5 Facts You Didn't Know About Social Security
Posted on August 28, 2018
Most people know at least something about Social Security. For decades, Social Security has been providing valuable information and tools to help you build financial security. Here’s your opportunity to find out a little more, with some lesser-known facts about Social Security.
1. Social Security pays benefits to children.
Social Security pays benefits to unmarried children whose parents are deceased, disabled, or retired. See Benefits for Children for the specific requirements.
2. Social Security can pay benefits to parents.
Most people know that when a worker dies, we can pay benefits to surviving spouses and children. What you may not know is that under certain circumstances, we can pay benefits to a surviving parent. Read our Fact Sheet Parent’s Benefits, for the details.
3. Widows’ and widowers’ payments can continue if remarriage occurs after age 60.
Remarriage ends survivor’s benefits when it occurs before age 60, but benefits can continue for marriages after age 60.
4. If a spouse draws reduced retirement benefits before starting spouse’s benefits (his or her spouse is younger), the spouse will not receive 50 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.
Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to 50 percent of your spouse’s full retirement age amount if you are full retirement age when you take it. If you qualify for your own retirement benefit and a spouse’s benefit, we always pay your own benefit first. (For example, you are eligible for $400 from your own retirement and $150 as a spouse for a total of $550.) The reduction rates for retirement and spouses benefits are different. If your spouse is younger, you cannot receive benefits unless he or she is receiving benefits (except for divorced spouses). If you took your reduced retirement first while waiting for your spouse to reach retirement age, when you add spouse’s benefits later, your own retirement portion remains reduced which causes the total retirement and spouses benefit together to total less than 50 percent of the worker’s amount. You can find out more on our website.
5. If your spouse’s retirement benefit is higher than your retirement benefit, and he or she chooses to take reduced benefits and dies first, your survivor benefit will be reduced, but may be higher than what your spouse received.
If the deceased worker started receiving reduced retirement benefits before their full retirement age, a special rule called the retirement insurance benefit limit may apply to the surviving spouse. The retirement insurance benefit limit is the maximum survivor benefit you may receive. Generally, the limit is the higher of:
- The reduced monthly retirement benefit to which the deceased spouse would have been entitled if they had lived, or
- 82.5 percent of the unreduced deceased spouse’s monthly benefit if they had started receiving benefits at their full retirement age (rather than choosing to receive a reduced retirement benefit early).
Social Security helps secure your financial future by providing the facts you need to make life’s important decisions.
FEDVIP Is Coming: Get To Know Dental & Vision Plans Today!
Posted on August 21, 2018
The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) ends on Dec. 31, 2018. Beginning in 2019, dental and vision plans will be available through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). Now is a good time to become familiar with FEDVIP options. FEDVIP 2019 plans and rates will be online in the fall. But you can look at 2018 plans and rates now.
FEDVIP offers a choice between 10 dental and 4 vision options. This fall will be your first chance to enroll in a FEDVIP dental or vision plan for 2019 coverage. If you’re eligible, you can enroll in FEDVIP during the 2018 Federal Benefits Open Season. This runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 10.
Who is eligible?
- Retired service members and their families who were eligible for TRDP are eligible for FEDVIP dental coverage. Also, they’re eligible for FEDVIP vision coverage if enrolled in a TRICARE health plan.
- Family members of active duty service members who are enrolled in a TRICARE health plan are eligible for FEDVIP vision coverage.
- Children enrolled in or eligible for TRICARE Young Adult aren’t eligible to enroll in FEDVIP.
When do you enroll?
- You can enroll in FEDVIP during the Federal Benefits Open Season. This year’s open season runs from Nov. 12 through Dec. 10, 2018. Your coverage will begin on Jan. 1, 2019.
- If you currently have TRDP, you must enroll in a FEDVIP plan during the Federal Benefits Open Season to continue dental coverage for 2019.
- The Federal Benefits Open Season is your annual opportunity to enroll in, change, or cancel a FEDVIP dental or vision plan.
August Healthy Living Tips: 3 Ways to Protect Your Health Through Preventive Care
Posted on August 20, 2018
August is Preventive Health Month — an ideal time to address your health. Preventive health helps you to identify and address health issues before they worsen. Practicing it protects you and your family from disease and illness. Preventive health for you may also mean finding ways to fit more exercise into your life and healthy food choices — all of these things can help you maintain good health. TRICARE covers many preventive health care services with no out-of-pocket costs to you. How you get preventive care depends on who you are and your TRICARE program option.
