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Social Security FAQs

Unfortunately, we just don’t have the resources to be able to answer Social Security questions at this time. For many situations, the answer is to call Social Security directly at 800-772-1213 because they are the only ones with access to your personal record.

Below, we’ve provided answers to the most common questions we hear about Social Security as well as links to our videos and resources.

Social Security - Retirement

For More Information, visit our page Social Security Explained.

What If I Take Social Security at Age 62?

You can take Social Security as early as age 62, but you must have a plan to pay for your health insurance since Medicare won’t start until age 65. If you are on your spouse’s employer health plan and can stay on it till 65, grabbing your Social Security at 62 might be a smart option.

If I take Social Security before my full retirement age, how much can I work?

The amount changes each year, so do a Google search to be up to date. in 2022 it will be around $20k that you can earn in wages. If you earn over than amount it’s ok, but your Social Security will be reduced. For every $2 over the limit, your Social Security will be reduced by $1. Working and earning $30k means that you went about $10k over and you’ll be reduced by half of that, or $5k. That $5k isn’t lost! After your full retirement age (between age 66 – 67) you’ll start getting that $5k back. No, not in a lump sum, but in a little bit extra each month for the rest of your life.

How can I plan for retirement? Is there a way to find out how much I'll get from Social Security?

Everyone can go to ssa.gov and set up a free account to get an estimate of your retirement benefits. They are estimating how much you will earn from now till your full retirement age, so the number could be higher or lower. The average American gets about $1,500 per month, so that’s a good place to start.

Social Security - Spousal Benefits

For More Information, visit our page Social Security Spousal Benefits.

I was married for 10 years and divorced. I'm 62, can I draw Social Security off my ex even though he has remarried?

Yes, as long as he is at least 62 years old too. He doesn’t have to be drawing benefits and no, he can’t prevent you from drawing off of his work record. To start, just call your local Social Security office and provide your divorce decree and marriage license. The fact that he has remarried doesn’t impact you. You cannot be remarried before the age of 60 or you won’t be able to draw off of him.

I really like my ex spouse and my kids would be mad if I drew Social Security off him and hurt his new wife.

Drawing benefits off another never reduced their own benefits! You will not hurt your ex or his new spouse!

He probably won’t even know that you file to draw off of him unless he calls SSA to check. You don’t need his permission and if you don’t tell him or the kids, they won’t know.

Social Security - Disability

For More Information, visit our page Social Security Disability.

I haven’t worked in years, can I get disability?​

Probably not. You are required to have worked in the last 5 years.

I haven’t worked much my whole life, can I get disability?​

Maybe, depending on your disabling condition—but you may not qualify to get much money. Social Security is based on how much you paid in, so if you didn’t earn much or work very long you may not get very much. You can go to www.ssa.gov right now and set up a free account and see how much the government estimates you would get if you got on disability.

I’m 61 and thinking about applying for disability. Should I just wait and apply for retirement at 62 instead?​

If you qualify for SSDI you will get about 30% more per month than if you take your retirement benefit. As long as you qualify, you can apply for retirement, but even if you think you’ll qualify for disability it is really hard to get it. Over 70% of applicants are denied the first time they apply. Many have to appeal several times before they get SSDI. It is hard. We don’t want to talk you out of applying, but do your research. Many people think it’s as simple as applying and in reality it is a very long process to get SSDI.

I finally got approved for disability, why does it take TWO YEARS to get Medicare?​

This is what Congress negotiated when they approved adding a disability benefit to Social Security. They did it to save money. (See our video below that explains SSDI & Medicare in greater details). Some several illnesses do qualify for Medicare coverage immediately (ALS and organ transplant and some terminal cancers) but most people do have to wait 2 years. In the meantime, you need health insurance and we can help you get ACA also known as Obamacare, or you may be able to stay on your or your spouses’ work plan.

My friend applied without an attorney and got disability the first time she applied!​

Yes, this can and does happen, but not frequently. People who get approved quickly tend to have a very serious disability or terminal illness. How long it takes you depends on how long it takes to get your medical records and other evidence for the judge to make a decision.

Why am I being charged for Medicare, I thought it was free since I’m disabled?​

You must pay for Medicare Part B unless your income and assets are low enough to qualify for state assistance with Medicare. Most people—mistakenly—think it will be free, but it isn’t. Once you have been on SSDI for 2 years, they automatically enroll you into Medicare Part B and start taking the monthly cost out of your SSDI payments!

So I don’t have to sign up for Medicare at age 65?​

Correct. As long as you have been on SSDI for at least 4 months, you will automatically be signed up and receive your Medicare Card in the mail. You DO have to contact us about choosing supplemental Medicare insurance. If you forget to call us, you may lose your rights to get a plan—the rules vary a lot from state to state. Please plan to call us 3 months before your Medicare Part B will begin.

Since I’ve been on Medicare for many years, do I have to do anything when I turn age 65?​

Yes! Please call us 3 months before you turn 65. We explain why this can be urgent based on the state you live in. Most states don’t allow you to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan when you first get approved for Medicare Part B if you are under age 65 and on disability. But at age 65, you have the same rights as anyone who is just turning age 65—and you don’t want to neglect this opportunity to see if you can get better benefits!

I didn’t understand and never signed up for Part B, or I cancelled my Part B and now I see that I need it, what can I do?​

You might have triggered a late Part B (and Part D) penalty. The good news is that those penalties will go away when you turn age 65, the bad news is you may have to pay more each month until you do turn age 65. Call us and we will help you sort this out.


Still have questions? 

  • Call Social Security directly at 800-772-1213
  • Visit the Social Security website at SSA.gov
  • Visit your local Social Security office.
Sylvia Gordon, aka Medicare Mama®, is an expert on all things Medicare and Social Security. She is the 2nd Generation here at The Medicare Family and has served on the advisory boards of major insurance companies like UnitedHealthcare®, Cigna, and Anthem. In her free time, she can be found taking care of her animals (dogs, goats, peacocks, chickens), and reading a good book. Learn More.
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