Social Security

Social Security is a federal benefits program for retirees (approximately 61 percent) receive retirement benefits, but the program also supports people who are disabled, a spouse or a dependent of someone who gets Social Security, a widow, widower, or a child of someone who has died.  Please contact Congressman Matheson’s Salt Lake office if you have any questions.

Have 15 Minutes?  Apply Online for Social Security Retirement Benefits

The Social Security Administration is introducing an online application that will allow people to apply for retirement benefits from the convenience of their computer. The plan recognizes that with some 10,000 people a day becoming eligible for retirement, the old system of applying in person at a Social Security office will not accommodate the workload. The program has no paper forms to sign and usually requires no additional documents.  To use the new program, please go to the secure website and click on "Filing Online for Retirement Benefits" at the top of the page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is there a fast way to figure out whether I qualify for a particular Social Security benefit?
Yes, the Benefit Eligibility Screen Tool tests for eligibility for: Medicare, Social Security Disability, Social Security Retirement, Social Security Survivors, Special Veterans, and Supplemental Security Income.  You can check your eligibility online in five or ten minutes for all of these programs.

Q: Where can I find a good outline of Social Security and its various programs?
One of the best resources is the Social Security Handbook,  which provides information about the programs that comprise Social Security.

Q:What should I do if my claim for Social Security benefits was denied?
Contact our local Social Security Administration (SSA) office and request a meeting to review your file and to get an explanation for your denial. You have approx 60 days to file an appeal, if the appeal is denied you are entitled to a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge.

Q: What should I do if I believe that I am being charged for an overpayment?
If you are being charged an overpayment, you should immediately contact the local SSA office and request an application for reconsideration and waiver. A reconsideration means that you realize that you were overpaid and may be able to pay back a portion of the overpayment. A Waiver means that the SSA made an error that you feel you should not be held responsible for because it would cause a financial burden.

Q: What can I do if my claim is taking longer than expected?
If you have already tried calling the local SSA office without success, Congressman Matheson’s office is able to place an inquiry on the status of your claim.

Q: How is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) different from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that is funded by your payroll taxes; it works like a kind of disability insurance program. If you have paid payroll taxes for the required numbers of quarters, you will have insured status and you will be entitled to coverage under the program if you meet the legal definition of disability. SSI is a program that does not require insured status but you must still be disabled to qualify. SSI benefits are more limited than SSDI benefits, normally, and they are not payable if an applicant has other household income beyond a threshold amount.

Q: How do I know if I correctly applied for SSI or SSDI, or perhaps made a mistake and applied for the wrong program?
Ordinarily, if there is any question whether a claimant is eligible for one of the programs, the Social Security office assisting with the application will see that the application is made to both programs.

Q: Why does it take so long to get disability compensation?
Even if there is no question that you are disabled, no benefits are payable for the first five months after you become disabled because Social Security Disability has a five-month waiting period by law.  Additionally, there is an application backlog within the SSA meaning that complex reviews of disability cases may take even longer than originally expected.  Finally, it takes time to obtain medical reports from your doctor or hospital and have them reviewed properly.  Disability cases are often delayed because the reviewing agency is waiting for additional medical evidence to come from the claimant’s physician.  Cases sent to the Appeals Council can take much longer than a year.  However, Congressman Matheson’s office is able to check on the status of a case that has taken longer than expected, given these conditions.

Q: Can anything be done to speed up action on the case?
Sometimes action can be expedited if there is a showing that a foreclosure on a home or an eviction or a similar difficulty is imminent. You should contact our office with that information and any documentation that will show the problem.

Q: I was turned down for disability years ago but I still haven’t been able to work.  Is there anything I can do?
Even if you are past your appeal period from you earlier denial, you can reapply.  Sometimes a condition that was not found to be initially disabling might have grown worse over time.  Reapplying for disability coverage would likely not result in back-payments, but it may provide you with compensation.  The longer you wait to reapply without a history of work, however, the closer you come to losing your insured status for SSDI payments.