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Chapter 23. Social Security and Medicare > Ready to Sign Up? - Pg. 245

Social Security and Medicare · Be caring for a child who is eligible for benefits on your record, or · Not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on his or her own record, or · Not be currently married, unless the remarriage occurred after age 60 (age 50 for disabled widows). 245 For What It's Worth If an ex-spouse receives benefits on your account, it does not affect the amount of benefits payable to other survivors on your record. There is also no limit on the number of ex-spouses who can receive benefits on your account. (There are serious fiscal reasons for the government to worry about the rising divorce rate!) If you've been divorced and your ex remarries after age 60, he or she will be eligible for a widow's or widower's benefit on your record or a dependent's benefit on the record of his or her new spouse, whichever is higher. Supplemental Security Income Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is run by Social Security, but the money to pay for SSI benefits comes form the general revenue funds of the U.S. Treasury. SSI makes monthly payments to people who have low incomes and few assets. To be eligible, one must be 65 or older, blind, or disabled. Children as well as adults can get SSI because of blindness or other disability. Now, the wording "few assets" means just that--very few. Children normally have very few, but for adults the cutoff is $2,000 for singles and $3,000 for couples. The Social Security Administration doesn't count a house and personal belongings as assets. But this is a program for the truly needy: generally if people qualify for SSI, they will qualify for Medicaid, food stamps, and other assistance. Ready to Sign Up? It's easy to sign up for your benefits. But you need to be organized and able to produce certain documents so that you can prove you're who you claim to be. Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 and get the phone number and address of your local Social Security office. Then make an appointment so you can apply in person. De- pending on your circumstances, you'll need some or all of the documents listed in the following list. If you're missing a document, the Social Security office may be able to help you get it. Information needed: · · · · Your Social Security number Your birth certificate Your W-2 forms or self-employment tax return for last year Your military discharge papers, if you had military service