April, 2022

Social Security April Newsletter

Social Security Spotlight: Disability Benefits
NARSSA | Social Security Newsletter | April 2022
April 2022 Newsletter


Hi There. Please enjoy reading our April newsletter filled with news and information on Social Security, retirement, and Tax Season. Please reach out at info@rssa.com with any feedback on our newsletters. We are always happy to hear from you!


NARSSA Announcements  


NARSSA Announces Partnership with the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA): Enrolled Agents are a natural resource to help their clients navigate the complex Social Security rules and to help them optimize and maximize their benefits. NARSSA and NAEA will be collaborating on several initiatives to promote Social Security education to NAEA’s membership base. Read the press release.


Catch up with Devin  


If you have a deceased spouse (or ex-spouse) you need to know about a strategy that can supercharge your survivor benefits. Watch this video as Devin Carroll, RSSA explains what you need to know about maximizing Social Security survivor benefits. Watch now.


Top Story


Local Social Security Offices Reopen to the Public

Source: RSSA


As of Thursday April 7, 2022, local Social Security Administration offices are back open and have restored in-person services for people with or without appointments. The SSA still encourages people to take advantage of online services and phone appointments as local offices will expect long lines and delays. 



Tax Season 2022


Tax Season is coming to an end. The last day to file taxes is next week on Monday, April 18. Tax Season comes with many questions including ones on the topic of Social Security. NARSSA’s Co-Founder and President Martha Shedden wrote two informative articles for ThinkAdvisor during last year’s Tax Season and they are just as relevant today. Check them out.


3 Things Advisors Should Know About Social Security and Taxes

“Understanding how Social Security income taxation works and being able to explain it to clients so you can help them manage it is a valuable service…” Read the full story.


How to Minimize Taxes When Social Security, RMDs Kick In

“For retirees hoping to start collecting Social Security at full retirement age or later, drawing down fully taxable retirement account balances prior to age 72 can be used to bridge the income gap in the intervening years…” Read the full story.



Ask Martha  

Question: After filing for Social Security at age 63 and receiving 5 payments, I received a letter from Social Security saying I needed to pay the money back because I would make too much. Am I required to pay that money back, if so, why?
Martha’s response: If you began collecting before your Full Retirement Age (FRA) and continue to work you may be subject to the “Earnings Test.” This means that there is a limit on the amount you can make while collecting your Social Security benefits. Yes, you are required to pay them back. Without doing so, you will not receive any more Social Security in the future until it has been paid…Read Martha’s full response or ask Martha your own question.


Social Security Spotlight: Disability Benefits


What are disability benefits? Social Security disability benefits are benefits paid to disabled workers and their dependent beneficiaries. Just like Social Security retirement benefits, FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes also cover the cost of Social Security disability benefits. FICA taxes are payroll deductions paid by you and your employer.

What are the eligibility requirements for disability benefits? To be eligible to receive disability benefits, a worker must meet two eligibility requirements: work requirements and medical requirements. More information below.

What are the work requirements to receive disability benefits? To be eligible to receive disability benefits, a worker must have enough “substantial lifetime work” in order to be insured. Substantial lifetime work means that the worker has 1.5 to 10+ years of work paying into the Social Security system (6 to 40+ work credits). Most people will need the 10+ years of work or 40+ credits, but younger workers may qualify with less work credits. In addition to substantial lifetime work, the worker must also meet the criteria for “recent work” in covered employment (paying FICA taxes) prior to onset of the disability. Recent work refers to the required recent employment paying into the system and the amount needed is based on the age of disability onset.

What are the medical requirements to receive disability benefits? The Social Security program has a very “strict” definition of disability, and it may be different from other disability programs. Even many people with common medical conditions such as cancer or psychiatric disorders will not be approved for benefits. To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, the worker must be unable to work due to a medical condition that is expected to last a minimum of one year or result in death. To meet this definition, the medical condition must be severe enough that you cannot do the work you did before and cannot adjust to other work due to the condition.

How do you apply for disability benefits? To apply for disability benefits, you need to complete an application either in person, on the phone, or online. You can find the online application at www.socialsecurity.gov. The SSA will review your application to ensure it meets basic requirements and then it will be sent to your state’s Disability Determination Services office. This state agency will determine whether or not your application has been approved. Processing of the application can take a few months, so it is important that you apply as soon as you become disabled. You will receive a letter in the mail with the final decision.


Learn more about disability benefits.


Case Study of the Month  


A client has been on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) since she was 51. One of her retirement goals is to live comfortably and hopefully pass on an inheritance to her children. She is expecting to live a relatively long life and is not reliant on her SSDI income. SSDI benefit amount is equal to a person’s primary insurance amount (PIA) – their retirement benefit amount at full retirement age (FRA). Thus, to maximize her amount, I recommended a strategy called “suspend and reinstate.” Once she reaches her FRA in a few months, she will suspend her benefit. This will stop her benefit payments, and her benefit amount will grow with delayed retirement benefits, as if she hadn’t started collecting. Benefits automatically will reinstate at 70, if she doesn’t request to begin them again sooner. With an FRA of 66 and 4 months, her benefit can grow up to 126.7% of her PIA.


Listen up: Podcasts by the RSSA Team  

Social Security: Answers From The Experts

Each week, Martha Shedden meets with financial experts to discuss important issues on Social Security and retirement planning. Her latest guest was Corey Metzman, COO and Co-Founder of Chapter, a Medicare organization. Listen now.


The Devin Carroll Show

The Devin Carroll Show sponsored by NARSSA is a caller-driven show that helps you simplify the complicated Social Security rules so you can get every dollar in benefits you deserve. Listen now.


Consult with an RSSA to optimize your benefits  

Most people make a sub-optimal filing decision, losing out on money they are entitled to. An RSSA can help you optimize your Social Security benefits and support you in making the best decisions for your personal situation. Get help now.


Train to become a Social Security expert  

Are you a financial or state-licensed professional? Download our free white paper and discover the benefits of becoming a Social Security expert and offering Social Security advisory services to your clients. Ready to get started with our self-study program? Sign up now.


Advisor Support Program

Are you a financial advisor, CPA, lawyer or NARSSA member with clients that need help with Social Security? Join our Advisor Support Program. We can help your clients take advantage of strategies that may yield hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional lifetime benefits. It’s simple. Enter your client’s information into the secure portal and we’ll provide you with a percentage of the invoice. Learn more.

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