There are often many questions from people about how to apply for Social Security benefits, what to do if you are turned down, and how working will affect your benefits. We can help you understand the rules of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and how they apply to your situation. SCIL’s Social Security Benefits Specialist is shared among three centers, so call for an appointment to discuss your issues.

Social Security Updates – January 2011

Federal Benefit Payments Are Going All-Electronic

People applying for new Social Security, Veterans benefits or other federal benefits on or after May 1, 2011, will receive their payments electronically starting with their first payment.

People currently receiving federal benefit checks will need to switch to an electronic payment option by March 1, 2013.

Those who do not choose an electronic payment option at the time they apply for federal benefits or those who do not switch by the deadline will receive their benefit payments via the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card.

People who are already receiving benefit payments electronically do not need to take action.

Visit the Partners section of http://www.GoDirect.org, or call a campaign representative at (952) 346-6055 for more information.

No Cost-of-Living Adjustment for 2011

Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that there will be no automatic cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2011 because of no increase in the Consumer Price Index.

The SSI federal benefit rate for individuals will remain at $674/mo. There was a decrease in the national average wage index in 2009 and so substantial gainful activity (SGA) will remain at $1,000/mo. and the amount of earnings to trigger a trial work period (TWP) will remain at $720/mo.

Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Management Service