Social Security Protects Children with Disabilities
For families with limited income and resources, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program helps support children with qualifying disabilities. To qualify:
- A child must have a medical condition, or a combination of conditions, which results in marked and severe functional limitations. This requirement means that the condition(s) must very seriously limit the child’s activities.
- A child’s condition(s) must be disabling, or expected to be disabling, for at least 12 months; or the condition(s) must be expected to result in death.
- A child, who is not blind, must not be working or earning more than $1,260 a month in 2020. A child who is blind must not be working or earning more than $2,110. (This amount usually changes every year.)
We consider family income and resources. If the parents of the child or children have more income and resources than are allowed, then the child or children will not qualify for SSI. Your clients can read more about children’s benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf.
Your clients can also visit www.socialsecurity.gov/people/parents to learn more about all we do for children.
Social Security Benefits Increase in 2020
Each year, we announce the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). By law, federal benefits increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
Nearly 69 million Americans will see a 1.6 percent increase in their Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments in 2020.
Other changes that will happen in January 2020 reflect the increase in the national average wage index. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax will increase from $132,900 to $137,700. The earnings limit for workers who are younger than "full" retirement age (age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954) will increase to $18,240. We deduct $1 from benefits for each $2 earned over $18,240. The earnings limit for people turning 66 in 2020 will increase to $48,600. We deduct $1 from benefits for each $3 earned over $48,600 until the month the worker turns age 66.
More information about the 2020 COLA is available at www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.
Quick and Easy W-2 Filing Options on Business Services Online
The first stop for information on W-2s, electronic filing, and verifying Social Security numbers should be www.socialsecurity.gov/bso/bsowelcome.htm. Our online suite of services offers fast, free, and secure online W-2 filing options to accountants and people who process W-2s (the Wage and Tax Statement) and W-2Cs (Statement of Corrected Income and Tax Amounts).
You must register to use these services. You can read more about electronic wage reporting at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10034.pdf.
We Have the Answers
When your clients have questions about Social Security, let them know that they can find many of the answers at our Frequently Asked Questions page at faq.ssa.gov.
We feature our most-asked questions at the top of the page to help people find quick answers to their most common questions. Your clients can also browse by topics like:
- Social Security Number
- Online Services
For detailed information on nearly all of our topics, your clients can visit our publications library at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. We make each publication available in text, audio, and downloadable formats.
Social Security Holiday Field Office Closings
We’d like to wish you “happy holidays” from our family to yours! If you need to do business with us during the holiday season, we want you and your clients to know that we will be closed on Christmas Eve, December 24, Christmas Day, December 25, and New Year’s Day, January 1.
Your clients may not need to visit or call a field office to do business with us. For a list of our secure and convenient online services, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.
Expanding Social Security Field Office Hours
Currently, a Social Security field office is generally open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to Noon on Wednesdays. Beginning on January 8, 2020, offices will remain open until 4:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, with typical field office hours from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. This change restores Wednesday public service hours that were last in place in late 2012. You can locate the closest field office to you using our field office locator.
In addition to expanding hours of service, the agency will be hiring 1,100 front line employees to provide service on the National 800 Number and in its processing centers. The agency is currently bringing onboard 100 new processing center employees and approximately 500 new teleservice representatives for the 800 Number. An additional 500 hires for the 800 Number will occur later in 2020.
“Improving service is my top priority. Increasing full public service hours at our nationwide network of more than 1,200 field offices is the right thing to do and will provide additional access,” Commissioner Saul said. “The hiring of a thousand new employees to provide service through our National 800 Number, and an additional 100 hires to process people’s Social Security benefits at our processing centers around the country are steps in the right direction in our mission to greatly improve the service we provide.”
Read our press release to learn more.
Honoring and Supporting our Veterans
In November, we honored current and former military service members for their sacrifice and service to protect our freedoms. Social Security supports millions of people and families, including veterans and active duty members of the military. While your clients are in military service, they pay Social Security taxes, just as civilian employees do.
Social Security has covered earnings for active duty military service or active duty training since 1957. You and your clients can read more about how Social Security helps military service members at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10017.pdf.
We also have special resources for veterans at www.socialsecurity.gov/veterans.
Your clients can also read this blog post written by Army veteran and Social Security employee, Dennis Stehlar, at https://blog.ssa.gov/why-i-serve-2/.
November is National Native American Heritage Month
Each November, we celebrate National Native American Heritage Month, honoring the first people to call this land home. American Indians and Alaska Natives have fortified our country with their traditions and values, contributing to every aspect of our national life.
On September 20, 2018, the Tribal Social Security Fairness Act of 2018 was signed into law. The formal recognition of these sovereign governments is a symbolic effort to restore self-governance and economic vitality to indigenous people. This law allows federally recognized Indian tribes to obtain voluntary Social Security coverage for tribal council positions through an agreement with the Commissioner of Social Security under Section 218A of the Social Security Act.
We remain committed to enhancing our relationships with tribal communities. You and your clients can learn more about how we serve American Indians and Alaska Natives at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/aian/.
