Social Security Financial Help FAQs

Often times there is confusion on what Social Security is for and who is eligible. Below is a guide to answer some of the more common questions and clear up areas of confusion. This includes accessing short-term, long-term assistance and potential loan help for those who are currently collecting Social Security.

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
This a program that is actually funded by the US Treasury’s general funds. It is however administered through the Social Security Administration. The purpose of SSI is to income assistance to low income earners who are 65 or older or dealing with a disability. This stipend is to help those under minimum income thresholds be able to meet the cost of living for essential needs such as food, shelter and clothing.

What are the benefits of Social Security?
Benefits are determined by upon the tax payer’s income level and may be taxed. If you are receiving Social Security due to a disability, it will most likely be tax free. Benefits are paid out monthly to those who have worked and paid into the system.

Am I eligible for Social Security?
The specific eligibility requirements for Social Security benefits vary based on the type of benefits you are after and your specific circumstances. In general, if you are after retirement benefits, you must be between 62 and 70 years of age. Note that the longer you wait to start collecting benefits, the more you may receive. You must have also worked and accumulated at least 40 quarters of work in “covered employment”

For Social Security Disability and SSI you must have a severe medical condition that will last for at least 12 months. Those who are partially or completely blind may also qualify.

How to apply for social security?
There are essentially 3 main ways to apply – 1. Online using the site. 2. By phone, calling 1 800 772 1213 3. In person at one of many locations throughout the country.

In addition, if you are uncomfortable with applying yourself, you can get assistance. You are allowed to appoint a representative to assist. Learn more here

How long does it take to process my application and start receiving benefits?
You application really depends on the accuracy of your application and your specific circumstances although it can take SSA around 6 weeks to process your application and start benefits.

Can I get a Social Security loan while I wait for my benefit payments?
The Social Security office does not provide personal loans however there are lenders that may provide you with a loan should you have an alternative form of income (outside of SS). Learn about different Social Security loan options here.

Is there a way to calculate Social Security benefits?
Social Security does provide a benefits calculator which can give you an accurate idea of what your monthly benefits will be based off of your earnings record. Review the full lists of Social Security calculators here.

To get answers to additional questions on social security, simply visit the website or your nearest branch. Getting help with benefits has never been easier with multiple access points of information to help you get what you need.