Social Security Benefits Guide For Human Resources Professionals

As a human resources professional, you are responsible for providing employees all the information they need to make the best financial decisions possible to help them maintain financial stability well into retirement. This includes knowing all there is to know about Social Security benefits, just as you are expected to know all about the workers compensation requirements for your organization. This is one of the primary sources of income for retirees outside of their 401(k) plans or pensions. However, many HR professionals have little more than a working knowledge of the basics of Social Security. Find out all you need to know about Social Security benefits below in order to relay that information to employees for years to come.

When Can Someone Apply For Benefits?

The first thing you need to know is when a professional is eligible to apply for Social Security benefits. Often, many HR managers assume that Social Security benefits are only disbursed when a person retires over the age of 62. This is wrong. Social Security benefits can also be disbursed to workers with disabilities through the Social Security disability insurance program. They can also be disbursed to surviving spouses, parents or children after a worker’s passing. It is important to let employees know what options are available to them when it comes to disability benefits and survivor benefits within the Social Security program.

When Should They Apply?

Knowing when workers are eligible for Social Security benefits is fairly straightforward. Knowing when workers should apply is a different thing entirely. Benefit amounts will vary based on a number of different factors. Each individual professional will have a different set of circumstances that determines when the best time to retire is for their particular financial situation, from the supply chain professional to the project manager. You can help guide workers by providing them the resources they need to make this decision for themselves. Be sure to know the Social Security benefits calculators you can direct them to to help them make the best decision possible. This way, you are doing your job to guide them through the process without taking up an entire day to figure things out for them.

How Can Workers Apply?

The first thing many soon-to-be retirees will ask you as an HR professional – “How do I apply for Social Security benefits?” You need to be prepared to answer this question. Luckily, the Social Security Administration makes it incredibly simple. Retirees can apply for Social Security benefits online. In fact, they can use this same portal to apply for retirement benefits, spouse’s benefits, Medicare benefits or disability benefits. Be sure to know where company employees can apply for benefits online so that you can provide the URL for anyone that requires it.

What Information Will They Need?

What information will applicants need when they decide to finally apply for benefits? This is something you must know as an HR manager. It may seem like a simple thing workers can look up for themselves. However, it can be a daunting task for a soon-to-be retiree. Make the process easier by letting them know what information they can expect to need when applying for Social Security benefits online. They will need to have their personal and financial information as well as personal information about their spouse and children. They can also expect to provide information about their work, including a copy of their social security statement or other record of earnings. The SSA may also request additional documents, like a birth certificate, proof of U.S. citizenship, U.S. military service papers or W-2 forms. Keep this information on hand to supply Social Security applicants in preparation for the online application.

If you are a Human Resources manager or other HR professional, understanding how Social Security works is a must. You do not have to become an accountant to figure it out though. Social Security benefits are one of the primary sources of income for retirees. You want to be able to guide them through the confusing process of applying for Social Security benefits. Use the information above to help you learn up on the process. Then, you can use this information to distribute to employees with their own retirement plans in the works. That way, everyone knows what they are getting into and you can rest easy knowing that you did all you could to prepare employees for a long, comfortable retirement with plenty of financial stability.

Photo from http://www.aarp.org/retirement/

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