National Disability Forum
Social Security will host a National Disability Forum on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, at the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, D.C. The topic will be “What Impairments Have a Likelihood to Improve?” Participants will discuss the potential effects on the disability claims and subsequent evaluation processes of disabling impairments that have the potential to improve over time.
Holiday Field Office Closings
If you plan to do business with us during the holiday season, we want you to know that our offices will be closed to the public on Christmas Day (December 25), and New Year’s Day (January 1), but our online services are available every day.
For a list of our secure and convenient online services, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.
The Clearest Writing in Government
Social Security received the highest scores in government once again this year on the 2019 Plain Language Report Card: an A+ for compliance and an A for writing quality. Social Security was the only federal agency to earn an A in each category.
Since 2012, the Center for Plain Language has graded federal agencies on compliance with the Plain Writing Act of 2010, which requires government writing to be clear, concise, and well organized.
This year, the report card concentrated on two of Social Security’s web pages: the my Social Security page at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and our Frequently Asked Question about how to get a new or replacement Social Security number card at https://faq.ssa.gov/en-US/Topic/article/KA-02017. You can view all of our questions and answers featured at https://faq.ssa.gov/.
Learn more about our agency’s commitment to communicate clearly and concisely by visiting our Plain Language page at www.socialsecurity.gov/plain-language.
New Features on my Social Security
This month, we’ve made several enhancements and have introduced two new features to my Social Security. Your clients who have a my Social Security account will now have access to:
- The new Retirement Calculator to view retirement benefit estimates that compare their selected dates or ages to begin receiving retirement benefits to retirement benefit estimates for ages 62, Full Retirement Age (FRA), and 70. Users can also vary their expected future income for inclusion in the estimate.
- The new centralized Representative Payee portal for individual representative payees to conduct their own business or manage direct deposit, wage reporting, and annual reporting for their beneficiaries.
These new features, along with the existing benefits of having a my Social Security account, provide something for all account holders — beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, both young and old. Encourage your clients to plan for their future and manage their present with a my Social Security account today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Social Security Benefits Increase in 2020
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 69 million Americans will increase 1.6 percent in 2020, the Social Security Administration announced in October.
The 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) affects more than 63 million Social Security beneficiaries who will see the change in their January 2020 benefits. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2019. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits). The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $137,700 from $132,900.
Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail in early December about their new benefit amount. In December 2019, Social Security COLA notices will be available online to most beneficiaries in the Message Center of their my Social Security account. This is a secure, convenient way to receive COLA notices online and save the message for later. Your clients can also opt out of receiving notices by mail that are available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Information about Medicare changes for 2020, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov. For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2020 are announced.
The Social Security Act describes how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.
Social Security — Strengthening Our Public Service, Together
We are pleased to announce that the Social Security Administration, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) have reached new six-year national agreements. The AFGE agreement went into effect on October 27, 2019, and the NTEU agreement will be effective November 10, 2019.
These new agreements reflect our commitment to public service. Together with a committed workforce, we will continue to deliver and improve our service to communities nationwide.
Medicare Open Enrollment
Let your clients know that the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period began on October 15 and continues until December 7. During the annual enrollment period, you and your clients can make changes to various aspects of your coverage.
Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, too, including some people with disabilities and those who have permanent kidney failure.
Inform your clients that they can pick a new plan or change their existing one at www.medicare.gov.
A New my Social Security Feature Your Clients Can Access Today
There’s never been a better time to open or access your my Social Security account. Let your clients know that my Social Security is their online gateway to Social Security and we’ve recently added a feature.
The Message Center in all my Social Security accounts now allows you to opt out of getting agency notices by mail that are available online. These notices include the annual cost-of-living adjustments and the income-related monthly adjustment amount increases. The Message Center is a secure, convenient portal where your clients can receive sensitive communications we don’t send through email or text. Please note that unless your clients opt out of receiving notices by mail, they will receive both mailed and online notices.
All my Social Security account holders will still be able to:
- request a replacement Social Security card
- check the status of their Social Security application
- set up or change direct deposit information, and
- get a proof of income letter, change their address, and more.
Let your clients know they can plan for their future and manage their present with a my Social Security account today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Back to School with Social Security Life Lessons
Many of your clients have children or teens going back to school or even to college. There’s no better time to share our educator’s toolkit with people who educate students about retirement and saving for their future.
The goal of our educator’s webpage is to provide you and your clients with a toolkit full of the information and resources to develop engaging and informative lessons on Social Security and the importance of planning for the future.
Encourage your clients to check out the resources we have at www.socialsecurity.gov/thirdparty/educators.html. They are free to share online with colleagues who may find them helpful.
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
The Compassionate Allowances program (CAL) is a way for Social Security to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security's standards for disability benefits. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children.
This past August, Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul announced four new Compassionate Allowances conditions: CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder, Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, Primary Peritoneal Cancer, and Richter Syndrome. “Social Security’s highest priority is to serve the public and we are committed to ensuring Americans with disabilities receive the benefits they are eligible for,” said Commissioner Saul. “For over a decade, our Compassionate Allowances program has helped us accelerate the disability process for people who are likely to get approved for benefits due to the severity of their condition.”
