December, 2020

Social Security December Newsletter

Social Security Spotlight: Disability Benefits
RSSA | Social Security Newsletter | December 2020

December 2020 Newsletter

Top Stories

Say Hello To 2021 And These 5 Social Security Changes

Source: RSSA

“In 2020, the maximum taxable earnings limit was $137,700. In 2021, the limit has been increased to $142,800. Earnings that exceed $142,800 will not be subject to the Social Security payroll tax. Keep in mind, there is no limit for the Medicare payroll tax…”

Protect Yourself From Social Security and Tax Scams

Source: RSSA

“The SSA wants you to be cautious of telephone impersonation calls. According to the SSA, ‘These calls include scammers pretending to be government employees or requesting cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for purported Social Security number problems’…”

Top 10 Retirement Tips For 2021

Source: Forbes

“Regardless of your particular financial situation, the same retirement principles apply this year as always: reduce spending, plan for surprises, make conservative decisions on retirement savings and Social Security, and keep earning income if you can…”

Who’s claiming Social Security benefits first? You or your spouse?
Source: USA Today

“Social Security benefits can make a huge difference in your retirement, so it’s important to ensure you’re making the most of them. Creating a strategy for when you and your spouse will claim can help maximize your income in retirement…”

Martha Shedden is the President &
Co-Founder of RSSA.
Ask Martha
This month’s featured question: My first husband passed away in 2006 and my children received survivor benefits until they were 18. I remarried, but I am now divorced from my second husband, who is not deceased. Can I receive benefits from my first husband’s Social Security since it is higher than mine? I just turned 61, not working, and my benefits will be around $1,000 at age 62.
Martha’s response: Yes, you should be eligible to receive survivor benefits based on your first husband’s earnings record. The monthly amount of survivor benefits you will receive is based on your first husband’s earnings and the age at which you will collect the benefit. There is also a possibility for you to collect the survivor benefit and later switch to your retirement benefit if it becomes the higher amount in a future year…
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 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.
Success Story Of The Month
Sherrie, RSSA Client, New Jersey
I am so happy I chose to work with my RSSA, Tom.

To give some background, I am 57 years old, working full-time, and caring for 2 children. I was married for 18 years before getting divorced. My ex-husband is 61 years old. I wasn’t sure the right way to file for benefits so I’m really glad I chose to work with Tom.

After taking my necessary information and using a special software, Tom showed me that I had over 20,000 claiming strategies. I couldn’t believe there were this many different options to choose from. Luckily, he was able to show me which strategy would give me the most amount of money in my lifetime (in Social Security benefits) as well as comparing that to other options I had in mind. I now feel confident in my current and future decisions when it comes to Social Security!
*Identifying details have been changed or omitted.
Finance Professionals: A Social Security Webinar Now On Demand
Use password RSSAwebinar1021 to access this free webinar recording.
RSSA co-founders, Michael Rosedale & Martha Shedden presented at the virtual Accounting & Finance Show back in October. Learn how to add client value and a new revenue to your practice by becoming a Social Security expert.
Train To Become A Social Security Expert
5 Self-Study Courses Available

Are you a finance or state-licensed professional?

Offer Social Security advisory services to your clients. Become a Social Security expert while earning continuing education credits through our self-study program.

Are you looking for a new career?

Launch and run your own Social Security consulting business. From technical-training to coach-led business planning, we are with you every step of the way. Take the 5-course program to get started.

Get Social Security Help Right From Home.
Meet with a RSSA® Virtually.
Most people don’t make optimal filing decisions and therefore, lose out on money they are entitled to. A RSSA® can help you maximize your Social Security benefits and support you in making the best decisions for your particular situation. A RSSA® can work with you in-person or completely virtually. Request a consultation today.
Our mission is to help Americans get the maximum Social Security income they are entitled to, enabling them to enjoy their lives more fully.
RSSA is administered by NARSSA, the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts. NARSSA provides a comprehensive online platform for professionals to gain Social Security knowledge and earn the RSSA credential.
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