If you’re a resident of Arizona, you can receive benefit payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you retire or become disabled. Your family members can also receive payments from SSA if you were to pass away. Each program has requirements you must meet to qualify for benefits, however.
Social Security and Arizona
Arizona is one of four states (along with California, Nevada and Hawaii) in addition to the American Samoa, Guam and that make up the SSA’s San Francisco Region. In 2009, Arizona had over 1 million beneficiaries who received $1.13 billion in monthly retirement, survivors and disability benefits from the SSA. As of 2011, beneficiaries in the San Francisco Region receive $92 billion in SSA Benefits annually.
Social Security Survivors
Survivors benefits are paid to your family members when you die. To qualify, you must have earned enough work credits and paid into Social Security when you worked. You receive a work credit for every $1,120 you make. A maximum of four are earned when you make $4,480. You generally need 40 work credits to receive benefits, but your family can still receive payments if you die before reaching it. Benefit amounts are based on your earnings record and their ages. Your ex-spouse is entitled to benefits as well. Her benefit amounts are the same as your current spouse. The SSA reduces your family’s benefits if the amounts exceed 180 percent of your benefit rate; your ex-spouse’s payments don’t count toward your family’s total. The SSA paid over $85 million each month to Arizona widowers in 2009.
Social Security Disability
If you have an injury, illness or impairment scheduled to last longer than 12 months and it prevents you from working, you can apply for SSA Disability benefits. Over 138,000 Arizona disabled workers received benefit payments in 2009. You’re eligible for SSA Disability benefits if you have 40 work credits; however, there is an exception: if you’re young and your disability caused you to stop working before reaching this requirement, the federal agency may still pay you benefits. Your history of earnings determines how much your disability payments are. If you’re able to work after recovering from your disability, you can receive full disability benefits during months when your earnings are not considered substantial. You won’t receive disability benefits if you make over $1,000 a month or $1,640 if you’re blind.
Social Security Retirement
The SSA also pays retirement benefits to you if you meet certain requirements. You must have accumulated 40 work credits and paid into Social Security when you were employed. SSA Retirement benefits are based on 35 years of your earnings. You have the option of delaying your benefit payments until after your retirement age, which is currently 67 if you were born after 1960. By receiving benefits later, your benefit amounts are higher. You can also work and receive retirement benefits as well, which also boosts your amounts on later payments when you finally stop working. In 2009, $824 million in retirement benefits were paid to retired Arizona workers each month.