By incorporating cutting-edge technology, the agency can easily identify potential Compassionate Allowances to quickly make decisions. The Social Security Administration uses the same rules to evaluate CAL conditions when evaluating both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.
You and your clients can view the entire CAL list as well as get more information at www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm.
New Electronic Consent Based Social Security Number Verification Service
Section 215 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, Public Law (PL)115-174 directs Social Security to modify or develop a database for accepting and comparing fraud protection data provided electronically by a permitted entity. In response to this statutory directive, Social Security is creating eCBSV, a fee-based Social Security number (SSN) verification service. It will allow select financial institutions and service providers, called “permitted entities” and their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, subcontractors, or assignees, to verify if a person’s SSN, name, and date of birth combination matches Social Security records. Social Security needs the person’s written consent and will accept an electronic signature in order to disclose the SSN verification to the permitted entity. eCBSV returns a match verification of “Yes” or “No.” eCBSV does not verify a person’s identity.
The Social Security Administration has selected the first group of potential participants for its new electronic Consent Based Social Security Number (SSN) Verification (eCBSV) service. The agency will roll out the service to these users in June 2020, and plans on expanding the number of users approximately six months after the initial rollout.
For more information, see www.socialsecurity.gov/dataexchange/eCBSV/.
Celebrating Our Diversity — National Hispanic Heritage Month
Generations of Hispanic Americans have positively enhanced and enriched our nation. Every September, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. It is a time to recognize America’s diversity and acknowledge how it makes us stronger.
Social Security works hard to provide world-class customer service and information about our important programs and benefits to millions of Americans. If Spanish is your client’s primary language, they can visit www.segurosocial.gov, our Spanish-language website. It includes hundreds of pages of important information on topics such as how to get a Social Security card, plan for retirement, apply for benefits, and manage your benefits once you’re receiving them. Many of our offices have Spanish-speaking staff members who can assist your clients. Another option is to call 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and select the option for Spanish.
Spanish-speaking individuals wishing to apply for retirement, disability, survivor, and other benefits, as well as Medicare, can request an appointment for an in-person interview or telephone claim with a bilingual representative.
Your clients can learn more about what Social Security offers at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/hispanics. And they can also access our Facebook and Twitter pages in Spanish at www.facebook.com/segurosocial and twitter.com/segurosocial.
Social Security and OIG Establish New Anti-Fraud Units
The Social Security Administration and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced the expansion of its successful anti-fraud initiative, the Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) Program. CDI Units identify, investigate, and prevent Social Security disability fraud. Three new statewide offices recently opened in Bismarck, North Dakota; Boise, Idaho; and Helena, Montana. In addition, the Puerto Rico office has expanded their investigative scope to include cases in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The CDI Program helps to resolve questions of potential fraud before benefits are ever paid. The innovative initiative continues to be successful, bringing together personnel from Social Security, its OIG, State Disability Determination Services (DDS), and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and analyze suspicious or questionable Social Security disability claims. CDI Unit efforts assist disability examiners in making informed decisions, ensure payment accuracy, and generate significant taxpayer savings, for both Federal and State programs.
The CDI Program consists of 46 units covering 40 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. Social Security and OIG have opened several units in the last few years as they work together to provide CDI coverage for all 50 states by 2022.
Since 1997, when Social Security and OIG established CDI, its efforts have contributed to $4 billion in projected savings to Social Security’s programs, and $3 billion in projected savings to other Federal and State programs. For more information, please visit the OIG website and Social Security’s anti-fraud website at www.socialsecurity.gov/fraud/.
Social Security Safeguards Our Most Vulnerable Citizens
Disability benefits offer a financial lifeline when people are struck by a serious medical condition that affects their ability to perform substantial gainful activity in the workforce on a sustained basis. Benefits are for medical conditions that are expected to last at least one year or to result in death. The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs are the largest of several federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. Our friends, family members, and neighbors, including wounded warriors and the chronically ill, rely on these vital programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured," meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.
- Supplemental Security Income pays benefits based on financial need.
Your clients can learn more about Social Security disability benefits at: www.socialsecurity.gov/disability and SSI at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi.
How to Change Your Name on Your Social Security Card
If you or your clients legally changed your name, you need to tell us so we can send a corrected card. You cannot request to change your name via Social Security’s online services.
TTo change your name on your card, you must show us documents that prove your legal name change and identity. You also must show us a document that proves your U.S. citizenship, if it is not already in our records. You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We can’t accept photocopies or notarized copies. You can find out which documents you must show to change your name at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10513.pdf.
For complete instructions, you and your clients can visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
You can also locate your local field office at www.socialsecurity.gov/locator.
Social Security’s Frequently Asked and Answered Questions
Social Security’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage is one of our most popular and helpful resources. Your clients probably have questions all the time about our programs. Even experts in retirement and disability benefits find this collection of facts helpful. Currently, our top five FAQs are:
- How do I apply for a new or replacement Social Security number card?
- How do I change or correct my name on my Social Security number card?
- What happens if I work and get Social Security retirement benefits?
- How long will it take to get a Social Security card?
- How can I get a benefit verification letter?
