Social Security Honors Veterans and Recognizes National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
Thursday, December 7 was National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Each year we commemorate the attack on Pearl
Harbor and honor the men and women who fought and lost their lives during the historic battle.
Every day, Social Security honors our heroes who proudly serve our country. Social Security is committed to
helping our veterans. One of our priorities is to constantly improve the quality of service we provide to
them and their families. Acting Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill said, “We honor and thank the brave men and
women who served in our nation’s armed forces.” Let us always remember their courage and sacrifice.
If you or your clients know a veteran or active duty member of the military that needs help with benefits,
please direct them to our veterans website at
Is it Medicare of Medicaid? We Can Explain
Many of your clients might have a difficult time understanding the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. We are here to clear up any confusion.
Medicare is the earned-benefit program for Americans aged 65 or older, or disabled. Workers pay into Medicare
throughout their working years. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is the agency in charge of both
Medicare and Medicaid, but you sign up for Medicare A (Hospital) and Medicare B (Medical) through Social
You can apply for Medicare online from the convenience of your home at the link on our website: www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/medicare/.
Each state runs its own Medicaid program under guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Medicaid offers care for the most vulnerable among us. While it does not require paying taxes while working,
it does have guidelines about how much income and resources you can have to qualify. Medicaid provides coverage
for older people, people with disabilities, and some families with children. Each state has its own eligibility
rules and decides which services to cover. The names of the Medicaid program may vary from state to state.
You can read about each state’s Medicaid program at www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/by-state/by-state.html.
You can find each state’s Medicaid contact information at www.medicaid.gov/about-us/contact-us/contact-state-page.html.
Medicare and Medicaid are two of the major insurance programs that provide healthcare to the American public.
Understanding each program, as well as how the two programs differ, can help you and those you care about
find the right healthcare program.
Our Gift to Children is Security
During the holiday season, most of us, regardless of religion or beliefs, focus on the children we love. Caring
for children is one of the best ways to safeguard the future. And we at Social Security know a thing or two
about helping children.
Children with disabilities are among our most vulnerable citizens. Social Security is dedicated to helping those with qualifying disabilities and their families through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSI:
- The child must have a physical or mental condition, or a combination of conditions, resulting in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the condition(s) must severely limit your child’s activities;
- The child’s condition(s) must be severe, last for at least 12 months, or be expected to result in death; and
- The child must not be working and earning more than the Substantial Gainful Activity limit ($1,180 a month in 2018).
If the child’s condition(s) does not result in “marked and severe limitations,” or does not result in those limitations lasting for at least 12 months, the child will not qualify for SSI.
Family resources are also considered. If the parents of the child or children have more resources than are allowed, then the child or children will not qualify for SSI. You can read more about children’s benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf. Visit
www.socialsecurity.gov/people/kids to learn more about all we do to care for
Social Security Benefits to Increase in 2018
When we announce the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), 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
The CPI-W rises when prices increase, making your cost of living go up. This means that prices for goods and
services are, on average, a little more expensive. The COLA helps to offset these costs. As a result, monthly
Social Security and SSI benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase 2.0 percent in 2018.
Other changes that will happen in January 2018 are based on the increase in the national average wage index.
For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax will increase to $128,400.
The earnings limit for workers younger than “full” retirement age will increase to $17,040, and the limit
for people turning 66 in 2018 will increase to $45,360.
For information about the 2018 COLA, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.
Social Security Holiday Field Office Closings
Social Security would like to wish you happy holidays and season’s greetings from our family to yours! The spirit of giving is at the heart of what we do — supporting those in need all year long. Should you need to do business with us during the holiday season, we want you to know that we will be closed on New Year’s Day, January 1.
For a list of our secure and convenient online services, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.