whether it is necessary to send you for a medical examination to obtain evidence to support your claim; and
Whether your claim is randomly selected for quality assurance review of the decision.
The more information you can provide about your disability and medical providers during the initial application, the more likely the process will go faster. The best way to prepare for a disability application is to use the Disability Starter Kit located online at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits.htm.

Question:
When is open season for enrolling in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

Answer:
The Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program Open Season this year runs from November 15 to December 31. Joining a Medicare prescription drug plan is voluntary, and participants pay an additional monthly premium for the coverage. Some people with limited resources and income are eligible for Extra Help to pay for monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. To learn more about the Medicare prescription drug plan, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048). To apply for Extra Help, complete the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp.