Social Security Facts
Recently, NJFA Deputy Director, Melissa Chalker sat down with two representatives from the Social Security Administration for a taping of our half hour TV program Aging Insights.
Given all of the extensive information they shared, we thought it was time to do a blog about Social Security benefits and what you need to know. Be sure to tune into the show in September, in the meantime, here are some facts.
Social Security is a family insurance program. It is meant to be additional income for those who are retired, disabled, widowed, etc. Eligibility for retirement benefits is based on your work history (the # of credits you earned while working and paying into the Social Security system) and your age. Depending on the year you were born, your retirement age could be anywhere between 65 and 67 years of age. You can receive your benefits starting at age 62, however it will be a reduced benefit because you are choosing to receive it early. Reduction amounts are calculated based on when your official retirement age should be.
All of this information and more is available at sss.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213. You can start a my social security account online, look up information about Social Security and/or Medicare benefits and even apply for benefits online. A my social security account is available for anyone over 18 who is working, it helps you to track your Social Security record, estimate your benefit and much more. Social Security‚Äôs website is safe and secure, be sure to sign up for your account and create your own user name and password to protect your identity.
Many people don‚Äôt know that Social Security benefits are also for family members of a retired person. If a retired individual has minor children, disabled children and/or a spouse caring for a minor child, those family members may also be eligible for a monthly benefit. More information about those benefits are available by contacting Social Security or creating a my social security account to see what benefits you and your family could receive.
Information about benefits for spouses, survivors, disabled individuals and more is available at ssa.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213 (Mon- Fri).
NJ seniors and providers have their say!
The NJ Foundation for Aging (NJFA) seldom works alone. A recent example of this joint learning and teamwork resulted in the three regional forums in NJ to address the themes of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. NJFA was joined by the NJ County Offices of Disability, NJ Association of Area Agencies on Aging, NJ Association of Senior Center Directors, Association of Jewish Family Service Agencies, NJ State Association of Jewish Federations and AARP. This steering committee coordinated three regional forums to gather consumer and provider input on this year‚Äôs themes. The four themes of the 2015 WHCoA are
- Retirement and Economic Security: Protecting Social Security, Work & Employment, Public Benefits
- Healthy Aging: Age-Friendly Communities, Preventive Care & Chronic Disease Management, Housing
- Long-Term Services & Supports: Caregiver Supports, Workforce Capacity, Managed Long-Term Services & Supports
- Elder Justice: Fraud Protections, Scams, Family Exploitation and Neglect.
More than 218 people registered to join the conversation throughout May and June. Providers, caregivers and seniors alike affiliated with our partners on the steering committee were well positioned to generate recommendations to these important topics.
Advocates‚Äô and stakeholders‚Äô experiences inspired the final recommendations. These included the need for more affordable housing, preservation of Social Security Benefits and the need to promote education on other savings tools, the importance of community transportation to reduce isolation and the key role of more towns age-friendly communities for all. Participants discussed the impact of elder abuse and exploitation which can occur in community settings as well as in facilities.
Recommendations stressed the need to better educate the public as well as first responders to recognize signs of abuse and let them know where to report these crimes.
The first White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) was held in 1961, with subsequent conferences in 1971, 1981, 1995, and 2005. These conferences have been viewed as catalysts for development of national aging policy over the past 50 years. The conferences generated ideas and momentum prompting the establishment of and/or key improvements in many of the programs that represent America‚Äôs commitment to older adults and caregivers.
To see the full set of NJ‚Äôs recommendations go to www.njfoundationforaging.org/policy-reports
The WHCoA has a website where policy briefings, comments and archive sessions may be viewed. To learn more go to www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov
The New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) is a public charity with the primary goal to empower elders to live in the community with independence and dignity.