Q: My daughter just joined a nonprofit charity and is helping victims of natural disasters. She gets a salary. We were wondering if she has to pay Social Security tax.
A: Yes, people who work for nonprofits and who receive a salary must pay Social Security tax just like everyone else. It is commendable that she is helping people in need. But the fact is that she is also a wage-earner. Those wages and the Social Security tax she pays on them will offer her financial relief in the future, when it comes time to apply for Social Security. So she is really helping herself, too. For more information, visit our electronic publication, How You Earn Credits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
When can I apply?
Q: What is the earliest age that I can apply for my Social Security retirement benefits?
A: If you want benefits to begin at age 62 — the earliest age you can receive reduced retirement benefits — you must be at least 61 years and 9 months of age to apply. Keep in mind that if you retire before your full retirement age, your monthly benefit amount will be permanently reduced. On the flip side, if you delay your benefits until after your full retirement age, you'll receive higher benefits because of delayed retirement credits. Even if you are not ready to retire, you should still sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday. You can do both (and try out different retirement scenarios) online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov.