Managing the Social Security Maze





Course Information

Course Title:

Managing the Social Security Maze

Course Number:


Course Description:

This course teaches you what you need to know to make decisions about Social Security that may affect your bottom line (SS payments) by $1,000 a month, $12,000 a year, or over $76,000 by the time you reach age 85. This course will discuss completing your application for Social Security and determining what benefits you may receive. It also takes a look at the Medicare Program, the ins and outs of disability under Social Security, the Supplemental Security Income program, and Medicaid eligibility. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to make more informed decisions about Social Security.

Technical assistance is available to students via phone and email.


Completely Online



Course Goals

To help the disabled, and those planning on retirement, and/or their children, get through the process of applying for Social Security benefits and give them knowledge about the various aspects of Social Security programs.

Course Outline





Topic 1 - Social Security Brief History (11 pp)


    OLT Introduction


    Social Security Background - The Stock Market Crash and The Great Depression


    Government Responses


    The Social Security Act


    Social Security History


    Social Security Future


    History of the Social Security Number


    Unit I Quiz




Topic 2 -Earning and Applying for Social Security (11 pp)


    The Social Security Act and Related Laws


    Social Security Should Be Just One Part of Your Retirement Plan


    General Questions about Social Security


    How do I qualify for Social Security benefits?


    Earning Social Security Credits


    When Should You Apply for Social Security Benefits?


    Are You Eligible?


    Noncitizens (Aliens) and Social Security


Topic 3 - Calculating and Receiving Your Social Security Benefits (16 pp)


    How Social Security Calculates Retirement Benefits


    My Social Security Account


    Timing of Social Security Retirement - Early, Full, Delayed


    Pensions from Work NOT Covered by Social Security


    Family Benefits - Children, Spouse, Divorcees


    Maximum/Minimum Social Security Benefits


    What is a COLA?


    Review: Maximizing Your Social Security


    Unit II Quiz




Topic 4 - Disability Retirement, Death and Survivor Benefits (20 pp)


    Disability Benefits


    Social Security's Definition of Disability


    Eligibility for Social Security Disability


    Age effect on Disability


    If You are Blind


    Disability Determination Office


    The Five-step Decision Process


    The Appeals Process


    How Much Do You Receive and When?


    The Ticket to Work Program


    The Employment Network


    Medicare Coverage for Disabled Persons


    Death and Survivor Benefits


    Unit III Quiz




Topic 5- Supplemental Security Income (10 pp)


    What Is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?


    Eligibility and How Much You Can Get


    Applying for SSI Benefits


    Information Needed - Personal, Medical, Financial


    If You are Being Released from a Public Institution


    Your Rights Under SSI


    Other Help


    Homelessness and SSI


Topic 6 - The Medicare Program (9 pp)


    What is Medicare?


    Brief History of Medicare


    Medicare Has Four Parts


    Your Medicare Coverage Choices


    Enrolling in Medicare


    Help to Pay for Medicare


    What is the Difference between Medicare and Medicaid?


    I Am Enrolled in Medicare. Now What?


Topic 7 - Medicaid (7 pp)


    Medicaid Explained


    Medicaid Funding


    Who Is Eligible for Medicaid?


    The Financially Needy are Eligible


    The Medically Needy are Eligible


    Medicaid Enrollment


    Unit IV Quiz


Managing the Social Security Maze Final Exam


Course Total


Optional Appendices for Extra Reading


    Appendix 1 - Contacting the Social Security Administration (1 pg.)


    Appendix 2 - Helpful links (1 pg.)


    Appendix 3 - Extended History of Social Security (13pp.)


    Appendix 4 - History of the Social Security Number (2pp.)


    Appendix 5 - COVID-19 and Social Security (1 pg.)




Course Authors and Instructor


Brad Weishaupt, MCM



Technical Assistance:


Author and Instructor Information:

561-283-0333 or toll free 866-357-0841

The author of the original version of this course was Will Rogers. Will has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and Distributive Education from Florida Atlantic University, and has taught science, social studies, diversified career technologies, marketing, employability skills, computer applications, and computer programming. As a vocational educator, his goal was to help his students transition from being students to becoming productive, tax-paying citizens. In teaching his students about the world of work, he showed them the ins and outs of Social Security.


In 2021, the Managing the Social Security Maze course was rewritten from top to bottom, using the original course as a base, expanding and updating it. The new author and current instructor is Brad Weishaupt. Brad has a Masters of Church Music degree, and served for 25 years as a full-time Church Music Director in churches in South Carolina and Florida, and had many local and state teaching opportunities during that time. He also worked in training, technical support, and software development for a national computer software company. Brad served as an Adjunct Professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach Florida, and at Francis Marion College in Florence, South Carolina. He has worked for OnLine Training, Inc. in Compliance, Corporate Training, Course Development, and as General Manager. Brad has served on the Board of Directors for OnLine Training since January of 2007.







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Updated: June 6, 2021