What Is the Social Security Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool and When Should You Use It?

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If you are approaching retirement age or have recently been injured or disabled, you may be wondering if you are eligible for Social Security benefits such as disability assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or retirement benefits.

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The Social Security Administration’s Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (SSA BEST) can tell you what benefits you may be eligible for in just a few minutes.

How to Make the Most of SSA BEST

To use SSA BEST, you must first complete an online questionnaire about the benefits you believe you are entitled to. Among the options are:

  • Assistance with Disabilities
  • Family advantages
  • Insurance
  • Medicare
  • Retirement
  • Widow & Spouse (er)
  • Earned Income Supplement
  • Benefits for Veterans

 

How SSA Works Best

According to the website, when you complete the questionnaire, SSA Best does not store the information and does not share your answers. The questionnaire takes a few minutes to complete and includes questions about your marital status, income, general health, and date of birth.

It does not request any personally identifying information from you, such as your name, address, or social security number.

If it appears that you may be eligible for benefits, it will direct you to where you can obtain more information.

Who Should Make Use of It?

If you’ve recently experienced changes in your health that prevent you from working or limit the hours you can work, if you or your spouse are over the age of 62 and considering retirement, or if your income level or marital status has recently changed, you should use the tool. Using the tool can help you save time and set your expectations before beginning the process of applying for benefits.

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The Social Security Administration wants people to understand that the tool is not a benefits application and will not send you money. Rather, it is a resource that informs you of the benefits that you may be eligible to apply for. After that, go to SSA.gov/benefits/forms to fill out the appropriate form online. If you are unable to complete an online form, you can call 1-800-772-1213 for assistance in applying for benefits.

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