In 1935 the Social Security Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt. It was established as a two-fold insurance program, featuring old-age retirement insurance and unemployment compensation. Social Security is a safety net to help persons stay out of poverty and continue to participate in their community.
This page was created to give you information and tools about social security whether you are;
Preparing for or Considering Retirement,
Considering Applying for Disability Benefits, or
are considering becoming a Social Security Representative Payee.
Preparing for or Considering Retirement
The Social Security site www.ssa.gov has a number of tools to help you plan for retirement and/or decide when to start taking social security benefits. Here are a couple of tools you should check out:
Create a social security account anytime: It's a good idea to start gathering information long before you retire. A social security account allows you to track and verify your earnings over the years while you are working. This will help you with financial planning for retirement long before you retire. Decisions like how much you need to save toward your retirement. It will help you decide how much you should contribute to your company's 401k if you have one and/or to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).
You can get an estimate of what your monthly benefit will be at different ages in the future to help you decide whether to wait until your full retirement age or if you can afford to retire earlier. If you are already retired an account allows you to change your address, start or change direct deposit, etc.
When can I apply: Individuals can apply to social security for retirement benefits as early as age 62 or wait as long as age 70. What age you take benefits is an important consideration as benefits are reduced if taken before your "full retirement age". Working while taking benefits is also a consideration. Go the the SSA page How to Apply Online to get answers to these and may other questions.
Replace your Social Security Card On-Line
Once you've created a social security account one of the things you can do is replace your social security card on-line. That is if you live in the District of Columbia, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, and Wisconsin.
It's easy and secure. The application process has built-in features to detect fraud and confirm your identity. In certain cases, security experts at Social Security will contact you to ensure it is a legitimate application. They will only issue a replacement card if there's no suspicion of fraud and only mail it to a verified address.
To take advantage of this service options you must:
Before you request a replacement card online, you may want to consider whether you need to get a replacement card at all. Most times, knowing you number is what's important. You'll rarely need the card itself, perhaps only when you get a new job and have to show it to your employer.
- Have or create a my Social Security account;
- Have a valid driver's license in a participating state or the District of Columbia (or a state-issued identification card in some states);
- Be age 18 or older and a United States citizen with a domestic U.S. mailing address (this includes APO, FPO, and DPO addresses); and
- Not be requesting a name change or any other changes to your card.
If you decide that you do need a replacement card, go to www.socialsecurity.gov and log into your personal my Social Security account and select "Request a Replacement Card." Next, answer the screening questions to confirm eligibility, complete personal data, and you're done!
Considering Applying for Disability Benefits
Social Security is complicated and when you are in a stressful situation and considering applying due to a disability it can be very overwhelming.
Local Social Security Administration staff help individuals apply for benefits and answer questions about forms and required information. The Social Security Administration website has the tools you need to apply on-line and is full of information.
ADRC Benefit Specialist are specially trained to understand goverment benefits. ADRC Benefit Sepcialists are not attorneys, so they cannot give legal advice. They are available to assist when the social security application process is more complicated than normal. For example when persons are asked to fill out additional forms or when persons are denied a benefit and need help understanding the denial and their next steps if any.
ADRC Benefit Specialists work with Social Security Administration staff to help persons understand the process and what they need to do to apply. This webpage is meant to give you the information you need to make the application process easier to understand and help guide you through the steps.
What types of benefits are available?
There are two types of benefits available through the Social Security Administration (SSA):
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - SSDI is a monthly benefit that may be available to those individuals who have been determined to be disabled by the Disability Determination Bureau (DDB). SSDI eligibility is based on "work credits" which are earned based on work history. The SSDI award amounts are calculated based on contributions an individual has made by paying FICA taxes on his or her work earnings.
Who can complete an application?
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - SSI is a monthly benefit that may be available to those individuals who have been determined to be disabled by the DDB and who meet certain income and asset tests. SSI is a needs-based program, and therefore work history is not taken into account. In order to qualify for SSI, a person must have limited income, as well as assets that fall below $2000 (individual) or $3000 (couple). Unlike SSDI, SSI requires that an interview be completed with the SSA prior to approval.
- NOTE: It is possible to receive both SSDI and SSI
Where do I apply/complete an application?
- The adult with the disability
- A friend or relative of the applicant (i.e. parent, spouse, neighbor)
- An appointed representative (i.e. an attorney or a non-attorney advocate)
- Note: If an appointed representative is completing the application for you, you will need to fill out Form 1696, available at www.ssa.gov
1. Online through the Social Security Administration's website.
2. At the local Social Security Administration (SSA) office in Brown County:
How do I apply?
- Call: 888-862-4811
- In-person: 1561 Dousman St., Green Bay
1. Get the tools you need to complete an online application with a packet designed by ADRC Benefit Specialists.
2. Apply online through www.ssa.gov.
How a Disability Determination is Made
A Disability Determination is part of applying for Social Security Disability. Learn how the process works and what information you need to complete your claim by visiting Social Security's website at this link: How a Disability Determination is Made. A printable version can be downloaded at this link: How a Disability Determination is Made Flyer.
Social Security Representative Payee
Social Security's Representative Payment Program provides financial management for the Social Security and SSI payments of our beneficiaries who are incapable of managing their Social Security or SSI payments. If you are concerned that someone you know becomes incapable of managing or directing the management of his or her benefits, please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to request an appointment to discuss your concerns. Social Security looks first to family or friends to serve as representative payees. Learn more about the program on the Social Security website: click this Social Security Representative Payee link.
Social Security Representative Payee Training
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has created a series of Interdisciplanary Training videos to educate individuals and organizations about the roles and responsiblities of serving as a representative payee and so much more.
In fact the videos cover topics that would be beneficial to all who work with or assist the most vulnerable. As the SSA website states "It is our hope that this training will provide further insight, broaden community awareness, educate members of the public, and provide key resources related to the growing incidence of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation."
Here is a link to the SSA Representative Payee Training Series.
The training video topics you will find there are:
- Representative Payee Technical Training
- Recognizing the Signs of Abuse and Financial Exploitation
- Effective Strategies for Interacting with the Banking Community
- Changes in Decisional Capacity
The forms and links below will be helpful in researching social security for retirement or applying for disability.
Forms are in pdf format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click the button to download it free.
- Medical and Job Worksheet Adult
Valuable tool to help you prepare before filling out the on-line application for disability benefits. Print and fill in.
- SSA Form 827 Authorization
The SSA Form 827 - Authorization to disclose information to the Social Security Administration is required and must be mailed to or dropped off at the local Social Security office - 1561 Dousman Street, Green Bay, WI 54303 as part of your disability application. Print, fill-in and sign.
- Apply for Disability Benefits Website
Answers questions, explains what is needed and how to apply for disability benefits. Find on-line application here.
- Adult Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income Online Application Instructions
Helpful packet put together by ADRC Benefit Specialists to walk you through the on-line application process for social security disability.
- Ticket to Work Program
Social Security Ticket to Work program is free and voluntary. It's designed to help social security beneficiaries go to work, get a job, find a career, and become financially independent all while keeping your Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Check out this program to see if you qualify and get more details.
- Social Security Website
Official website for the social security administration website. Create a social security account, apply for retirement or disability benefits, update your account information. Get an estimate of your retirement benefits. Learn when you can apply for retirement benefits and much more.
- Create a Social Security Account Website
Set up your personal online social security account. Whether you are retired or not you should set up an account so that you can keep track of and verify your social security earnings each year and get an estimate of your future benefits to plan for retirement. If you are retired you can manage your benefits with your account.
- Apply for Retirement Benefits Website
Use this link to learn about how to apply for Social Security Retirement benefits.