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Malti Patel
WELFARE CONCERNS FOR ELDERLY IMMIGRANTS ADDRESSED
By MALTI PATEL - malti13@comcast.net

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What are Social Security credits and how do I earn them?

A: Credits are based on the amount of your earnings. You can earn up to a maximum of 4 credits each year when you work in a job or operate your own business as a self-employed person and pay Social Security taxes.

Each year, the amount of earnings needed for credits goes up slightly as average earnings levels increase. In 2007, you earn one credit for each $1,000 of your earnings. So if you have earned at least $4,000 during the year, you get the maximum 4 credits. In 2006, the amount for one credit was $970.

Q: What is the difference between Social Security disability and SSI disability?

A: The Social Security Administration is responsible for two major programs that provide benefits based on disability: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on prior work under Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Under SSI, payments are made on the basis of financial need.

Q: When I start receiving Social Security benefits, will my benefit amount be the same for the rest of my life?

A: Your benefit amount will not stay the same – generally, the benefit amount increases each year and protects beneficiaries against inflation. Social Security provides an annual cost-of-living increase that is based on the consumer price index. The 2007 increase for beneficiaries is 3.3 percent and the 2006 increase was 4.1 percent.

Q: Does a spouse, age 62, receive Medicare benefits when his/her aged 65 husband/wife does?

A: Generally not. The minimum age for Medicare eligibility is 65. But, if you've been getting Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, you can receive Medicare at any age.

Q: What is Five-Year Bar?

A: Immigrants who entered the United States on a qualified legal alien status after Aug. 22, 1996 are not eligible for Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for five years.

These questions and answers are courtesy of Malti Patel, 1607 Wood Creek Lane, Allen, Texas-75002. She can be reached at (469) 675-0972.








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