Check out these popular questions and their answers or browse our FAQs by topic to conveniently find the answers to questions about what interests you. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/faq today.
Rural and Tribal Elder Justice Summit Resource Guide from the Department of Justice
Roughly 20 percent of older adults live in rural communities. Often there are fewer services and service providers in rural communities, and access to broadband may be limited. All of these service challenges can affect the quality of life in rural communities, and they can make it difficult to identify and combat elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation in rural communities, including tribal communities.
Let your clients know that the Justice Department has an online guide to help you fight elder abuse in rural and tribal communities at www.justice.gov/elderjustice/rural-and-tribal-resources.
Social Security also has resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Social Security continues to work with Tribal Governments to build strong, positive relationships between our agency and Tribal Nations. We will continue to update our American Indians and Alaska Natives website to provide your clients with a wealth of information about all of Social Security’s programs and online services. We also publish an annual progress report on Tribal Consultation and Coordination outreach.
Your clients can learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/aian.
How You Can Help Social Security Protect Others
At Social Security, we are committed to protecting the information entrusted to us. We’ve posted a series of blogs about how our beneficiaries can protect their information from scammers and what to do when they receive a “spoof” call.
We are teaming up with other government agencies and organizations to help spread the message. Most recently, we partnered with the Federal Trade Commission to tell the public how to avoid spoofing and robocalls. We also shared warnings from the Office of Inspector General about Social Security-related scams.
You can help us protect the clients you serve. We believe that knowing how to tell the difference between a scammer and a genuine call from the federal government is very important. These are some things to remember:
- Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden name, or other identifying information if a call seems suspicious.
- Government employees will not threaten to take away benefits or ask for money or personal information to protect someone’s Social Security number or benefits.
- If you receive a call from someone asking for your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card information, don’t engage this caller. Instead, hang up and report that information to the Office of Inspector General via their online fraud-reporting form. You can also report these calls to the Federal Trade Commission.
Scammers are hard at work every day. Together, we must work harder to safeguard the American public. Help us spread the word.
Six More States for Our Online Replacement Card Service
Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee have been added to the list of states able to use the online Social Security card replacement service. If your clients live in one of the 40 participating states or the District of Columbia, they can log in to their personal my Social Security account and easily request a replacement card. So far, 2.3 million people have received their replacement card by going online instead of visiting an office.
Losing a Social Security card can be frustrating, but our online replacement card service is quick, secure, and free. Keep in mind that, even if someone has lost their card, they may not need a replacement. In most cases, simply knowing their Social Security number is enough.
Tell your clients to visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount/replacement-card.html to see if they qualify.
Working While Disabled
Let your clients know that Social Security is also here to help them get back to work if they are disabled, through the agency’s work incentives and Ticket to Work programs. Special rules make it possible for people receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments.
The Ticket to Work program may help people return to work. They can receive free vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals, and other employment support. Your clients can learn more about working while collecting disability benefits by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/work and reading the publication, “Working While Disabled: How We Can Help” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf.
Reporting Earnings Online When You’re Disabled
Social Security provides an online wage reporting service that allows Social Security Disability beneficiaries and their representative payees, Supplement Security Income (SSI) recipients and their spouses, parents, deemors, and representative payees to report wages securely online. The service is available through our existing my Social Security portal.
Wage reporters can still use the SSI Telephone Wage Reporting and SSI Mobile Wage Reporting applications. This online option allows them to avoid visiting a field office to report their wages in person and allows them to print or save a receipt of their report. However, users must still contact an office to report when they first start working for each new employer. It’s also important to note that representative payees are able to report wages, but won’t have access to the beneficiaries’ or recipient’s other information.
You and your clients can visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount today to learn more about this convenient online service.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Managing Other People’s Money Guide
Getting your client’s official information about managing their loved one’s finances is important. Becoming a representative payee for a family member and taking responsibility for their Social Security benefit is something we take seriously. This Consumer Financial Protection Bureau guide contains useful information about handling funds and managing the affairs of someone receiving benefits from a federal agency, including Social Security. Your clients can access the guide and more at www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/managing-someone-elses-money.
If you or your clients suspect a Social Security beneficiary is the victim of financial exploitation, please contact your local Social Security office or call our national toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Save Time by Going Online
Your clients can do much of their business with us from anywhere using our online services at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. This means they do not have to visit a field office or call us. Many of our online services are available through my Social Security.
With a free, personal my Social Security account, your clients can receive personalized estimates of future benefits based on their actual earnings, see their latest Statement, and review their earnings history. With a my Social Security account, they also can easily request a replacement Social Security Card (in most states and the District of Columbia) or check the status of an application.
Encourage your clients to go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to create or access an account now.
Social Security Welcomes Our New Commissioner, Andrew Saul
Andrew Saul was sworn in as Commissioner of Social Security on June 17, 2019, for a six-year term that expires on January 19, 2025.
From 2002 to 2011, Commissioner Saul served as the Chair of the Federal Thrift Investment Board (FTIB). He was nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate, and also served under President Obama. The Board administers the Thrift Savings Plan, which provides military and federal employees the opportunity to save for additional retirement security. During his chairmanship, the FTIB introduced the popular life cycle funds and increased TSP participation while substantially reducing participant costs.
