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Social Security

What is Social Security?

Social Security is a federal program that provides retirement income for seniors who have paid into the program.

Since seniors receive payment directly from the government, they or their loved ones are free to apply those dollars toward private duty care, adult day care or residential care such as assisted living, residential care home, skilled nursing or even independent living. However the average amount of a Social Security check is approximately $1000, will not cover all the costs associated with long term care.

Lower income seniors may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income and / or state SSI supplements.

Qualifications of Social Security

  • Age - The minimum age to collect Social Security is 62. Benefit amounts increase the greater the age of the recipient.
  • Other - To collect Social Security, one must have paid into the system for at least 10 years. All persons legally working in the US pay into the system directly from their paychecks.

Social Security benefits are made as cash payments directly to the individual. There are no restrictions on how the payments can be spent. The average Social Security check is around $1,000 / month and the maximum is around $2,000 / month. However, each individual receives a different amount depending on the amount and number of years paid into the system as well as the age at which they began to receive benefits.

To begin receiving benefits can take between 1 - 3 months. Benefits start in the month following the month of entitlement. Entitlement means when an individual meets the minimum age requirement and completes the application.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a Social Security financial planning tool on their site to help you determine what age is the best time for your retirement  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/retirement/before-you-claim/