Social Security, an institution known to many for its role in delivering monthly payments, holds a treasure trove of surprising and valuable services that extend far beyond the scope of a mere paycheck. While its primary responsibility is to ensure timely and complete benefit deliveries to millions of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their families throughout the year, its rich history has incorporated numerous special services to assist its valued customers, including you and me. These services cater to pressing medical, familial, and financial concerns, making Social Security a true lifeline for many individuals nationwide.
Let’s explore some of the lesser-known and fascinating things Socal Security can do for you, shedding light on the untapped potential.
#1 Expedited Disability Claims:
Navigating the arduous process of claiming Social Security disability benefits can be daunting, with waiting periods stretching up to seven months and appeals taking even longer for those who initially face denial. This prolonged wait can be especially taxing for individuals dealing with severe or progressively worsening illnesses. The Social Security Administration introduced the innovative Compassionate Allowances program in response to this plight.
This program comprises a curated list of 266 serious medical conditions that automatically meet Social Security’s stringent standards for disability approval. Thanks to this compassionate initiative, applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that involve these qualifying conditions are promptly flagged for fast-track processing, resulting in approvals within days rather than months.
#2 Representative Payees:
As compassionate as Social Security is, it recognizes that not all recipients can handle their benefit payments. In certain cases, individuals may face cognitive disorders, developmental disabilities, or may even be minors. In such circumstances, Social Security extends its benevolent hand by appointing a representative payee to act on behalf of the beneficiary. Typically, this role falls to a family member or a close friend, while organizations such as nursing homes can also take up the responsibility.
With nearly 4.9 million people, or 7.5 percent of Social Security beneficiaries, benefiting from this service as of December 2021, the significance of this crucial support cannot be overstated. However, it comes with a solemn duty as Social Security holds payees accountable for the responsible allocation of funds, strictly prohibiting any personal misuse of the finances.
#3 Help with Medicare Drug Costs:
Social Security’s partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) stands out among the many services, as they jointly administer the Extra Help program. This invaluable initiative seeks to alleviate the burden of prescription drug expenses for low-income Medicare beneficiaries by potentially saving them a staggering estimated sum of $5,300 annually.
This financial aid can be applied towards premiums, deductibles, and copays associated with Medicare drug plans. To qualify, residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B, with their monthly income not exceeding $1,843 for individuals or $2,485 for a married couple.
#4 Translation and Interpretation:
In the spirit of inclusivity, Social Security recognizes that language barriers should never hinder access to vital services. Acknowledging the diverse linguistic landscape of the nation, the agency readily offers free interpreter services to anyone who requires language assistance when interacting with their staff. A wealth of languages, including Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Farsi, French, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese, can be accommodated for phone calls or office visits. Providing written materials in multiple languages on their website further reflects their commitment to bridging communication gaps and making essential information readily available.
#5 International Social Security Agreements:
Social Security’s remarkable scope extends beyond domestic borders, recognizing the interconnected global workforce of today’s world. For Americans working in foreign countries or foreign nationals working in the United States, concerns over dual payroll taxation may arise – paying into two countries’ retirement systems from the same wages. Social Security has successfully negotiated agreements with 30 countries boasting comparable retirement programs to alleviate this potential burden. These bilateral agreements ensure that workers only need to pay payroll taxes to one country’s retirement system at a time, effectively mitigating any financial strain. Moreover, they permit workers covered by the agreements to pool the credits earned from employment in multiple countries, thereby securing their eligibility for retirement benefits in the country they claim them.
#6 Proof of income
When applying for a loan or government support such as SNAP or housing assistance, you need to show proof of your income being high enough to be considered a good credit risk or low enough to qualify for aid. If your income includes Social Security benefits, you can quickly obtain the necessary evidence through the SSA’s online My Social Security service.
#7 Benefits for Grandchildren:
Minor grandchildren living with and primarily cared for by older adults may be eligible for Social Security benefits based on their relationship. If the natural parents are unable to provide sufficient financial support, the child can receive dependent, or survivor benefits from the grandparent’s record.
#8 Social Security and Babies
Social Security allows new parents to apply for their baby’s Social Security number before leaving the hospital. In addition to this service, the SSA releases an annual list of popular baby names, and its baby names index enables searching for top names by year, decade, and state, providing ideas for naming newborns and intriguing cultural data.
The above represent some of the various ways Social Security goes above and beyond to cater to the diverse needs of its patrons. With its unwavering commitment to providing support, assistance, and protection to individuals from all walks of life, Social Security has truly evolved into a guardian angel, safeguarding the well-being and financial security of countless Americans nationwide.