In addition to his federal service, Commissioner Saul served in state and local government, and in non-profit organizations. He worked as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Mount Sinai Health System, and Chairman of its Audit and Compliance Committee. In addition, he was a Trustee and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the National Gallery of Art. He formerly served as a board member of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York.
Commissioner Saul also has substantial experience in the private sector. For twenty years, he managed two large publicly traded retail apparel chains. These chains grew into national retailers, including hundreds of stores and employing thousands of workers.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in 2006. This effort increases awareness of threats to seniors and helps people identify and prevent cases of elder abuse. In 2011, the United Nations officially designated June 15 for this important public awareness event.
Nearly all countries are expected to see substantial growth in the number of older persons between now and 2030, and that growth will be faster in developing regions. Because the numbers of older persons are growing, the amount of elder abuse can be expected to grow as well.
To recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Social Security Administration hosted a Facebook Live broadcast on Wednesday, June 19, at 7 p.m. ET to discuss the detection and prevention of elder abuse.
You and your clients can view the Facebook live event video at https://www.facebook.com/socialsecurity/videos/474650183307932/.
Request an Appeals Council Review Online
If your client was recently denied Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they may request an appeal. Generally, people have 60 days after they receive the notice of our decision to ask for any type of appeal. There are four levels of appeal:
- Hearing by an administrative law judge
- Review by the Appeals Council
- Federal Court review
Your client can request an appeal online for a reconsideration, a hearing by an administrative law judge, or a review by the Appeals Council, even if you live outside the United States. When we make the determination on a claim, we send a letter explaining our determination. This letter contains guidance on what level of appeal a claimant should select.
To learn more about each appeal level, visit Information About Social Security's Hearings and Appeals Process.
Social Security’s National Disability Forum
Social Security will host a National Disability Forum on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT. The topic is the State of Medicine – Biomarkers. The purpose of the forum is to provide insight on how SSA may incorporate biomarker assessments into the disability determination process, based on emerging science.
The National Disability Forum is an open event that gives all interested stakeholders an opportunity to share their unique insights on topics of particular interest to Social Security early in the rulemaking process, and to do so directly with policy makers.
You and your clients can check for additional information on the forum as it becomes available at www.socialsecurity.gov/thirdparty/whatsnew.html.
Keep Healthy Financial Habits with my Social Security
We observed Men’s Health Week from June 10 to 16 this year. Appropriately, Father’s Day fell on the last day of Men’s Health Week. Social Security encourages you and your clients to support fathers, grandfathers, and friends everywhere in their efforts to stay healthy.
Part of staying healthy and happy is making time for relationships, exercise, and recreation. That’s where opening a my Social Security online account can help. Our online services make doing business with us fast and easy, freeing up your client’s schedule to pursue other things. With a my Social Security account, you can:
- Keep track of your earnings and verify them every year
- Get an estimate of your future benefits, if you are still working
- Get a letter with proof of your benefits, if you currently receive them
- Manage your benefits
- Request a replacement Social Security card, if you meet certain criteria
Remember, you can easily share all of our online resources on social media. Tell friends and family to check out the features we offer at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
The Top Ten Baby Names Are Here!
Just arrived! Social Security is happy to announce the top baby names for 2018. We’re with you from day one, which makes us the source for the most popular baby names! For most people, Social Security starts at birth when they get their first Social Security card. We’re able to determine the most popular baby names from the prior year based on requests for Social Security numbers for newborns.
What were the most popular names of 2018?
Coming in at number 10 are Logan and Evelyn, dropping down five spots and one spot, respectively, in comparison to the 2017 list. At number nine are Mason and Harper. Mason dropped from its number seven spot in 2017, and this is Harper’s highest spot on the list so far! You can read about the rest of the top 10 on our baby names page!
Most parents apply for their child’s Social Security number at birth, usually through the hospital. Your clients will need it throughout many important stages in their child’s life, beginning when your client claims them on their tax return. It’ll also be useful if they need to apply for benefits for the child. And, of course, the child will need it to begin their first job.
Social Security is with you through life’s journey. To learn more about baby names, a newborn’s Social Security number, benefits for children, and to see the full list of top names, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/babynames.
The Administration for Community Living Seeks Public Input
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) wants to hear your best thoughts and ideas for the future activities of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council (EJCC). The EJCC coordinates activities related to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation across the federal government. They want to know what issues you think the EJCC should prioritize over the next two years.
You can submit comments electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Thoughts and Ideas” in the subject line through September 30, 2019.
What they are looking for:
Comments, thoughts, and ideas about activities or topics the EJCC could promote that would benefit the elder community. Examples of questions to address these concepts would include:
- How have the EJCC’s past activities benefitted you or your affiliated programs?
- What activities, tools, resources, or components could most effectively advance elder justice at the state and local levels?
- How could the EJCC benefit the larger elder justice community?
- What is the best way to measure the EJCC’s impact and effectiveness?
