You may have heard about the “extra dimensions” of Social Security. Most of us understand that Social Security is there for us, but that it is incredibly hard to navigate and actually get everything that you’re entitled to. Adding “extra dimensions” to this only makes it even more complex. Indeed, Social Security is anything but user friendly and quick, and it is often not fit for purpose either. Each individual has certain circumstances which means that person may be entitled to certain things but not others. Unfortunately, because employees at the Social Security office have to meet targets, it is unlikely that they are able to give everyone who contacts them the personal attention that they actually require.
So what are some of the extra dimensions that are out there? Getting to know the system is a great way to make sure that you actually get what you are entitled to. This is not in the least because you don’t have to ask what you can get, but rather ask how you can get something. Let’s take a look.
A few years back, it became obvious that people who were seriously ill were being unfairly disadvantaged by long waiting times, before a decision could be made on their disability allowances. As a result, the Compassionate Allowance List was created, which grants disability status very quickly to anyone who is diagnosed with a condition included on the list. It currently has 225 conditions listed.
To create the list, seven public hearings were held all over the country in order to look at the medical information that exists on cancers, rare diseases, stroke, traumatic brain injury, early onset Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cardiovascular disease, schizophrenia, autoimmune diseases, and multiple organ transplants. Input was provided by scientific and medical experts, including National Institutes of Health professionals. According to Social Security, anyone who has an official diagnosis of any of these conditions will be approved in weeks. Those without may have to wait months, sometimes even years.
International Social Security
A lot of people in this country work abroad during at least part of their career. Similarly, foreign nationals work here. Both have struggled with understanding the double payroll tax problems, ending up with them not accumulating sufficient credits in either country to be able to receive Social Security benefits. As a result, agreements have been negotiated with 25 countries across the world, all of which have their own social security systems similar to our own. This means that these people only have to pay payroll taxes to one system, but the credits can then be pooled in order to receive the benefits that they are entitled to.
Representative Payee Program
An unfortunate reality is that some people are just bad at managing money. This means that they need help, and this help is now available through the Representative Payee Program. The goal of this program is to bring together people who want to help others with those who actually need that help. People can sign themselves up for that, but you can also refer someone you love or care about. You can simply make an appointment with Social Security in order to discuss the situation. It is always hoped that a family member or friend can be found to become a representative payee. However, if none exist, then there are qualified organizations that are able to provide people to manage the money of someone who is incapable of doing so themselves.
Once a payee is appointed, all benefits are sent to them by Social Security. They then manage this, so that the person can have their bills paid and needs met. This is a huge responsibility and the payee must be willing to take that responsibility on, keeping records and accounts and filing reports as well.
Free Interpretation Services
Few people know that Social Security also provides free interpretation services to anyone who needs to speak to them but doesn’t have English as a first language. The agency has translators available in Vietnamese, Tagalog, Spanish, Somali, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Laotian, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Hmong, Haitian Creole, Greek, French, Farsi, Chinese, Cambodian, Armenian, and Arabic. An interpreter can be requested by simply telephoning the agency.
Option number 7 is for Spanish speaking people. Those who require any other language should simply remain silent while the voice automation, in English, prompts them with questions. A representative will then answer and they will arrange for an interpreter as well. This service is also available in person, although you will need to make an appointment at your nearest office, after which an interpreter will be present for you.
Baby Social Security Numbers
The last service that Social Security offers that many people aren’t aware of, is the social security number for a baby. The reality is that getting a social security number should be one of the first things that a new parent considers. This is also why they can usually request the number at the hospital in which their child is born, at the same time as them registering the birth. This means you do not have to telephone Social Security and wait in the queue for ages, nor do you have to haul a newborn baby to your nearest social security office.
The minute your child is provided with a social security number, you will be entitled to a number of different things. First of all, you can claim for the child on your tax return as your dependent. Secondly, you will be able to open a bank account in the child’s name and start to buy savings bonds for them. You can also apply for any relevant government service and obtain medical insurance so that your child is covered. Interestingly, you can even get help in naming the baby!
Some parents simply struggle to find a name for their child, but Social Security can actually help. They have created a list, which is updated yearly, with the most popular names at present. Usually, names like Sophia, Olivia, and Emma top the list for girls, and Mason, Liam, and Noah top the list for boys.