Social Security is a federal program, so it functions the same in Baltimore, Maryland, as it does throughout the United States. This program, along with Medicare, takes a tax from every paycheck you earn, throughout your life. It functions like insurance that covers retirement, disability, and benefits for dependents in the event of death. The Social Security System has become a topic of debate as the percentage of Americans over the age of 65 grows, while the earning potential for many younger workers remains limited. For those that qualify for benefits, the program can be a critical financial resource. If you are a Baltimore resident with questions about Social Security, a local attorney may be able to answer your questions beyond these basics.
To qualify for Social Security benefits, a person must have earned income and paid taxes. Individuals can earn up to four credits per year. The monetary value that qualifies an individual for a credit varies by year. In 2014, the amount to earn the maximum four credits was $4,800. Workers must earn a certain number of credits to qualify for retirement or disability benefits.
Aging into the Program
The primary purpose of Social Security is to pay benefits to individuals who have worked and reached the age of retirement. For this, the number is 40 credits, though there are exceptions made for those born before 1929. For survivor’s benefits, the amount depends on the age at which a person dies. Younger individuals need fewer credits than older ones, and a special program allows benefits for minor children and a dependent spouse when the person has earned at least six credits in the previous three years.
Applying for Disability Benefits
For disability benefits, the rules are slightly more complex. The number of credits required is also organized by age. Persons younger than age 24 need only six credits earned in the preceding three years. Persons between age 24 and 31 must have credit equivalent to working half of the years between age 21 and your age at the onset of disability. For anyone over the age of 31, the requirement increases from 20 to 40 as you age.
Planning for retirement and navigating the application for disability benefits is a complex process. However, the Social Security Administration has provided a resource to help with this. If you have been disabled and can no longer work, you have options. Although this process can be navigated alone, a disability benefits attorney can provide legal advice. This is particularly helpful for individuals who have applied for benefits, but their claim was denied. Contact a qualified legal professional to guide you through the next steps for Baltimore Social Security