GENERAL

Q: Will my son be eligible to receive benefits on his retired father’s record while going to college?

A: No. At one time, Social Security did pay benefits to eligible college students. But the law changed in 1981. We now pay benefits only to students taking courses at grade 12 or below. Normally, benefits stop when children reach age 18 unless they are disabled. However, if children are still full-time students at a secondary (or elementary) school at age 18, benefits generally can continue until they graduate or until two months after they reach age 19, whichever is first.

RETIREMENT

Q: I’m not sure when I’m going to retire so I want to estimate my retirement benefit at several different ages. What’s the easiest way to do that?

A: Using our Retirement Estimator is easy at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator, and it’s the best way for you to get a good idea of what your monthly benefit payment may be after you retire. The Estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. Keep in mind, these are estimates and we can’t provide your actual benefit amount until you apply for benefits. You can use the Estimator if you have enough work to qualify for benefits and aren’t currently receiving benefits. If you are currently receiving only Medicare benefits, you can still get an estimate. You can learn about this subject by reading our publication, Retirement Information For Medicare Beneficiaries, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

DISABILITY

Q: I’ve been receiving SSI for a few years and recently went back to work. My boss wants me to work full time and I feel like I can do the job, but I’m concerned about losing my Medicaid coverage. If my SSI payments stop due to my earnings, can I still keep my Medicaid?

A: In most cases, Medicaid coverage will continue even if your earned income is too high to receive an SSI payment. In order to qualify for this coverage, the following provisions apply:

• You are still blind or have a disability; and

• You meet all the SSI eligibility requirements, except for the amount of your earnings; and

• You were eligible to receive a regular SSI cash payment for at least one month before you became eligible under Section 1619 of the Social Security Act; and

• You were eligible for Medicaid coverage in the month before you became eligible under Section 1619; and

• You need continued Medicaid in order to work; and

• Your earnings would not replace the value of your SSI cash benefits, your Medicaid benefits, and any publicly funded personal or attendant care you receive that would be lost due to your earnings.

The amount you can earn and still receive Medicaid varies from state to state. You may call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) for more information.

MEDICARE

Q: Will eligibility for the Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs be reviewed and, if so, how often?

A: If you get the Extra Help, Social Security may contact you to review your status. This reassessment will ensure you remain eligible for Extra Help and receive all the benefits you deserve. Annually, usually at the end of August, we may send you a form to complete: Social Security Administration Review of Your Eligibility for Extra Help. You will have 30 days to complete and return this form. Any necessary adjustments to the Extra Help will be effective in January of the following year. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp for more information.

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