Applying for SS Benefits

The Social Security Administration offers five types of social security benefits to eligible individuals. Click on any of the benefits below for more information:

  • Retirement Benefits
    Who Is Eligible?

    To be eligible for retirement or old age insurance benefits, a person must be fully insured (38 qtrs.) and has attained the age of Sixty (60) years by 09/30/2015, Sixty-two (62) years as of 10/01/2015, or Sixty-three (63) as of 10/01/2020.

    Early Retirement

    A person who attains the age of Sixty (60) years on or after 10/01/2015 shall receive a monthly old age insurance benefit that is reduced by Six percent of each year remaining before that person attains the age of entitlement.

    a. Example: John Doe turns 60 years old on 10/01/2015 will eligible for early retirement at 88%:
    Example:
    * $500 x 12% (2years) = $60
    * $500 - $60 = $440 for the 1st year when he is 60 years old

    b. At age 61, John Doe's Early Retirement benefit will increase to 94%
    Example:
    * 500 x 6% = $30
    * $500 - $30 = $470

    c. Doe's Early Retirement benefit will increase to 100% when he turns 62 years old
     

    How Long Can I Receive Retirement Benefits?

    Once eligible, a person can receive monthly retirement insurance benefit until the month before he/she dies.

    However, this is subject to change if a beneficiary decides to return to work. The next question discusses how benefits will be affected if you return to work.

    Will My Benefits Be Affected If I Return To Work?

    If you return to work, your benefits will be recomputed at the end of the calendar year and the recomputed benefit will be paid on the first month of the next calendar year. However, if you earn more than a specific amount, your benefits could be reduced. See the Earnings Test for more information.

    It is the beneficiary's responsibility to advise the Social Security Administration immediately when he/she returns to employment.

    How Can I Apply?

    To apply, please fill out an Application for Retirement Insurance Benefits and submit it along with the required documents as listed in the application.

    If I'm Receiving Retirement Benefits, Can I Also Receive Spouse Insurance Benefits?

    Yes. The most recent change to the Social Security Act doesallow a beneficiary to receive two types of benefits. So retirement insurance beneficiaries can receive spouse insurance benefits at the same time.

    How Are Monthly Retirement Insurance Benefits Calculated?

    The "Basic Benefit" is a monthly payment that is one-twelfth (1/12) of the total of:

      27% of the first $11,000 of cumulative covered earnings; and
      2.9% of cumulative covered earnings in excess of $11,000 but not in excess of the next $33,000; and
      1.5% of cumulative covered earnings in excess of $44,000
      0.75% of the cumulative covered earnings in excess of $500,000

    Below is a sample of how to calculate benefits for an eligible retiree with cumulative covered earnings of $80,000:

    Benefit amount if the applicant is applying for retirement benefits:
    $372.25 per month
     
    Minimum Benefit for Retirement, Surviving Spouse, Dependent Child(ren), and Disability is $148 per month.
  • Disability BenefitsOpen or Close
    Who Is Eligible?

    A person who is unable to engage in any substantial gainful employment for at least 12 months because of a mental or physical impairment can apply for disability insurance benefits.

    How Long Can I Receive Disability Benefits?

    To be eligible, a person must be fully and currently insured or permanently insured at the time of the onset of the disability to be eligible for disability insurance benefits.

    Once eligible, the disabled person can receive a monthly insurance benefit until the month before he/she dies or recovers from the disability, whichever occurs first.

    How Soon Can I Apply For Benefits?

    You can apply after sixty (60) days from the date your disability commenced. Applications submitted within sixty (60) days of the commencement of the disability will not be considered.

    But if eligible, this waiting period will not affect your right to receive benefits. Retroactive benefits will be to the date of the onset of your disability or a month after the termination date of employment, whichever occurs later.

    How Can I Apply?

    To apply, please fill out an Application for Disability Insurance Benefit and submit it along with the required documents as listed in the application.

    If I'm Receiving Disability Benefits, Can I Also Receive Spouse Insurance Benefits?

    Yes. The most recent change to the Social Security Act does allow a beneficiary to receive two types of benefits. So disability insurance beneficiaries can receive spouse insurance benefits at the same time.

    How Are Monthly Disability Insurance Benefits Calculated?

    The "Basic Benefit" is a monthly payment that is one-twelfth (1/12) of the total of:

      27% of the first $11,000 of cumulative covered earnings; and
      2.9% of cumulative covered earnings in excess of $11,000 but not in excess of the next $33,000; and
      1.5% of cumulative covered earnings in excess of $44,000
      0.75% of the cumulative covered earnings excess of $500,000

    Below is a sample of how to calculate benefits for an eligible applicant with cumulative covered earnings of $80,000:

    Benefit amount if the applicant is applying for disability benefits:
    $372.25 per month
  • Child Survivor BenefitsOpen or Close
    Who Is Eligible?

    Dependent children of deceased wage earners are eligible to receive survivor insurance benefits if the wage earner was fully insured or currently insured.

    They must also meet the following requirements:

    1. Must be the child or adopted child (legally or under Palauan custom) of the deceased wage earner.
    2. If not the natural or adopted child, there should be proof that the child was dependent upon the wage earner at the time of death or have been living with the wage earner
    3. Unmarried
    4. Under age 18; or between the age 18 and 22 presently attending school; or disabled since before age of 22
    If A Child Is Eligible For Survivor Benefits, How Much Can He Receive?

    If there is no other beneficiary under the same deceased wage earner, the minimum monthly benefit that a child can receive is $148.00.