TRICARE Prime enrollees can get preventive care from their primary care manager or any TRICARE network provider in their region. You can use a non-network TRICARE-authorized providerAn authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network. with no copayments if you have a referral and authorization. TRICARE Select enrollees pay nothing for covered preventive services if they see a TRICARE network provider.
Preventive services include vaccines, exams, and screenings. Follow these three preventive health tips to help keep you and your family healthy:
- Make Health Exams Part of Your Child’s Routine
- Routine checkups should be a part of your child’s life from an early age. TRICARE covers primary care, dental, and eye exams for children. Coverage depends on the sponsor’s plan. TRICARE covers well-child care for all dependent children under age 6. This includes health exams starting from birth. There are no out-of-pocket costs for well-child care services when care is provided by a TRICARE network provider.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines are the best way to protect infants, children, and teens from potentially deadly diseases. TRICARE covers age-appropriate vaccines and immunizations that are recommended by the CDC. You can schedule covered vaccines from any TRICARE-authorized provider at no cost. But you may have to pay copayments or cost-shares for the office visit or for other services received during the same visit.
- Make Health Exams Part of Your Routine
- TRICARE also covers preventive health exams for both women and men. For women under age 65, TRICARE covers well-woman exams. They include breast exams, pelvic exams, and Pap tests to include HPV DNA testing.
- Important health screening tests for men include blood pressure and cancer screenings. One health promotion and disease prevention exam is available yearly to TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select beneficiaries.
- Make Healthy Living a Lifestyle
- Make healthy living a lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet improves your overall health while maintaining a healthy weight. Motivate yourself and your family to eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, and limit processed foods.
- Being active lowers your risk of developing chronic conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Check out recommended guidelines to help maintain or improve your health through regular physical activity.
Preventive health is a daily commitment to making smart choices and becoming more proactive about your health. Learn more about your TRICARE preventive health care benefits to help you and your family take command of your health now and for years to come.
Forever GI Bill expands VA educational benefits
Posted on August 14, 2018
WASHINGTON — Effective Aug. 1, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) implemented 15 more provisions of the Harry W. Colmery Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also referred to as the Forever GI Bill.
These provisions, in addition to the 13 implemented since the law was signed less than a year ago, will have an immediate and positive impact on Veterans and their families using VA benefits to pursue their educational goals.
“We are excited to get the word out about implementation of the provisions,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “From the day the Forever GI Bill was signed into law, VA, in collaboration with Veterans service organizations, state approving agencies and school certifying officials, has taken an expansive approach to ensure earned benefits are provided to Veterans in a timely, high-quality and efficient way.”
Some of the provisions that began Aug. 1 include:
- Recipients of a Purple Heart awarded on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are now eligible for full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for up to 36 months, if not already entitled.
- Military and Veteran families who have lost a family member can now reallocate transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
- Additional Guard and Reserve service now counts toward Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility.
- Post-9/11 GI Bill students may now receive monthly housing allowance for any days they are not on active duty, rather than having to wait until the next month; and
- Expansion of the Yellow Ribbon Program, which makes additional funds available for GI Bill students, now covers more students.
More provisions are scheduled related to science, technology, engineering and math benefit extensions; increased benefit levels; a pilot program for high-technology training geared toward “upskilling” Veterans to enter the workforce quickly; and another expansion of the Yellow Ribbon Program, which will be implemented by Aug. 1, 2022.
For more information, visit the Forever GI Bill – Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act page.
Visit the Education and Training webpage for more information. For questions about GI Bill benefits, call the Education Call Center at 888-442-4551 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CST) Monday through Friday. Join the conversation via Facebook or follow Veterans Benefits Administration on Twitter.
