Get to Know Your Social Security

man reading on laptop in kitchen Social Security touches the lives of nearly every American. We’ve been with you from day one, when your parents applied for your Social Security number, and we are with you from your first job through your retirement party and beyond.

For more than 80 years, Social Security has stayed true to its mission of providing financial protection for the American people and has served as one of the most successful anti-poverty programs in our nation’s history. We encourage everyone to take steps toward their financial security. Regardless of your age or place in life, now is the right time to start planning for a financially secure future for you and your family.

Everyone can benefit from our first step: Get to know your Social Security. You can start your journey through all things Social Security by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov and navigating through our menu.

Along the way, you’ll see how your Social Security number opens many important doors throughout life, from making it easier to apply for student aid and open your first bank account to starting your first job and buying your first house. You’ll also discover how your contributions to the Social Security system through FICA payroll taxes can make you eligible for important future benefits when you reach retirement age or if you become severely injured or ill.

You’ll find how Social Security helps your family in the form of survivor benefits and how our Supplemental Security Income program assists disabled children and our most vulnerable adults.

We also encourage you to visit our website and set up your own my Social Security account today so you can begin taking steps toward financial security.

Through our website and your online account with us, you can:

  • Verify your lifetime earnings record to ensure you’re getting credit for all your contributions toward Social Security and Medicare;
  • Estimate future benefits for you and your family; and
  • Manage your Social Security benefits and personal information.

We encourage you to visit us at www.socialsecurity.gov.

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125 thoughts on “Get to Know Your Social Security

  1. i cannot sign in to my Social Security account due to the fact
    that I do not have a middle name. The form you provide kicks me out!
    My phone no is 516 816 9292 and my e-mail address is
    bobsabatini11@gmail.com . My name is Robert Sabatini

  2. i’m young i am 16 and i’m applying for jobs but i cant because i don’t have my social security number what can i do to get it ? my mother as it but i don live with her no more and my father don’t no information for me

    • Hello Reona, if you are under age 18, you may either sign yourself, or a parent or legal guardian may sign for you. We prefer a government issued document with your picture, as proof of identity to replace your Social Security card. In your case, if you do not have one or you cannot get one within a reasonable amount of time, we may be able to use other documents such as school identification card or a health insurance card.
      Any document you submit, must be an original or certified copy, current (not expired) and show your name, and other identifying information (date of birth or age).
      To learn more on the process and what documents you will need to get a replacement card, please visit our “Social Security Number and Card” web page.
      When ready, you can take or mail the application with your documents to your local Social Security office or to the nearest Card Center in your area. We hope this helps!

    • Hi Gary, we prefer a government issued document with your picture, as proof of identity to replace your Social Security card. If you do not have one or you cannot get one within a reasonable amount of time, we may be able to use other documents such as:
      •Employee identification card;
      •School identification card;
      •Health insurance card; or
      •U.S. military identification card.
      Any document you submit, must be an original or certified copy, current (not expired) and show your name, and other identifying information (date of birth or age).
      Also, realize that you may not need a replacement card. You will rarely need to show it. Knowing your Social Security number is what is important.
      To see if you’re eligible to apply for a replacement Social Security card online or to learn more on the process and what documents you will need to get a card, please visit our “Social Security Number and Card” web page. We hope this helps!

  3. I have a friend here in Germany, her husband past away 8 years ago. And she is 60 years old and asked me at what age can she apply for his or her Social Security. I told her i would check into it for her.You you be so kind and tell me?

    • Hello Maurice. As a widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, your friend could start receiving reduced benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled).
      The benefit amount would be based on the earnings of the person who died. The more he or she paid into Social Security, the higher the benefit amount would be. At this time, we do not offer an online application for survivors benefits. We recommend that individuals living outside the United States and needing assistance with their Social Security benefits, contact the nearest Federal Benefits Unit or U.S. Embassy in their area. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. Thanks!

  4. I was not aware until recently that I could delay my retirement and take spousal benefits instead. How far back can I go? Can I get back pay for the time that I was eligible?

    • Hi Connie. You may be able to get spouse’s benefits but, under existing law, if you are eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a spouse, you must apply for both benefits and you’ll receive the higher of the two benefits. This requirement is called “deemed filing” because when you apply for one benefit you are “deemed” to have also applied for the other.

      However, if you turn 62 before January 2, 2016, deemed filing rules will not apply if you wait to file at your full retirement age or later. This means that you may file for either your spouse’s benefit or your retirement benefit without being required or “deemed” to file for the other. See our Deemed Filing For Retirement And Spouse’s Benefits FAQs web page for details.

      We do allow up to six months of retroactivity payments, only after you have reached your full retirement age. No retroactive benefits are payable for any month before reaching your full retirement age.

      To inquire about your benefits, you will have to contact your local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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