What they are not looking for:
Please do not use this mailbox to report suspicions of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Any suspected abuse, neglect or financial exploitation should be reported to your state’s Adult Protective Services. ACL is also not authorized to receive personally identifiable information beyond the contact information of the person submitting input. They will not review any comment that includes any other personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, or Social Security numbers.
You can read ACL’s full public input invitation at https://acl.gov/about-acl/public-input.
Changes to California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Also Known As CalFresh
If your clients receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and live in California, they will soon be eligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as CalFresh. California is currently the only state where SSI recipients are not eligible for SNAP benefits because a food assistance benefit was included in the State Supplementary Payment (SSP). The California Department of Social Services is ending the state’s cash-out for SNAP benefits in the SSP. Beginning June 1, 2019, people receiving or authorized to receive SSI or the SSP will be eligible for CalFresh, provided all other eligibility criteria are met. Your client’s SSP will not be reduced because of this law.
Starting June 1, 2019, Social Security staff will screen SSI applicants and recipients in California who live in all-SSI households for eligibility. These field office personnel will take their SNAP/CalFresh application.
If your clients are California residents in all-SSI households, receive or are applying for SSI, and need assistance with their SNAP/CalFresh application, have them contact their local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). They can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Visit www.cdss.ca.gov/food-nutrition/calfresh to apply for CalFresh, or for more details about this change in the California state law.
Older Americans and Social Security
May is Older Americans Month and a perfect time to share Social Security information with your older clients. If they are ready for retirement benefits and/or Medicare, they can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement. They can begin their application, return to a saved application they haven’t finished yet, or check their application status.
Our benefits calculators are helpful tools for people considering retirement. Your clients can access them at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/calculators/.
At any stage in your client’s career, they can also use our benefits planner to create a holistic plan for their golden years at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/.
Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month
During the month of May, we observe Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in the United States and celebrate the accomplishments of this community. Like our great nation, the AAPI community draws strength from family and the diversity of its distinct cultures — each with its own history and range of perspectives.
Social Security’s programs serve as vital financial protection for millions of Americans, regardless of race and background. If your clients retire, become disabled, or die, their benefits may extend to help care for the immediate members of their family.
Our Benefits Planner website explains all the benefits Social Security has to offer your clients, their spouses, children, and other eligible members of their family at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/. If your client is ready to retire, they can apply for benefits using our online application.
Our AAPI page also has a wealth of information at www.ssa.gov/people/aapi. Share it with your clients today.
Withholding Federal Income Tax from Your Social Security Benefits
Have you or your clients recently filed your taxes, or met with your tax professional and found that they owe taxes this year? Let your clients know that they can ask Social Security to withhold federal taxes from their monthly benefits at a rate of 7, 10, 12, or 22 percent. They will need to complete and sign IRS Form W-4V, available at www.irs.gov/forms-pubs. They can then mail it to their local Social Security office. Our Social Security office locator has the mailing addresses at www.socialsecurity.gov/locator.
At the beginning of the next calendar year, your clients will receive Form SSA-1099, which will show any voluntary federal income tax withheld. If they wish to change or even stop the amount withheld, they can sign a new form W-4V, and mail it to their local Social Security office. More information can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/taxwithold.html.
We Celebrated National Social Security Month in April
In April, we highlighted some of the time-saving features of a my Social Security account. Once you create an account, you’ll be able to access these features from the comfort of your home or office.
For over 80 years, Social Security has worked to meet the changing needs of the American public. Today, you can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, as well as take care of other business.
Knowledge is power. You care about your friends’ and family’s future, so encourage them to create a my Social Security account. Celebrate National Social Security Month by learning what you can do online anytime, anywhere at www.ssa.gov/mysocialsecurity.
2019 Trustees Report
On April 22, 2019, the Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the current and projected financial status of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Funds.
The combined funds are projected to become depleted in 2035, one year later than projected last year, with 80 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund is estimated to become depleted in 2052, extended 20 years from last year’s estimate of 2032, with 91 percent of benefits still payable.
In the 2019 Report to Congress, the trustees also announced:
- The asset reserves of the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds increased by $3 billion in 2018 to a total of $2.895 trillion.
- The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income, for the first time since 1982, in 2020 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. As a result, asset reserves are expected to decline during 2020. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
- The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.78 percent of taxable payroll – lower than the 2.84 percent projected in last year's report.
Social Security is with your clients through life’s journey, helping them secure today and tomorrow. You can view the full 2019 Trustees Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2019/.
Understanding Social Security Benefits
Many of your clients may assume Social Security is just a retirement program. While it is true that most of the people receiving benefits are retired, others receive benefits because they’re:
- A spouse or child of someone getting benefits;
- A divorced spouse of someone getting or eligible for Social Security;
- A spouse or child of a worker who died;
- A divorced spouse of a worker who died; or
- A dependent parent of a worker who died.
When your clients need a clear understanding of Social Security, share this overview of all Social Security programs and Medicare: “Understanding the Benefits” www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10024.pdf.
Social Security Covers Children with Disabilities
Caring for a child with a disability can put extra strain on a family. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program can help your clients who have a young child in need. People with low income and limited resources who are 65 or older, blind, or disabled can qualify for monthly SSI payments. Children, if younger than age 18, can qualify if they have a medical condition or combination of conditions that meets Social Security’s definition of disability for children, and if their family’s income and resources fall within the eligibility limits.