TRDP transition to FEDVIP
Posted on July 27, 2018
Are you enrolled in the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) and have questions on the upcoming transition to FEDVIP? If so, make sure to visit the TRDP transition site https://www.trdp.org/transition.html and check out the TRDP to FEDVIP transition fact sheet, sign up for updates, review program details and more. You can even do a “Live Chat” on that page should you need to talk to a representative
Seeking Referrals or Prior Authorizations for Specialty Care with TRICARE
Posted on July 16, 2018
At some point, you may need specialty care that your primary care manager (PCM) or general physician can’t provide. He or she may refer you to a specialty provider, like a cardiologist, dermatologist or obstetrician. Under some TRICARE programs, you may need a referral or prior authorization from your PCM to seek care from a specialty provider. A referral is when your PCM or provider sends you to another provider for care. You may also need pre-approval, or prior authorization, for coverage of certain care. Prior authorization is a review of a requested health care service by your regional contractor to see if TRICARE will cover it. Under TRICARE Prime, your PCM provides your routine care. When specialty care is needed, you’ll generally need to coordinate with your PCM (or other care coordinator) to see a specialty provider. Under the new rules for TRICARE Prime, your PCM may refer you to a network specialist without approval from your regional contractor. For clinical preventive services, TRICARE Prime beneficiaries can see any network provider within their region. You don’t need a referral or authorization. Without a referral from your PCM, you can get care from any TRICARE-authorized provider An authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network. , but you’ll pay more out of pocket. Your claim will be subject to the point-of-service (POS) option deductible and cost-share (50 percent of the TRICARE-allowable charge The maximum amount TRICARE pays for each procedure or service. This is tied by law to Medicare's allowable charges. ). POS doesn’t apply to active duty service members (ADSMs). POS doesn’t apply to clinical preventive care you get from a TRICARE network provider in your region. ADSMs must get referrals for civilian care. This includes mental health care, specialty care and more. ADSMs also need prior authorizations for all inpatient and outpatient specialty services. If you have TRICARE Prime and you live within a one-hour drive of a military hospital or clinic, your provider may refer you for specialty care at that facility. You may get travel reimbursement if referred for specialty care more than 100 miles away from your provider’s office. There is no referral requirement for urgent care visits, except for ADSMs enrolled to a military hospital or clinic. POS deductibles and cost-shares don’t apply when you get urgent care from a TRICARE network provider or a TRICARE-authorized (network or non-network) urgent care center or convenience clinic. Referrals aren’t required for most services under TRICARE Select. Under TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select, certain services need prior authorization. Some providers may contact your regional contractor to get you prior authorization. Prior authorizations apply to services like: Hospice care Home health care services Extended Care Health Option covered services Applied behavior analysis for autism spectrum disorder Your PCM will work with your regional contractor for referrals and prior authorizations as needed. For more information, visit your regional contractor’s website and the Referrals and Authorization page on the TRICARE website. Read original article at https://tricare.mil/CoveredServices/BenefitUpdates/Archives/05_24_18_Referral_Specialty_Care
Three Common Ways Your Social Security Payment Can Grow After Retirement
Posted on July 11, 2018
You made the choice and now you are happily retired. You filed online for your Social Security benefits. They arrive each month in the correct amount exactly as expected. But, did you ever wonder if your Social Security check could increase? Once you begin receiving benefits, there are three common ways benefit checks can increase: a cost of living adjustment (COLA); additional work; or an adjustment at full retirement age if you received reduced benefits and exceeded the earnings limit. The COLA is the most commonly known increase for Social Security payments. We annually announce a COLA, and there’s usually an increase in the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit amount people receive each month. By law, federal benefit rates increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). More than 66 million Americans saw a 2.0 percent increase in their Social Security and SSI benefits in 2018. For more information on the 2018 COLA, visit our website. Social Security uses your highest thirty-five years of earnings to figure your benefit amount when you sign up for benefits. If you work after you begin receiving benefits, your additional earnings may increase your payment. If you had fewer than 35 years of earnings when we figured your benefit, you will replace a zero earnings year with new earnings. If you had 35 years or more, we will check to see if your new year of earnings is higher than the lowest of the 35 years (after considering indexing). We check additional earnings each year you work while receiving Social Security. If an increase is due, we send a notice and pay a one-time check for the increase and your continuing payment will be higher. Maybe you chose to receive reduced Social Security retirement benefits while continuing to work. You made the choice to take benefits early, but at a reduced rate. If you exceeded the allowable earnings limit and had some of your benefits withheld, we will adjust your benefit once you reach full retirement age. We will refigure your payment to credit you for any months you did not receive payments. Your monthly benefit will increase based on the crediting months you receive. You can find additional information about working and your benefit by reading What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits. Retirement just got more interesting since you learned about potential increases to monthly payments. Social Security has been securing your today and tomorrow for more than 80 years with information and tools to help you achieve a successful retirement. Read original article at https://blog.ssa.gov/three-common-ways-your-social-security-payment-can-grow-after-retirement/
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Army Echoes informs Retired Soldiers, surviving spouses, and their Families on changes to their benefits and entitlements, developments within the Army, and how they can continue to support the Army.