As spring approaches, it’s time to start thinking about our taxes. When you review your W-2 sent by your company, notice in Box 4 how much of your salary goes to Social Security. This is the amount of money you’ve paid out of every paycheck to fund the Social Security system.
The Social Security tax rate for 2015 was 6.2%, meaning 6.2% of your salary is taken out of each check to pay for Social Security (at the same time, your employer also pays 6.2% of your salary to Social Security). Due to maximum caps placed on earnings, you cannot pay more than $7,347 toward Social Security in 2015.
While this might look like a painful number to take out of your check each year, it’s important to remember that this is money that you’re entitled to receive later on. It’s like a government-enforced savings account. After working for 10 years, you can start to receive your Social Security checks at one of these times:
- At full retirement, which is now considered age 66. You can choose to retire earlier, but you’ll receive less of your monthly benefit (e.g. at age 62, you’ll get 75% of your check; at age 65, you’ll get 93.3% of your check).
- When you are a spouse of a fully retired person, you earn 50% of the benefit (or less if your spouse retires earlier than age 66).
- When you are widowed.
- When you are disabled.
While proving your age to quality for retirement is a simple process, proving that you are disabled and needing Social Security is significantly more complicated. The Social Security administration asks five questions to determine if you are disabled:
- Are you working?
- Is your condition ‘severe’?
- Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
- Can you do the work you did previously?
- Can you do any other type of work?
Based on your answers, the Administration will rule on whether or not you should earn Social Security Disability benefits. However, if you are rejected, you have the right to appeal this decision. At such time, you should hire an attorney to best protect your interests. The experienced lawyers at Hodge & Langley Law Firm would be happy to discuss how we may be able to help with your Social Security Disability claim.
For further information, read more about Social Security Disability claims.