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Top Questions About Social Security

Find answers to common questions about Social Security, including retirement and disability benefits, how to get, replace, or correct your Social Security card, and more.

Đang chơi bài . 

How Do Benefits Work and How Can I Qualify?

While you work, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money goes into a trust fund that pays benefits to:

  • Those who are currently retired

  • Đang chơi bàiTo people with disabilities

  • To the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died

Đang chơi bàiEach year you work, you’ll get credits to help you become eligible for benefits when it’s time for you to retire. Find all the benefits .

There are four main types of benefits that the SSA offers:

How to Open a “my Social Security” Account

Đang chơi bàiIf you receive or will receive Social Security benefits, you may want to open a . This online account is a service from the SSA that allows you to keep track of and manage your SSA benefits. You can also make changes to your Social Security record.

How to Find More Help

Đang chơi bàiIf you have specific questions about your Social Security benefits, you can:

  • Review the .

  • .

Đang chơi bài to:

  • Estimate your benefits at each age, from 62 (the earliest you can receive them) to 70 (when you hit your greatest amount)

  • Đang chơi bàiApply for retirement benefits

  • Learn about earning limits if you plan to work while receiving Social Security benefits

to get an original, replacement, or corrected Social Security card. These documents apply for children and adults, whether they’re  U.S. citizens or noncitizens.

  • Đang chơi bàiComplete your application - Read the instructions and for a new, replacement, or corrected card.

  • Mail your application - Print your application and find out to.

  • Getting a Social Security Number for a New Baby 

    The easiest way to get a Social Security number for your child is at the hospital after they are born when you apply for your child’s birth certificate.

    If you wait to apply for a number at a Social Security office, there may be delays while SSA verifies your child’s birth certificate. Processing times average about two weeks. See for an estimate for your state. Learn more with the .

    Your child will need their own Social Security number so you can:

    • Đang chơi bàiClaim your child as a dependent on your income tax return

    • Open a bank account in their name

    • Đang chơi bàiGet medical coverage for them

    • Đang chơi bàiApply for government services for them

    Apply for a Replacement Social Security Card Online

    Đang chơi bàiA new feature on the SSA website allows you to apply for a replacement Social Security card online via your .

    To apply for a replacement card online, you must: 

    • Be a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address (This includes APO, FPO, and DPO addresses.)

    • Đang chơi bàiNot be requesting a name change or any other change to your card

    • Have a valid driver's license or a state-issued identification card. 

    In most states, you can apply for a replacement card online. However, there are exceptions. Find out if this .

    Đang chơi bài if you want to change or correct your Social Security card.

    Prevent Identity Theft

    Đang chơi bàiKeep your Social Security card in a safe place to if it's lost or stolen. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime.

    Contact SSA

    For more information, contact SSA. If you live outside the U.S., SSA's may be able to help you.

    . Once you access the tool, pick the country you're visiting or living in from the drop-down menu options.

    Earn SSA Work Credits in Some Countries

    Đang chơi bàiYou may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your . The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.

    verifies your monthly benefit amount
  • An is for tax purposes
  • Reasons to Prove Your Social Security Income

    Đang chơi bàiYou may need to provide proof of your Social Security income if you're:

    • Applying for energy benefits or other assistance programs
    • Moving into a new rental house or apartment
    • Applying for a bank loan for a large purchase
    • Filing a tax return and lost or didn't receive your SSA-1099/1042S form in the mail

    You can also contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to schedule an appointment with your local office.

    to the agency that issued the payment. You can get contact information from the A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.

    Đang chơi bàiTo get an update on your claim, contact the .

    If You're Not Sure Why You Received a Payment

    Contact the authorizing agency directlyĐang chơi bài to find out why they sent the payment. You may be able to find the authorizing agency in the memo line of the check. to help you locate the authorizing agency contact information on your own check. Scroll about half way down the page to see the diagram. 

    If you're unable to find which agency authorized the payment, . They can help you determine which government agency you need to contact. To find which RFC you need to call, look for its city and state at the top center of the check. 

    Make Payments to the Federal Government

    Learn how to use to make secure, electronic payments to government agencies from your checking or savings account. You can use the online service for VA medical care copayments, U.S. district court tickets, U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner user fee payments, and more.

    Đang chơi bàiIf you need help, . 

    Or, call SSA's main number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to make the report. 

    How to Stop Social Security Check Payments

    Đang chơi bàiThe SSA can’t pay benefits for the month of a recipient’s death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August (which is payment for July) must be returned. Find out .

    If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiary’s death, see the top of page 11 of this .

    Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the to learn more.

  • Call the Go Direct Helpline at 1-800-333-1795 (TTY: 1-866-569-0447).
  • If You Don't have a Bank or Credit Union Account: 

    •  - a pre-paid debit card. Get help by calling the Go Direct Helpline at 1-800-333-1795 (TTY: 1-866-569-0447). 
    • Electronic Transfer Account (ETA) - a low-cost account for federal payment recipients. Get help by calling 1-888-382-3311 (TTY: 1-877-326-5833).  Effective August 8, 2018, the Treasury Department will end the ETA program. . 

    Make Changes to an Existing Direct Deposit Account:

    Learn how to . You also may contact the federal agency that pays your benefit for help with your enrollment.

    may be able to help.

    Understand the SSDI and SSI Programs for People with Disabilities

    • is for people who have become disabled after earning enough Social Security work credits within a certain time. 

    • with little to no income and resources. SSI is not Social Security. Although the names sound similar and the Social Security Administration runs the program, it does not fund SSI. 

    Definition of Disability

    To qualify for either program, you must meet : 

    1. You can’t work

    2. Đang chơi bàiYour disability is expected to last for at least one year or result in death

    3. Đang chơi bàiYour impairment is on Social Security’s

    Đang chơi bàiSocial Security uses a . Partial and short-term disabilities do not meet SSA’s standard. They're not eligible for benefits.

    Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool

    Đang chơi bàiUse the  to find out if you may qualify for SSDI or SSI.

    How to Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

    Work Requirements

    Đang chơi bàiWhen you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn Social Security “work credits.” You earn up to four a year depending on your income. To be eligible for SSDI,, some of them recently. The number of work credits you need depends on your age when you stopped working due to your disability.

    Benefits for Family Members

    Your  when you start getting SSDI.

    Applying for SSDI

    Đang chơi bàiYou can .

    • If your , you can appeal the decision.

    • Đang chơi bàiIf it's approved, you’ll have a five-month waiting period for benefits to start. You’ll receive benefits for the sixth full month after the date SSA finds your disability began.

    • You’ll be enrolled in Medicare two years after you begin receiving SSDI payments.

    Returning to Work

    Đang chơi bàiYou can usually return to work without losing your SSDI if you earn less than a “substantial” amount. In 2019, the SSA considered average earnings of $1,220 or more per month "substantial."

    You can try out your ability to return to work for at least nine months. You won't lose your SSDI benefits or Medicare coverage. See the booklet  to learn more.

    How to Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

    are for adults and children with a disability and little income or resources. Seniors 65 and older without a disability may be eligible if they meet the income limits. People who are eligible to receive SSDI may be eligible for SSI too.

    Đang chơi bàiIn most states, . Many states also provide supplemental payments to certain SSI recipients.

    Defining Disability for SSI

    Đang chơi bàiAdults under 65 must meet .

    Đang chơi bàiFor a child, disability means:

    • Having a physical or mental impairment that causes marked and severe functional limitations

    • Đang chơi bàiThe disability is expected to last for at least one year or result in death

    Applying for SSI

    Adults can  by phone, in person at a local Social Security office, or in some cases online. To apply for SSI for a child, you can start the process online but will need to complete it either in person or by phone.

    • You can appeal if your claim is denied.

    • Explore a  to learn more detailed information.

    Going to Work

    help you go to work by reducing your risk of losing your SSI or Medicaid coverage. You can earn $65 a month without it affecting your cash benefit. Beyond that, your SSI payment will go down $1 for every $2 you earn.

    Đang chơi bàiWhen your earnings plus any other income exceed your state’s SSI income limits, you won't receive SSI. Your payments will start again for any month your income drops to less than the SSI limits. You can learn more in the booklet .

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    Đang chơi bàiLast Updated: November 9, 2020