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Common Social Security Terms

Here are some common Social Security terms you may want to know as you work through your Social Security disability claim.

AIME: Average Indexed Monthly Earnings. The earnings which are used to calculate your Social Security benefit if you attained age 62 or became disabled or died after 1978.

AME: Average Monthly Earnings. The earnings used in calculating a person’s monthly Social Security benefit if you attained age 62 or became disabled or died before 1978.

Appeal: The process of challenging or appealing the decision of the ruling of your disability case. Many people will appeal their cases and will need assistance of skilled attorney in the appeal process.

Base Years: A wage earner’s base years, for Social Security benefits, are the years after 1950, up to the year before entitlement to retirement or disability insurance benefits.

COLA: Cost of Living Adjustment. These adjustments are made to Social Security payments to adjust for increases in costs of living.

CPI: Consumer Price Index. The index used to determine the cost of living adjustments.

Credits: The number of credits to qualify for Social Security benefits is 40. Credits are earned by working and paying Social Security taxes. A person can earn up to four credits per year for every year they have worked.

Decision Notice: The letter a person receives with the decision if you are awarded benefits or not. The decision notice also contains the dollar amount awarded.

DRC: Delayed Retirement Credits. The increase of benefits if a person delays retiring beyond full retirement age.

Disability Benefits: The benefits you receive when you under full retirement age, have enough Social Security credits and have a medical condition which does not allow you to work.

ERA: Early Retirement Age. The age of 62 is the early retirement age when you can receive Social Security benefits

FICA Tax: Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax. This tax is taken out of your paycheck which funds Social Security and Medicare.

Full Retirement Age:
The current age needed to receive full retirement benefits. Full retirement age is currently 65. It is expected to rise to 67 in 2027.

Lifetime Earnings:
The record of the amount of money you have earned for each year you have worked. The lifetime earnings record is used in determining your Social Security credits.

Maximum Earnings: The maximum amount of earnings which can be used towards calculating one’s Social Security benefits.

OASDI: Old Age Survivors Disability Insurance.

Retirement Age: The minimum age needed to retire and receive reduced benefits is 62. The retirement age of 65 is the required age to receive full benefits.

Social Security: The government program into which an individual pays taxes. The program allows for benefit payments to be paid upon retirement or if one becomes disabled.

SSI: Supplemental security income. A federal program which provides people, who do not qualify for disability benefits, with payments to cover food, clothing and shelter. This is an alternative if one does not qualify for Social Security Disability. A qualified attorney can help you with the process.

Wage Earner: A person who works and earns wages. The amount in wages determines the number of Social Security credits earned towards retirement benefits.

Please contact the Law offices of Daniel Berger if you need assistance in understanding the terms of your case.

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