    If there are other beneficiaries, each child is entitled to receive 15% of the basic benefit applicable to the deceased wage earner. This is subject to the Earnings Test.

    How Can I Apply?

    To apply, please fill out an Application for Survivor Insurance Benefits or Application for Survivor Disabled Child Insurance Benefits and submit it along with the required documents as listed in the application.

    How Are Monthly Child Insurance Benefits Calculated?

    The "Basic Benefit" is a monthly payment that is one-twelfth (1/12) of the total of:

      27% of the first $11,000 of cumulative covered earnings; and
      2.9% of cumulative covered earnings in excess of $11,000 but not in excess of the next $33,000; and
      1.5% of cumulative covered earnings in excess of $44,000
      0.75% of the cumulative covered earnings in excess of $500,000

    Below is a sample of how to calculate benefits for an eligible applicant with cumulative covered earnings of $80,000:

    Benefit amount if the applicant is applying for child survivor benefits:
    $375.25 x 15% = $56.29 per month
  • Spouse Survivor BenefitsOpen or Close
    Who Is Eligible?

    To be eligible for survivor's insurance benefits, an applicant's deceased spouse must have been fully insured or currently insured at the time of death.

    How Long Can I Receive Spouse Benefits?

    Once eligible, a person can receive a monthly spouse insurance benefit until the month before he/she dies.

    However, if you are under the age of 60 and are still employed, your benefits could be reduced if you are earning over $3,000 a quarter. See the Earnings Test for more information.

    Does My Age Affect The Amount I Can Receive?

    If you are under the age of 60 and unmarried, you can only be entitled to 60% of the basic benefit applicable to the deceased at the time of their death.

    Only applicants who are at least 60 years of age and unmarried at the time of application can receive 100% of the basic benefit.

    Will My Benefits Be Affected If I Remarry?

    If you are 60 years of age or older and decide to remarry, you can continue to receive monthly spouse benefits. However, the amount will be reduced from 100% of the basic benefit to 60%.

    If you are under the age of 60 and remarry, you will no longer be eligible for survivor insurance benefits.

    Additionally, any beneficiary who remarries cannot receive more than one surviving spouse insurance benefit.

    How Can I Apply?

    To apply, please fill out an Application for Survivor Insurance Benefit and submit it along with the required documents as listed in the application.

    You must also provide evidence confirming that you were married to the wage earner at the time of his/her death. This can include a marriage certificate or Affidavit of Marriage by you and two blood relatives of the deceased insured person attesting to the existence of a customary marital relationship.

    If I'm Receiving Spouse Benefits, Can I Also Receive Another Type of Insurance Benefit?

    Yes. The most recent change to the Social Security Act does allow a beneficiary to receive two types of benefits, i.e.: Surviving Spouse and Retirement Insurance benefit and or Surviving Spouse and Disability Insurance benefit. So Spouse Insurance beneficiaries  who are 60 years old may receive Retirement; or if Surviving Spouse is under the age of Sixty (60) years, he/she may be eligibble for the Disability Insurance benefit.

    How Are Monthly Child Insurance Benefits Calculated?

    The "Basic Benefit" is a monthly payment that is one-twelfth (1/12) of the total of:

      21.5% of the first $11,000 of cumulative covered earnings; and
      2.9% of cumulative covered earnings in excess of $11,000 but not in excess of the next $33,000; and
      1.5% of cumulative covered earnings in excess of $44,000
      0.75% of the cumulative covered earnings in excess of $500,000

    Below is a sample of how to calculate benefits for an eligible applicant with cumulative covered earnings of $80,000:

    Benefit amount if the applicant is applying for spouse survivor benefits:
    $372.25 per month if the applicant is 60 years old or older and unmarried
    or
    $372.25 x 60% = $223.35 per month if applicant is 60 years old or older and remarried
    or
    $372.25 x 60% = $223.35 per month if applicant is under 60 years old and unmarried
  • Lump Sum BenefitsOpen or Close
    Who Is Eligible?

    Lump Sum Insurance Benefit is a one-time benefit payment to survivors of the deceased worker who died with less than the minimum required quarters of coverage for monthly benefits. The next of kin of a deceased worker who died with no eligible survivors to receive monthly benefits can also apply to receive a lump sum insurance benefit.

    The Lump-Sum Insurance Benefit is paid in the following order:

    1. Surviving Spouse
    2. Children in equal shares
    3. Parents in equal shares
    4. Duly appointed legal representative of the deceased
    5. If none of the above, the person or persons entitled under laws and local customs of the last domicile of the deceased
    How Can I Apply?

    To apply, please fill out an Application for Lump Sum Insurance Benefit and submit it with the required documents as listed in the application.

    How Much Can I Receive If I'm Eligible For Lump Sum Benefits?

    Once eligible, you are entitled to 6% of the basic benefit applicable to the deceased wage earner.

    For example, if the cumulative covered earnings of a deceased wage earner was $80,000.00, the following calculation is made:

    $80,000 x 6% = $4,800.00

    ONE TIME PAYMENT TO A SURVIVING BENEFICIARY: $4,800.00

Dual Benefits

A widow or widower who is at least sixty (60) years old may re-marry and continue to receive his or her monthly amount of benefit at 60% of available benefit under deceased wage earner's covered earnings, but may not receive more than one surviving spouse's insurance benefit.

The Surviving Spouse is Sixty (60) of the basic if the Surviving Spouse is under the age of Sixty (60) until September 30, 2015, or under the age Sixty-two as of October 01, 2015, or under the age of Sixty-three (63) years as of October 01, 2020 and is unmarried.