Q. How do I know when it's the right time for me to begin getting retirement benefits?
A. If you use our online Retirement Estimator, you can get estimates of your benefit at various ages from 62, the earliest eligibility age, to 70, the age when you can take full advantage of delayed retirement credits.
It allows you to key in multiple scenarios so you can get an instant, personalized estimate of your future retirement benefits. It's the best way to begin planning for your retirement. You can find the online Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator
Q. I'm thinking about getting disability insurance from a private company. If I become disabled and have a private policy, would it reduce my Social Security disability benefit?
A. No. Your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits is not affected by any private insurance you may have. But workers' compensation and certain other public disability payments may affect your Social Security benefit.
You also should ask the company providing your disability protection what effect Social Security will have on the benefits it provides.
For more information about Social Security disability benefits, read our publication at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10029.html.
Q. Can my children receive dependent's benefits because I am on Supplemental Security Income?
A. No. SSI benefits are based on the needs of the individual and are paid only to the qualifying person. There are no spouse's, children's or survivors' benefits. However, if your children are disabled themselves, they might be eligible to receive SSI benefits.
To learn more about SSI benefits, read our publication on the subject at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/11000.html
Get answers to your Social Security questions each Thursday from Social Security District Director Martin Coffey. Submit questions by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.