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Frequently Asked Questions On Illinois Social Security BenefitsCan I apply for social security benefits on the internet?
Yes. You can now apply for Social Security Retirement benefits, Spouse's benefits or Disability benefits online by going to http://www.ssa.gov/applyforbenefits/ and following the instructions.
Can I file for disability benefits online?
Yes, you may file for Social Security Disability Benefits online. Go to http://www.ssa.gov/applyforbenefits/ to begin your application.
What are the disability requirements for an adult?
The definition of disability in the Social Security law is a strict one. To be eligible for benefits, a person must be unable to do any kind of substantial gainful work because of a physical or mental impairment (or a combination of impairments), which is expected either:
to last at least 12 months, or
to end in death.
If, because of a medical condition, a person cannot do the work that they performed in the past, then age, education, and past work experience must be considered in determining whether the person can do other work. If the evidence shows that the person can do other work, even if it involves different skills or pays less than their previous work, they cannot be considered disabled for Social Security purposes.
How are my retirement benefits calculated?
Social Security benefits are based on earnings averaged over most of a worker's lifetime. Your actual earnings are first adjusted or "indexed" to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then we calculate your average monthly indexed earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. We apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit, or "primary insurance amount" (PIA). This is the amount you would receive at your full retirement age, for most people, age 65. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age will gradually increase until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959. For more information, see http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/ageincrease.htm
How much can I earn and still receive disability benefits?
We evaluate the work activity of persons claiming or receiving disability benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance. Beginning January 1, 2003 a Social Security Disability beneficiary can earn $800 a month and remain eligible for benefits. The amount for 2002 was $780. The Social Security Administration uses the term "substantial gainful activity" (SGA) to determine if work is substantial enough to make a person ineligible for benefits. Under the new rule monthly SGA earnings limits will be automatically adjusted annually based on increases in the national average wage index. This amount applies to people with disabilities other than blindness.
If you are blind, effective January 2002, earnings averaging over $1,300 a month generally demonstrate SGA. For January 2003, the blind SGA amount was increased to $1,330.
What is the maximum social security retirement benefit?
The maximum benefit depends on the age at which a worker chooses to retire. The amounts for 2003 range from $1,404 for a person retiring at age 62 to $2,045 for a person retiring at age 70. These are based on earnings at the maximum taxable amount for every year after age 21. You can see the maximum amount of taxable earnings for each year at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/cbb.html.
For more historical rates, see http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/exampleMax.html.
If a husband and wife retire, each receives his or her own benefit amount. Social Security imposes no "marriage penalty" when two members of a couple are each entitled on their own earnings record.
You can file for retirement benefits online at line http://www.ssa.gov/applyforbenefits.
Can I receive reduced retirement benefits at age 62 under my record
then at full retirement age receive full spouse's benefits?
The following information explains two provisions when an individual is entitled to their own retirement benefit and is entitled to additional benefits as a spouse.
1. An individual is filing for both their own retirement benefit and benefits on their spouse's record concurrently.
One of the provisions of the Social Security Act provides that whenever an individual files for reduced retirement or spouse's benefits, that individual is "deemed" to have filed for the other benefit as well. Essentially, this means that if an individual is eligible for both retirement and spouse's benefits in the initial month of entitlement, then he/she must legally be entitled to both benefits. An individual cannot restrict an application in order to avoid the deemed filing provisions of the law.
2. An individual is filing for their own retirement benefit but is not eligible to file for spouse's benefits on their husband/wife's record until they become entitled.
An individual can elect to receive their own retirement benefit as early as age 62, but their benefit will be permanently reduced for each month before the full retirement age. If the individual is due additional benefits as a spouse, as soon as the husband/wife on whose record they are eligible starts receiving Social Security benefits, then the spouse's benefits are payable. If payment of spouse benefits occurs before full retirement age, the benefit is reduced each month between the entitlement date to spouse's benefits and their full retirement age.
You can file for retirement benefits online at http://www.ssa.gov/applyforbenefits
In the most common social security benefit claims in Illinois and individual must apply and be rejected twice before an Illinois attorney can be involved in the social security claim. We know many great Chicago attorneys, Peoria attorneys, Rockford attorneys, Waukegan lawyers, Belleville lawyers and other lawyers in Illinois that have handled social security cases with great success. If you would like a referral to one of these Illinois lawyers please contact us.
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