It can take as little as 15 minutes to complete the online
application. In most cases, once your application is submitted
electronically, you're done. There are no forms to sign and usually
no documentation to mail in. Social Security will process your
application and contact you if any further information is needed.
There's no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait
for an appointment with a Social Security representative. To retire
online, go to www.socialsecurity.gov.
I have never worked, but my spouse has. What will my Social
Security benefit be?
You can be entitled to as much as one-half of your spouse's
benefit amount if you start your benefits when you reach full
retirement age. If you want to get Social Security retirement
benefits before you reach full retirement age, the amount of your
benefit will be reduced. The amount of reduction depends on when you
will reach full retirement age.
For example, if your full retirement age is 66, you can get
35 percent of your spouse's unreduced benefit at age 62. The amount
of your benefit increases at later ages up to the maximum of 50
percent if you retire at full retirement age. However, if you are
taking care of a child who is under age 16 or who gets Social
Security disability benefits, you get full benefits, regardless of
your age. Learn more at
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My mom is interested in getting help with her Medicare Part D
prescription costs, but she has about $10,000 in the bank. Would she
still be eligible?
Based solely on the bank account balance you mention, yes.
However, there are other factors to consider as well, including your
mom's income. If your mother has other resources, they may be
included too. This year a person's total resources are, in most
cases, limited to $13,070 (or $26,120 if married and living with
spouse) to qualify for Extra Help with Medicare prescription
drug costs. The resource limits shown on the application include a
$1,500 per person exclusion for burial purposes. Resources include
the value of the things you own, such as real estate (other than the
place you live), cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and retirement
accounts like IRAs or 401ks. There are exceptions. Read more about
how to qualify and apply for the Extra Help at
[By JUDITH BARTELS,
Social Security district manager