Undeniably the Social Security program acts as the lifeblood of a huge number of U.S. citizens, who’re qualified for it. The program is designed to provide retirees and disable persons, as well as, to their survivors, children, and spouses with benefits and income.
Almost every U.S. worker makes payroll tax contributions, which makes him/her qualified for Social Security, and almost every elderly citizen obtains Social Security benefits. As of June 2020, more than 64 million U.S. citizens received these benefits.
However, for the majority of people, it’s quite difficult to calculate the payment he/she will receive from Social Security and understand how to make the most out of it. And this is exactly where registered Social Security Analysts play a crucial role.
While the Social Security program offers partial replacement income to qualified individuals, the actual amount of money that an individual is entitled to receive depends on various factors. These include a person’s total working years, his/her age at the time of starting receiving Social Security, whether or not he/she has any additional source of retirement income, among others. As a knowledgeable Social Security Analyst, you can help these people make the right decision to maximize the benefits.
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Social Security Analysts help the above-mentioned people boost their Social Security income and get mental peace by providing them with personalized guidance based on their unique situations. By helping them accomplishing their goals as their trusted Social Security advisors, you can build your credibility, expand your client base, and increase your profits.
However, similar to many other professions, establishing your expertise in this field is highly important. You must prove that you’ve got a sufficient amount of up-to-date training on various aspects of Social Security to help the clients build trust in you. And when we talk about receiving up-to-date training and the latest education in this field, completing the RSSA Program would unquestionably be your best bet.
Offered by the NARSSA, this program is designed to equip financial advisors and professionals with the skills and knowledge required to help qualified people for Social Security reap the advantages of the program by making the most appropriate decisions. Moreover, successful completion of the RSSA Program brings you the opportunity to earn continuing professional education credits.
Here’s a snapshot of the credits awarded to different professionals.
Once you become a Registered Member of the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts after clearing the RSSA Competency Final Exam successfully, you’ll be granted a license. After obtaining this license, you can start offering professional services to anyone searching for “Social Security advisors near me” online.
If reading till now has made you interested in learning more about how to become part of the sought-after league of Social Security Analysts, keep reading as we’re going to delve deeper into the details in the next few blocks.
To become a Social Security Analyst, the first step is to complete the RSSA Program. This self-study program is divided into five modules. Take a look at the following to get an overview of the topics pertaining to each module.
RSSA Training Module I
Module I will help you understand the basics of Social Security, the history of the program that started in 1935 when the Social Security Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt, the way the funds at Social Security get accumulated, and how those are calculated to pay out the benefits.
You’ll also learn how the benefits need to be made available to retirees based on their marital status along with essential information that you must consider at the time of assessing the election claiming decision.
Usually, the latter factor is applicable to retirement claims, where a retiree needs to consider various factors to decide when he/she should start receiving the retirement benefits.
The module comes with case studies to help you understand how to optimize the benefits by applying the most effective rules and strategies.
RSSA Training Module II
At the beginning of the second module, you’ll learn about the changes that have been made to the Social Security rule and are mentioned in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
It describes how the claiming strategies of two couples have been discontinued by making changes to the Social Security program’s Section 831. You’ll also learn about specific situations where the claiming strategy called “restricted application” might be applicable to couples along with its other aspects.
Additionally, the module describes how the Social Security benefits of a retiree, who’ve got some kinds of specific situations, might get impacted by his/her Social Security income claiming decision.
Here, you’ll learn about family maximum benefits and GPO and WEP pension rules. The module will help you gain an in-depth understanding of Social Security benefits’ Federal income taxation including the process to determine it along with case examples focusing on the importance of retirement planning for managing the taxation effectively.
The module also discusses Social Security disability in detail and the requirements that must be met by a worker to become qualified for receiving disability benefits. At the end of this module, you’ll get an understanding of the Social Security program’s future and the different options that might impact it.
RSSA Training Module III
While saving for retirement is always a good way to be able to enjoy a traditional retirement, in reality, many workers fail to save sufficient funds for the purpose. And this is where the importance of making a wise Social Security income decision comes into the picture.
This module helps aspiring Social Security Analysts understand how Social Security acts as a fundamental pillar of retirement plans along with its other crucial aspects.
Basically, Module III equips you with all the knowledge necessary to gain a complete understanding of your client’s retirement financial picture so that you can help them make the most out of Social Security benefits.
It also focuses on why your clients need to assess various important aspects such as medical and insurance needs, tax liability, etc before entering their retirement in order to make it an ideal one.
After completing this module, you’ll also be able to help your clients with Social Security income taxation management so that the taxation doesn’t leave any negative impact on their portfolios.