Save and share this publication: “Benefits For Children with Disabilities” www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf. It outlines disability benefits requirements.
Your clients can also learn more about our disability programs at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.
Social Security is Now on Instagram
We strive to keep your clients informed with accurate and helpful information. Over the last decade, Social Security’s communications strategy has evolved to include messages through our social media channels. You and your clients can share Social Security information, including links to our online tools, with a click of a button.
Our newest social media outlet, Instagram, is an online community of over one billion users sharing life’s visual moments and video stories. From this channel, we will share stories and information about resources that can help you and your clients. Check out our new Instagram page at www.Instagram.com/SocialSecurity.
Connecting with us on social media helps your clients share important information and knowledge with the people they care about. Follow along and share our pages with clients, friends, and family today! See all of our social media channels at www.socialsecurity.gov/socialmedia.
On May 10th, Social Security will release our top 10 baby names list for 2018. This popular list includes names for girls and boys. You and your clients can see which names are growing in popularity around the nation. This is a perfect opportunity for your clients to visit our baby names page at www.socialsecurity.gov/babynames and familiarize themselves with our resources for families.
Your clients can also learn more about our programs and services for families at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/parents.
National Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month, a time to acknowledge the unique contributions women make to our society and economy. Nearly 60 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women, and in the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history.
Encourage your clients to visit Social Security’s financial planning website at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/. It provides detailed information about how marriage, widowhood, divorce, self-employment, government service, and other life or career events can affect their Social Security benefits.
If your clients want more information about how Social Security supports women, share our booklet titled Social Security: What Every Woman Should Know. You can find it online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10127.pdf.
March is National Professional Social Work Month
Some of your clients may be social workers or volunteers in their communities. They get fulfillment from helping others. Sometimes this is as simple as answering an email with vital information that could change a person’s life for the better. Give these clients the Social Security tools they need to keep the people they serve informed about our online services at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.
A useful publication to share with parents and guidance counselors is What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18 at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-11005.pdf.
You can also share Social Security’s Red Book, a general reference source about the employment-related provisions of the Social Security Disability Insurance and the Supplemental Security Income programs for educators, advocates, rehabilitation professionals, and counselors who serve people with disabilities. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook.
Facebook Live – National Consumer Protection Week
National Consumer Protection Week was in March. Social Security used that opportunity to share information on how fraudsters pretend to be from Social Security, the IRS, or other government agencies so they can scam your clients. Fraudsters cause serious financial harm using this scam. We teamed up with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to provide you and your clients with information on how to identify and report these scams. Stay ahead of the fraudsters.
You can watch our Facebook Live event about fraud and share it at www.facebook.com/socialsecurity/videos/389979068460929/
Beware of People Pretending to be from Social Security
Unfortunately, identify theft and fraud are a part of our current reality. Social Security uses high levels of security to protect your client’s identity from being stolen. A new phone scam tricks people into thinking we have called them, and then pressures them into giving out personal information. Social Security never does this. And your clients should never give their personal information to someone over the phone if they do not know who they are.
Here’s what your clients need to know:
- Social Security representatives will never (ever) call and threaten you with loss of your benefits or deactivation of your Social Security number.
- Your caller ID might show the Social Security’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213), but that may not be the real Social Security calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You can’t always trust what you see there.
- Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Don’t confirm the last 4 digits. And don’t give a bank account or credit card number — ever — to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
- Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is a scammer. Always. No matter who they say they are.
We encourage you to share our Social Security Phone Scam Alert video with your clients to quickly alert them to the dangers of this fraud and give them the tools they need to report it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N96ORODZm8.
They can also report fraud online to the Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov/report-fraud-waste-or-abuse/fraud-waste-and-abuse.
National Social Security Month
April is National Social Security Month and this year we’re highlighting some of the time-saving features of the my Social Security account. Once you create an account, you’ll see that we have a record of your earnings history and information to securely estimate what you could receive once you start collecting benefits. With your personal my Social Security account, you can also:
- Request a replacement Social Security card
- Set up or change direct deposit
- Get a proof of income letter
- Change your address, if you are getting benefits
- Check the status of your Social Security application
- Get a Social Security 1099 form (SSA-1099)
Encourage your clients to create a my Social Security account. Celebrate National Social Security Month by learning what you can do online anytime, anywhere at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Get Your Benefit Statement Online as Tax Day Approaches
The Benefit Statement, also known as the Social Security 1099 (SSA-1099) or 1042S (SSA-1042S), is a tax form mailed each year in January to people who receive Social Security benefits. Your clients can get a copy of their SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S Benefit Statement tax form right now with their personal my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Your clients can also learn more about replacing tax documents by reading our publication “Replace Your Social Security Tax Documents with Ease” www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10057.pdf.
Keep in mind, Social Security benefits may be taxable. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/taxes.html to learn more.
America Saves Week
America Saves Week 2019, taking place from Feb. 25 and continuing through March 2, is an opportunity to encourage employees to start saving through their workplace retirement plan as early as possible and, if they can, to increase savings each year — even if only by a small amount. Increasing their savings rate is a way for workers to pay themselves more during their retirement years.
