Social Security Q&A

Authored By: Social Security Administration


Will my son, who just joined the Navy, pay Social Security tax during active-duty military service? +

Yes, people who serve in the armed forces are protected by Social Security. Military personnel have been covered by Social Security since 1957. While in the military service, your son will pay Social Security taxes just as civilian employees do. For more information, visit Social Security's website (click here) and read Military Service and Social Security.

Or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to request a copy of this publication.

Earlier this year I applied for Social Security benefits and was denied. Do I need to hire a lawyer to appeal? +

You may choose to have someone help you with your appeal or to represent you or you may handle your own appeal. The choice is up to you. Your representative may be a lawyer or other qualified person familiar with you and the Social Security program. Social Security will work with your representative or with you. Your representative cannot charge you a fee for their service without first obtaining approval from Social Security. 

If you want more information about having a representative click here. Read the publication "Your Right To Representation".

I'm 67 years old, ready to retire, and putting together a monthly budget for my retirement. Are my Social Security benefits taxable? +

Depending on the total amount of your income you may have to pay taxes on your benefits. About one-third of all people who receive Social Security benefits have to pay taxes on their benefits. Learn more by clicking here.

My youngest daughter, age 18, received Social Security benefits based on my work record until she graduated high school (I retired a while back). She will be going to college this fall. Will her Social Security benefits resume?  +

No. Normally, a child's benefits stop at age 18, unless the child is disabled. If the child is still a full-time student in secondary school at age 18, benefits can continue until she graduates or reaches age 19, whichever comes first. For more information click here.

Where can my buddies and I go for information about benefits for wounded soldiers? +

People serving in the armed forces who become disabled while on active duty are given expedited service. You also may be able to receive Social Security benefits even while you continue to receive your military pay. For more information, click here.

My 56-year-old brother recently lost his job and has not been able to find a new one.  He has no savings and is worried he may be evicted from his apartment. Can he get Supplemental Security Income? +

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program. But, a person also must be blind, have a disability, or be age 65 or older to receive it. If your brother has a disabling condition that makes him unable to work, he might be able to get SSI. Click here for more information.

My grandparents are having a hard time paying for the prescription drugs they need. I discovered they were skipping some medications just to pay the grocery bill during a recent visit. Is there anything Social Security or Medicare can do to help? +

Both Medicare and Social Security may be able to help, if your grandparents have limited income and resources and are having trouble paying for their prescriptions. The Medicare prescription drug plan can help them pay for their medications; extra help through Social Security can pay part of their monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. To figure out whether they're eligible, Social Security needs to know their income and the value of their savings, investments and real estate (other than the home they live in). To qualify for the extra help, your grandparents must be receiving Medicare. Click here to learn more.

I plan to retire early at age 62, so I'll receive early Social Security retirement benefits. Can Medicare coverage begin then as well? +

No. Medicare benefits based on retirement do not begin until you are 65. If you retire at an earlier age, you might be able to continue to have medical insurance coverage through your employer. Or you may decide to purchase it from a private insurance company, or until you reach age 65. Click here for more information.

My mom, whose income is limited, gets SSI benefits because of a heart condition. She's beginning to develop Alzheimer's. I'm looking for a comfortable nursing home because it's dangerous for her to live alone. Will this affect her SSI benefits? +

It depends on the type of facility. If an SSI beneficiary enters or leaves a public residential institution, skilled nursing facility, nursing home or any other kind of institution, Social Security needs to be notified. A person usually cannot get SSI while in a public institution. Click here for more information.

Last Review and Update: Nov 22, 2017