Is BEST for you?

Most people have a specific type of Social Security benefit in mind before speaking with a SSA representative. Sometimes the SSA representative surprises them by mentioning benefit options not previously considered.

You might find the Social Security Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) useful. It can alert you to possibilities not originally considered.

Located at http://www.benefits.gov/ssa, the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) helps you find out if you could get benefits that Social Security administers. Based on your answers to questions, it will list benefits for which you might be eligible and tells you more information about how to qualify and apply.

The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool is NOT an application for benefits and:

  • does not know, or ask for, your name or Social Security number.
  • does not access your personal Social Security records.
  • will not give you an estimate of benefit amounts.

The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) screens for potential eligibility to Social Security retirement, survivors and disability benefits, Medicare and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To do this, you answer a series of questions including ones about marriage(s) and earnings information. Personal finance questions are asked in order to screen for the need based SSI program but BEST does not screen for the income based Extra Help for Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) coverage. 

Again, BEST is only a screening tool for benefits that you might be eligible for based on how you answer the questions. No one sees the answers you give and no record is kept of them. When you leave the BEST program, all information provided in your answers is erased. BEST is not an application for any benefit.  

The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) can alert you to possibilities not originally considered. Any follow-up with Social Security is up to you.

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