Similar to the earlier modules, this one also comes with case examples to make these crucial aspects of retirement planning clearer. Here, you’ll also get an overview of Medicare and its important aspects such as Medicare benefits, the Medicare application process, eligibility requirements, among others.
RSSA Training Module IV
This module will help you learn how to improve the marketing of your services as a Social Security advisor.
You’ll learn about the present-day Social Security advisory environment and why your services are important to your clients than earlier days. This module discusses the key components of a perfect Social Security analysis and various methods to enhance your expertise.
You’ll also learn how to outshine your competitors by using different means such as utilizing social networking, collaborating with other professionals, etc to expedite your growth as a Social Security Analyst.
RSSA Training Module V
In this module, you’ll learn about using Maximize My Social Security – an advanced software program to enhance your knowledge and expertise as a Social Security advisor.
It lets you apply the knowledge, which you’ve gained in the first four modules, to analyze real-world client cases. You’ll be able to examine many different claiming age strategies based on your clients’ requirements.
By using Maximize My Social Security, you can provide your clients with detailed, custom reports to help them make the right decision regarding Social Security benefits.
Since you can generate different reports for different claiming ages and strategies for an individual client, you’ll be able to provide him/her with a detailed side-by-side comparison, which’s extremely important for making the best claiming decision.
The software also comes with four Social Security case examples to let you apply your knowledge in real-world situations. And the best part is you can contact the support team of the RSSA Program if you got stuck somewhere when using the software.
Individuals, who wish to become an RSSA, have to fulfill any of these specific criteria as mentioned below.
Now that you know the prerequisites of becoming a Registered Social Security Analyst, let’s take a look at the steps you need to follow to accomplish your goal.
The first step to get your Registered Social Security Analyst credential is to completing the registration with the NARSSA and becoming an Associate Member. As an Associate Member, you’ll be given access to NARSSA’s online educational platform containing the self-study RSSA Program.
To become a registered member of the NARSSA, you must successfully clear the RSSA Competency Final Exam, and to be qualified to sit for this exam, you’ve to complete the five-module RSSA Program first. Note that to become an Associate Member of the NARSSA, you aren’t required to become a Registered Social Security Analyst.
Therefore, you can sign up for the RSSA Program to develop an in-depth understanding of Social Security strategies and laws or only to meet your continuing education requirements.
However, if you want to utilize the RSSA credential designation to offer professional services, you must pass the final exam and pay the annual dues applicable for Registered Members of NARSSA.
As an Associate Member, it’s mandatory for you to pass all the five modules of the RSSA Program to be able to take the final exam.
Though you can study and pass these modules at your own pace, you must complete them in a certain order. You’d also need to complete the chapters of each module in order and answer the practice questions pertaining to each chapter.
Every module comes with an exam containing 40 multiple-choice questions and you’ve to correctly answer at least 30 of them to pass the exam. It’s important to note that while these exams don’t have any time limit and are open-book, you cannot proceed to the next module without successfully clearing the previous module’s exam.
Once you’ve successfully cleared all the five modules of the RSSA Program, you’re allowed to take the RSSA Competency Final Exam.
This exam is conducted online only once a month on the 2nd Tuesday. To take this exam, not only you’d need to register in advance but pay a proctoring fee during registration as well. This is because a live person proctors this two-part 3-hour long exam.
The first part of the RSSA Competency Final Exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions while the second part contains a case study along with 20 multiple-choice questions.
In the second part, you’d need to create what-if scenarios to maximize the Social Security benefits of a client with the help of the Maximize My Social Security software program, which you’ve learned to use in Module V of the RSSA Program.
Here’re the passing grades and time limits of each part of the final exam.
In case you fail any part of the exam, you can re-register and again take the exam at a later date.
Clearing the RSSA Competency Final Exam successfully proves that you’ve got an in-depth knowledge of the issues pertaining to Social Security. Note that if you pass this exam and want to utilize your Registered Social Security Analyst credential designation, you must continue to remain a Registered Member of NARSSA. And to continue your Registered Membership with NARSSA, you must earn 4 continuing education credits every calendar year.
Becoming part of the group of Social Security Analysts proves that you’ve got sufficient skills and knowledge to help retirees make the right decisions regarding Social Security benefits.
And once you become a Registered Social Security Analyst, it demonstrates that you’ve received specialized training and hence, helps to strengthen your position in the industry. Basically, it’s a win-win situation for both you and your clients.
Your clients get a trusted Social Security advisor and you get to grow your business and reputation. If you haven’t signed up for the RSSA Program, do it today and start enjoying the plethora of benefits it offers.
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