Your clients can use our planners to help them better understand their Social Security protection as they plan for their financial future. Then they can use our benefit calculator to get estimates of benefits for which they and their family may be eligible. All of this is accessible at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/.
Social Security Celebrates Black History Month
In February, we honor African Americans by celebrating Black History Month. Our programs protect the African American community just as they do all Americans who have worked hard and earned benefits that protect them and their families. We also want you and your clients to have information that’s relevant to them. Your clients might find our People Like Me page helpful when planning for their future financial security: www.socialsecurity.gov/people/africanamericans.
Also let your clients know that they can get Social Security information easily and securely with our online services. They can check the status of their disability claim or appeal with secure access to their personal my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Setting Up or Changing Direct Deposit
For more than 80 years, Social Security has changed to meet the evolving needs of your clients. Today, we offer many online services including setting up or changing direct deposit information. The best part is that your clients can use these services anytime, anywhere!
If your clients receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, they can create a my Social Security account to set up or change direct deposit information online.
When your clients choose direct deposit, we will electronically deposit their funds directly into a bank account. If they don’t have a bank account, they can choose Direct Express®, and their funds will be electronically deposited into a prepaid debit card account. Direct Express® has no enrollment fee or minimum balance requirement to open or use the account.
Your clients can set up their direct deposit at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Your Clients Can Get a W-4V Online
If you know a client who receives Social Security benefits, remember that they have the option of having federal income tax withheld from their benefits at the rate of 7, 10, 12, or 22 percent. Encourage them to sign and submit IRS Form W-4V directly to their local Social Security office.
This same form is used to stop withholding federal income tax from their benefits. Taxes will be paid directly to the Internal Revenue Service and will be shown on their form SSA-1099 the following tax season.
Your clients can find useful tax information, including the IRS Form W-4V, on our tax preparation page at www.socialsecurity.gov/thirdparty/atp.html.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment
In 2019, changes to Medicare may improve the healthcare options and flexibility for beneficiaries. The
Medicare Open Enrollment Period that was eliminated in 2010 is now being reinstated. Let your clients
know that, from January 1 through March 31, Medicare Advantage enrollees can switch from one Medicare
Advantage plan to another at www.Medicare.gov.
Your clients can also learn more about how Social Security and Medicare work together at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/medicare.
Receiving Medicare while Working
Even if your clients are not receiving their Social Security benefits at age 65, they can still get
their full Medicare benefits (including premium-free Part A). Medicare is our country’s health
insurance program for people age 65 or older. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for
Medicare, too, including those with disabilities and those who have permanent kidney failure.
Use our online application to sign up for Medicare. It takes about 10 minutes. In most cases, once
your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no
documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if we need
more information. Otherwise, you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail.
You and your clients can apply for Medicare at
Get a Replacement SSA-1099 Tax Form
Tax season is fast approaching. Do your clients know how to get a copy of their SSA-1099? We have made
getting a copy even easier. Now they can instantly print or save a replacement any time they want.
The Social Security Benefit Statement, also known as the SSA-1099 or the SSA-1042S, is a tax form
Social Security mails each year in January to people who receive Social Security benefits. It shows the
total amount of benefits they received from Social Security in the previous year so they know how much
Social Security income to report to the IRS on their tax return. If your clients currently live in the
United States and they need a replacement form SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S, simply go online and get an
instant, printable copy of their form with a my
Social Security account at
Request a Replacement Social Security Card Online
Do your clients need to get a new Social Security number (SSN) card to replace a lost or stolen one?
If they live in a qualifying state, our online application makes requesting a replacement card easier
than ever. There’s no need to sit in traffic or visit a local office or Card Center. As long as they’re
only requesting a replacement card, and no other changes, they can use our free online service from
anywhere. All they need to do is create a free my
Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount
Your client’s identity and personal information matter to us. We protect their information by using
strict identity verification and security features. The application process has built-in features to
detect fraud and confirm their identity.
Share these Resources with Your Clients
In a new effort to promote Social Security, we have created optimized posts you can share online with
your clients. This optimized language gets the most accurate results for online searches.
- From getting a replacement Social Security number (SSN) card to checking the status of your Social
Security benefit claim, take control of your future with a my
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- If you already receive Social Security benefits (retirement, survivors, or disability) and want to
know how to change your address and telephone number, you can create a my
Social Security account to quickly access your contact information.
- If you currently live in the United States and you need a copy of your SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S tax
form, simply go online and get an instant, printable copy of your form with a my
Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
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Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. From requesting
a replacement Social Security number (SSN) card to checking the status of your Social Security
benefit claim, a my
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- Checking the status of your Social Security benefits application or claim is easy with my
Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
- Social Security offers online services with a my
Social Security account, including instant access to your benefit
verification letter, sometimes called a “benefits letter” or “proof of income letter”:
- To request a replacement Social Security number (SSN) card or a SSA-1099 form, access your personal
Social Security account anytime, anywhere at
The more you share this content, the easier it will be for your clients to find the vital services
and information they need.