What’s the scoop on income proof, SSI?

Rhonda Whitenack and Jim Czechowicz
Social Security Public Affairs

Q: I need to get something from Social Security to verify my income. How can I do that?

A: We provide three types of income proof:

1. A Benefit Verification Letter shows your monthly benefit amount. You can get your Benefit Verification Letter online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. It often is used as official proof of income to:
• apply for a loan
• give to a landlord
• obtain housing assistance, or other state or local benefits
• verify Medicare coverage or
• verify retirement status, disability, or age.

2. An SSA-1099 shows your annual income for income tax purposes. We mail the SSA-1099 by January 31 each year. You can request an SSA-1099 online, or you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit a local office. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov to locate the office nearest you.
3. An annual cost-of-living adjustment notice is sent to all beneficiaries at the end of each year providing the amount of the monthly benefit for the following year.  

Q: What is the earliest age I can begin receiving retirement benefits?

A: The earliest age you can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits is 62. If you decide to receive benefits before your full retirement age, you will receive a reduced benefit. Keep in mind you will not be able to receive Medicare coverage until age 65, even if you decide to retire at an earlier age. Check out our Retirement Estimator to get fast, personalized estimates of future benefits. You can find them at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. For more information, go to www.socialsecurity.gov.

Q: My brother had an accident at work last year and is now receiving Social Security disability benefits for himself, his wife, and their daughter. Before his accident, he helped support his son from a previous relationship. Is his son entitled to some benefits as well?

A: Regardless of whether your brother was married to his son’s mother, his son may qualify for Social Security benefits on his record. Someone should file an application on his behalf. If he is found to be eligible, both children would receive equal benefits. Learn more by reading our online publication, Disability Benefits (Publication No. 05-10029) at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10029.html.

Q: I understand that to get Social Security disability benefits, my disability must be expected to last at least a year. Do I have to wait a year before I can apply for benefits?

A: No. If you believe your disability will last a year or longer, apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. It can take three to four months to process an application. If your application is approved, we will pay your first Social Security disability benefits for the sixth full month after the date your disability began. For more information about Social Security disability benefits, refer to Disability Benefits (Publication No. 05-10029) at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10029.html.

Q: What are the rules for getting Supplemental Security Income? I’m thinking about applying.

A: To be eligible to receive SSI benefits, you must be disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. You also must have limited income and resources. Income is defined as wages, Social Security benefits, and pensions. Income also includes food and shelter you receive from others. Social Security does not count all of your income when deciding whether you qualify for SSI. Resources include bank accounts, cash, stocks, and bonds. You may be able to get SSI if your resources are worth no more than $2,000 ($3,000 for a couple). Learn more by reading our publication, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/11000.html.

Q: I have an appointment to apply for Supplemental Security Income. What kind of information will I need to take with me?

A: So the application process can go smoothly, you should bring:
• your Social Security number;
• your original birth certificate or other proof of your age;
• information about the home where you live, such as your mortgage or your lease and landlord’s name;
• payroll slips, bank balances, insurance policies, burial fund records, and other information about your income and the things you own;
• proof of U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen status; and
• if you are applying for SSI because you are disabled or blind, the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of doctors, hospitals, and clinics that you have visited.

Learn more by reading our publication, You May Be Able To Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/11069.html.

Q: What is the “Part B” Medicare monthly premium for 2013?

A: Most people pay the standard Part B premium of $104.90 each month in 2013. If your modified adjusted gross income on your Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax return from two years ago (the most recent tax return information provided to Social Security by the IRS) is above a certain amount, you may need to pay more. Only about ten percent of Medicare beneficiaries, those with very high income, are required to pay a monthly premium greater than $104.90. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov and select the “Medicare” tab.


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