Coming Of Age… Again!

Coming Of Age… Again!

Photo of Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay

Think back to when you were younger. Life was simple at the kids’ table — the smell of a home-cooked dinner filling the air on a lazy Sunday afternoon and after dinner, everyone crowding around the TV set to watch the last football game of the season.

Fast-forward a few years to when the adults first invited you to their table, and your life changed. Your coming-of-age moment had arrived! This rite of passage is a transition from asking permission to giving notice.

Coming-of-Age Day in Japan honors all of the young people who reached age 20 during the past year. This national holiday is observed on the second Monday of January and celebrates the privileges and responsibilities of these new adults.

Coming-of-age moments do not come just once in life. Another important coming-of-age moment occurs when you decide to retire, and Social Security can help.

Determining when to retire is a personal decision that is influenced by your preferences and lifestyle. We encourage you to go online to www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs and read our fact sheet, When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits. You may find that this information helps you make an informed decision about the best time to retire. Invest the time to learn what you should do now to enjoy your retirement later.
Once you have come of age to retire — or even before, while you’re in the planning phase — our quick and convenient online services are available at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline. In as little as 15 minutes, you can soar through our online application.
It has never been easier to come of age at retirement! Take advantage of our services and resources to make the best decision for you at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.

GENERAL

Question: I’m creating my budget for 2015. How much will my benefit increase at the beginning of the year?

Answer: The monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for nearly 64 million Americans will increase by 1.7 percent in 2015. This annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is tied to the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. This New Year’s, you can enjoy your COLA beginning in January. Read our press release at www.socialsecurity.gov/news/#!/post/10-2014-2.

RETIREMENT

Question: I went back to work after retiring, but now the company I work for is downsizing. I’ll be receiving unemployment benefits in a few weeks. Will this affect my retirement benefits?

Answer: When it comes to retirement benefits, Social Security does not count unemployment as earnings, so your retirement benefits will not be affected. However, any income you receive from Social Security may reduce your unemployment benefits. Contact your state unemployment office for information on how your state applies the reduction to your unemployment compensation.

Question: I plan to retire this spring. How soon can I file for my Social Security benefits?

Answer: You can file four months before you plan to receive benefits. Go ahead and apply now if you plan to retire in the spring. To apply, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/applytoretire. Applying online has never been easier — you can do it from the comfort of your home. All you need is 15 minutes and Internet access.

DISABILITY

Question: I was wounded while on military service overseas. What are the benefits for wounded warriors, and how can I apply?

Answer: Through the Wounded Warrior program, Social Security expedites the processing of disability claims of current military service members or veterans disabled while on active duty on or after Oct. 1, 2001. Also, service members and veterans who have a Veterans Administration compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent and Total (P&T) may receive expedited processing of applications for Social Security disability benefits. Keep in mind that this expedited process applies only to the application for benefits. To qualify for benefits, you must meet Social Security’s strict definition of “disability,” which means:

  • You must be unable to do substantial work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your medical condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least one year or to result in death.

You can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability or call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
You can find more information for veterans at www.socialsecuritiy.gov/people/veterans.

Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.

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