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For many people, the Social Security feature begins and ends with a monthly payment. And it is quite certain that ensuring that the services are delivered on time and in full to tens of thousands of older adults, people with disabilities and members of their families 12 times a year is the task of the Agency.
But over his history, The Social Security Administration (SSA) has added several special services to help clients (it’s you and me) deal with urgent medical, family and financial problems. Here are some of the lesser known things Social Security can do for you.
Accelerated disability claim
At the end of 2021, the average processing time for a social security disability requirement was more than five months. And this is only the first application; it can take many more months, even years appeal a claim it is rejected first.
Such waiting times can be especially difficult for people with severe or worsening illnesses. That is why SSA established Compassionate supplement program, a list of more than 250 serious medical conditions that by definition meet Social Security’s standard for disability. Applications for Social insurance disability insurance (SSDI) or Supplementary security income (SSI), which involves these conditions, is automatically marked for fast tracking and can be approved within a few days.
Learn more about pity services and other ways social security can quick disability decisions.
2. Representative payees
Not all social security beneficiaries are able to manage their own benefit payments. Some have cognitive impairment or developmental disabilities; some are little children. In such cases, Social Security may appoint a person to act as the recipient’s representative payee.
A representative payee has the authority to receive another person’s benefits and use them to meet that person’s essential needs, such as food, shelter, and health care. It is typically a family member or friend, but organizations such as nursing homes can also fill the role. It is a serious job that requires care: Social security holds payees responsible for how they use benefits, and they are strictly forbidden to use the money for their own use.
Learn more about how you become and function as one Social security representative payee.
3. Help with Medicare medicine costs
Extra Help, a program run by Social Security and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), can reduce the cost of prescription drugs for low-income Medicare recipients by an estimated $ 5,100 per year. The support can be set in the direction of premiums, deductions and deductibles related to a Medicare medication plan.
The program is open to residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia who are enrolled in Medicare Part A and / or Medicare Part B and have an income of up to $ 20,385 for one person or $ 27,465 for a married couple living together. There is also strict limits on financial assets such as savings, investments and property other than your primary residence.
Learn more about Extra utility.
4. Translation and interpretation
Like everyone else, people who speak little or no English may be able to talk to Social Security staff about benefits or other concerns. To address this, Social Security provides free interpreting service to anyone who requests or demonstrates a need for language assistance.
Languages that the agency can translate by phone call or office visit include Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Farsi, French, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. To request an interpreter, call Social Security at 800-772-1213. SSA also provides written material in multiple languages on its website.
Learn more about social security services for people with limited English skills.
5. International agreements on social security
Many Americans work in Foreign countries, and many foreign nationals work in the United States. People in both situations may be subject to double payroll taxation: having to pay into two countries’ pension systems from the same payroll.
To minimize this risk, Social Security has negotiated agreements with 30 countries having comparable programs for retirees. These pacts generally stipulate that workers only have to pay payroll tax to one country’s pension system at a time. They also allow workers covered by the agreements to gather credits they have earned from employment in more than one country to ensure that they are entitled to pension benefits in the country in which they are entitled.
Learn more about what social security is like international agreements work.
Proof of income
To apply for a loan or for a government benefit such as Food stamps or housing allowance require you to prove that your income is high enough to give you a good credit risk or low enough to make you eligible for support. If this income includes social benefits, you can get the proof you need in minutes via SSA’s online My Social Security service.
With a My social security account, you can quickly customize, download, and print a copy of your benefit confirmation letter, which serves as proof of your Social Security income. You can also use your account to review your earnings history, check current or future benefits, order a Social Security or Medicare replacement card, and access other social security services.
Learn more about getting one letter confirming benefits.
7. Benefits for grandchildren
Nearly 3 million children in the United States are raised by a grandparent, according to one examination published in the September 2020 issue of the journal Pediatrics. Many of them may be eligible for social security benefits on the basis of this relationship.
In general, if you provide at least half of a minor grandchild’s financial support and the natural parents are dead, disabled or otherwise unable to regularly contribute to this support, the child may collect dependent or survivors’ benefits when you retire, become disabled or die. If you are already on social security when a grandchild comes into your custody, you must legally adopt the child in order for it to receive benefits on your medical record.
Learn more about Social benefits for grandchildren.
8. Baby names galore
SSA is there for new parents who can apply for the baby’s CPR number before they even leave the hospital. (And it’s a good idea to do so: You need to use the number to claim the child as breadwinner on your next tax return and get him or her medical coverage, among other things).
A nice byproduct of this early involvement is that Social Security is the preferred resource for everything when it comes to baby names. SSA famously publishes an annual list of the most popular choices (Olivia has been the No. 1 girl name since 2019; Liam has led for boys since 2017), but its baby names index also lets you search for top names by year, decade and state and see how your own handle (or any other) has held up over time. It’s a treasure trove of ideas to name your newborn, and of cultural data for nomenclature geeks.
Learn more about how to get a CPR number for a new baby.
Editor’s Note: This article, originally published on September 10, 2020, has been updated with more recent information.
Andy Markowitz is a contributing writer and editor for AARP covering social security and fraud. He is a former editor of The Prague Post and Baltimore City Paper.