Do you scream for ice cream? If so, July’s the month for you. (If not, read on just the same — we have a surprise for you at the end.)
July is National Ice Cream Month and July 20 is National Ice Cream Day. Take your family to get ice cream and you’ll find a variety of flavors. Same with Social Security. Most people think of retirement, but that’s like limiting yourself to vanilla. At Social Security, we offer a variety of benefits.
Retirement — by far our most popular flavor. Most people need about 10 years of work (40 credits) to qualify for retirement benefits. You can retire as early as age 62 (generally, benefits are permanently reduced) or wait until full retirement age (currently age 66, but gradually increasing to age 67) for a larger benefit payment. Put off retirement and earn even more. To learn more, read When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits, available at www.socialsecurity.gov /pubs.
Disability — if you become disabled and unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The number of credits needed depends on how old you are when you become disabled. Learn more at www.social security.gov/ disability.
Survivors — in the unfortunate event of your early demise, your family may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. In most cases, you need to have worked about 10 years for your surviving family members to qualify for survivors benefits. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov /survivorplan.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — this needs-based program pays benefits to aged, blind, and disabled people with low income and few resources. Find out more at www.social security.gov/ssi.
Your family may be more excited about a trip to the ice cream parlor than a discussion about benefits, but it’s good to know that Social Security offers benefits when you need them.
Don’t like ice cream? July 20 is National Lollipop Day, too! So grab a lollipop and visit www.socialsecurity.gov . There is so much you can do online; you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store. Chances are you’ll complete your business before your lollipop. If you have questions, our number is 1-800-772-1213. The Tyler office is at 5509 S. Donnybrook Ave.
Leo Rossler is a Social Security district manager based in Tyler.