Social Security FAQs - Adviser Investments

Social Security FAQs

December 9, 2019

Social Security is a complex topic. While you may understand the basics (like when to file and the family benefits you may be entitled to), you might still be left wondering about how to claim benefits, taxes and more. Here’s a sample of some the most frequently asked questions we’ve heard—and our answers to them.

  1. How do I file for Social Security? You can apply online, via phone at (800) 772-1213 or at the nearest Social Security office. If you prefer an in-person meeting, make an appointment beforehand to save time and frustration.
  2. Do I have to pay taxes on my Social Security benefits? Generally, yes—but at a reduced rate. If your total income is between $25,000 and $34,000 (or $32,000 to $44,000 for a married couple filing jointly) then up to 50% of the benefits you receive from Social Security are taxable. If your total income falls below those levels, you do not pay taxes on your Social Security income. And if you are fortunate enough to surpass those thresholds, then 85% of your benefits are taxable. Note that this only applies to federal taxes—13 states apply their own taxes to Social Security benefits.
  3. Does work overseas count toward my Social Security? In many cases, yes. More than two dozen countries (including the U.K., Australia and Japan) have agreements with the U.S. allowing you to accrue Social Security credits for your time working abroad. Additionally, these agreements prevent you from facing a potentially nasty double-taxation situation.
  4. What are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and do I qualify for them? SSI is a separate program administered by the Social Security Administration that aids adults with disabilities and children with little to no income or assets. To receive this income, you must be disabled, blind or at least 65 with limited (as determined by several different means tests) income and resources. If you or a loved one may be eligible for SSI, consider setting up a special needs trust to set aside funds for them. These trusts are exempt from the means tests and allow the beneficiary to still receive federal aid like SSI.

This material is distributed for informational purposes only. The investment ideas and opinions contained herein should not be viewed as recommendations or personal investment advice or considered an offer to buy or sell specific securities. Our statements and opinions are subject to change at any time, without notice and should be considered only as part of a diversified portfolio. Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds mentioned herein are not necessarily held in client portfolios. Data and statistics contained in this report are obtained from what we believe to be reliable sources; however, their accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.

You may request a free copy of the firm’s Form ADV Part 2A, which describes, among other items, risk factors, strategies, affiliations, services offered and fees charged.

Past performance is not an indication of future returns. We do not provide legal or tax advice, nor sell insurance products. Tax, legal and insurance information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice, or as advice on whether to buy or surrender any insurance products. Always consult an attorney or tax professional, or licensed insurance professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation, or insurance needs.

© 2019 Adviser Investments, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

85 Wells Avenue, Suite 109
Newton, MA, 02459

© 2020 Adviser Investments, LLC

Adviser Investments' logo is a registered trademark of Adviser Investments, LLC.