benefits law

work credits

To receive any kind of Social Security benefit -- retirement, disability, dependents, or survivors -- the person on whose record the benefit is to be calculated must have accumulated enough work credits. A person can earn up to four work credits per year, and anyone who works full time, even at a very low-paying job, easily accumulates them. Ask the Social Security Administration for a copy of your Social Security Statement to see how many work credits you have accumulated.

Social Security tax

A portion of the FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) tax that is 12.4% of an individual's net earned income. The employee's share of the Medicare tax is 6.2% of wages up to a certain limit (called the Social Security Wage Base) that increases each year. The employer's share of the Medicare tax is 6.2% of an employee's wages up to that limit.

Section 8

The name of a federally financed housing assistance program, in which the government helps low-income tenants with rent payments. Typically, the government pays about one-third of the rent, and the tenant pays the balance. Landlords who choose to participate in the Section 8 program must have their properties inspected, and must agree to use the lease addendum issued by HUD, which obligates the landlord to a rental term of no less than one year, and specifies allowable reasons for termination.

Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)

A program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients return to work. Under PASS, SSI recipients design a plan that shows how certain assets -- such as a car or tools -- will help them achieve a work goal. If the SSA approves the plan, then those assets will not be counted as resources in determining eligibility for SSI or in calculating the amount of the SSI benefit.

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