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Questions and answers

November 25, 2013
By Ramiro Sifuentes , Marshall Independent

Social Security district manager in Marshall

Question: I'm a farm worker, and I was wondering if I'm covered by Social Security?

Answer: Most farm workers are "covered" by Social Security. This means that Social Security and Medicare taxes must be paid on their earnings. If you are a farm worker, you are considered "covered" by Social Security if your employer pays you $150 or more in cash wages during the calendar year for farm work or you are paid less than $150 in cash wages but your employer's total expenses for agricultural labor are $2,500 or more for the year. However, if you are a seasonal hand-harvest worker who commutes to work daily from your home, is paid on a piece-rate basis and does less than 13 weeks of farm work during the year, your work is "covered" by Social Security only if you are paid at least $150 in cash for the job.

Question: How does the recent Supreme Court decision about the Defense of Marriage Act affect Social Security benefits for same-sex couples?

Answer: Social Security is now processing some retirement spouse claims for same-sex couples and paying benefits where they are due. In the coming weeks and months, we will work with the Department of Justice to develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions. If you believe you may be eligible for Social Security benefits, we encourage you to apply now to protect you against the loss of any potential benefits. We will process claims as soon as additional instructions become finalized.

Question: When does Social Security pay benefits?

Answer: Social Security pays retirement and spouse's benefits the month after they are due to start. For example, if your benefit start month is November, we will pay November's benefit in December. The exact payment date is determined by the birthday of the retired worker. For example, if the retired worker's date of birth is on:

The 1st through 10th - we pay the benefits on the second Wednesday of the month

The 11th through 20th - we pay the benefits on the third Wednesday of the month

The 21st through 31st - we pay the benefits on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Question: Do I have to pay income taxes on benefits I receive?

Answer: You will have to pay Federal taxes on your Social Security benefits if you file a Federal tax return as an individual and your total income is more than $25,000. If you file a joint return, you will have to pay taxes if you and your spouse have a total income of more than $32,000. Use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notice 703 shown on the back of the Social Security Benefit Statement, SSA Form 1099, to determine if any of your benefits may be taxable. Social Security has no authority to withhold state or local taxes from your benefit. However, you may find voluntary tax withholding easier than paying quarterly estimated tax payments. To begin federal tax withholding or to change your current withholding amount, follow these steps: Step 1: Print and complete IRS Form W-4V to indicate what percentage (7,10,15, or 25) of your monthly benefit amount you want withheld. Step 2: Sign and return the form to the Marshall MN Social Security office, 507 Jewett St, Ste B.



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