Knowledge is Power, and so are our Publications!

An older man and his two granddaughters use the computer in a library

You can’t open a book without learning something new, just like you can’t read one of our publications without learning new information about our programs. We encourage you to explore the pleasure of reading by visiting our online library of publications. You’ll find answers to all the questions you have about Social Security, but may have been afraid to ask.

In our virtual library, you can learn more about Social Security, our programs, and what our programs mean to you and your family. Browse through our collection of publications. Search our online catalog by typing a title or topic in the library’s search box, and sort your results by a publication’s date, number, or title. Many of our publications are available in up to 17 different languages. Our publications are easier to read than the classic novel that’s been sitting on your nightstand; we write in plain language to make the information easier to understand.

If you don’t have time for reading, but you’re still curious, don’t worry! Another option is listening to the audio recordings of our publications.

The fastest and most convenient way to get one of our publications is online. However, if you prefer a good, old-fashioned printed copy, you can call us at 410-965-2039, and we will mail it to you.

Social Security has been serving the American public since 1935 — the same year that paperback pioneer Penguin Books released its first title. But, now, the publications we provide

are available in more than just paper form. Whether you prefer to learn from a print, electronic, audio, or alternative format, Social Security has all the answers you need.

When you’re going through a life-changing event and it’s time to study up on our services, reading about our benefit programs will help make your next chapter one for the books!


42 thoughts on “Knowledge is Power, and so are our Publications!

  1. I just wish someone had told me that I could have used my ex-husband’s benefits and let mine accoumulate, then switch to my own later. I read about that strategy 10 years too late.

    I was only told that I could switch to my ex’s benefits if he died.

    • how can I get a complete benefits booklet on social security? Do you know? I have looked around web site and not found where you can request one mailed to your home.

  2. I work at a Legal Aid program and represent claimant’s at social security disability hearings. Do you still publish the “blue book – Disability Evaluation Under Social Security?”

    • Lee, disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or end in death. Social Security pays only for total disability; no benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. We pay disability benefits through two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are based on earnings and are not subject to income and resource limits. To learn more about our disability programs, and to apply online for disability benefits if you think you qualify, go to our Disability Benefits web page.

  3. brochures need to be EDITED and placed in ALPHABETICAL order; you can’t find anything the way you presently show them….thank you!

    bettyg, iowa

    • Thank you for your feedback. On our publication page, there is an option to the near the search bar that allows you to sort the publications by date, number, or title.

  4. I’m just not sure when to begin collecting SS benefits. I’ll be 62 and I am still working full time, and plan to till 70. My health is ok

    • don p,

      my husband retired early taking a 25% reduction, but he enjoyed 17 yrs. of retirement before his passing 11.13.15, which i’m so glad he did!

      bettyg, iowa widow

      • Ms. Betty,

        I am sorry about the loss of your husband. I know it’s had to been a tough time for you. I lost my Dad 2 years ago and the pain is just a sharp today as it was the day after he passed away. Like my Dad, I’m certain your husband would want you to carry on and get the most out of every day you have left. He’ll always be with you; so, in a sense, you’re taking him with you, everywhere you go and he’s probably smiling when you have a good time an enjoy life.

        I have two kids and try to squeeze every second, of every day, I can with them, before that dreaded day arrives and they leave the nest. I hope that when I am gone, they squeeze life as if it’s the last orange on the planet – squeezing every drop out.
        I’ll remember you in my thoughts and if you need a shoulder to lean on, you can write me a note and I will help you any way I can. My email is

        BTW, my roommate, from my Army Days, lives in Corydon, Iowa. I met him in Branson, MO, 3 years ago and we spent a week reliving the old days. He’s a good guy.

        Take care Ms. Betty!

        John C.

  5. I,am going to retire from the Fed Govt in Sept, 2015. I now have Fed BC/BS has my primary health coverage and medicare as my secondary. When I retire will this coverage change.

  6. HI;
    MY PROBLEM IS, my income taxes have been showing income from soc. sec.for five yrs. and i’m not getting the adjustment to my pension from the railroad because of a late award letter that the lirr claims i need. yet every year the money is being added as income for me to have tax claim on it.
    i have been trying for years to get this right and i keep getting the run around and difficulty in a proper dated award letter.
    i was told i can claim it at 65yrs old. and it will be sent to rail road retirement board to adjust. but not being done due to there soc. sec. office error back in 2010 not realizing i was qualified and took months to get it right. i’m paying for that error all these years.
    it’s my earned money i’m paying taxes on it and not getting it in my pension. all these years they owe me retro money. nobody wants to bother with the details of my problem. this is why all these years went by, with promises but nothing.
    maybe you can help.
    thank you for your time.

  7. in regards to the above, i went to soc. sec. railroad, my congressman and senator, within these five years, and nothing with the right answers . seems nobody wants to take responsibility for the action done ,then they blame me.
    i told them i had the quota,so they just administrated me for medicare and not my award letter needed for the adjustment to my pension.
    so why can’t anyone see i’m being taxed on moneies not received.

  8. I’ve been told by Social Security that the reason I am only entitled to $16.00 a month food stamps is because i have a lot of money from some Real Estate that I sold for over $300,000.00…Wouldn’t the IRS have notified me that I have to pay tax on that sale if I ever really did make that transaction? How can I find out? I called back to S.S. and was told that the lady that called me really did work there.
    You can’t feed a dog on $16.00 a month. What should I do?

    • Thanks for your question, Rita. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formally known as the food stamp program, provides help for individuals who have limited income and resources. Generally, your household cannot have more than $2,000 in resources. Resources include cash, bank accounts and other property. For more information see our information on SNAP. For any income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040.

  9. How long should I be expected to wait for benefits due to my husband’s death on Feb 20, 2015? I have done everything requested, including a telephone interview, and been approved, but still have not gotten my increase due to his death. I don’t know what else to do.

    • Hi Virginia, saw your similar comment earlier last week on our “Getting the Most Out of Your Shiny New Tablet” blog post, but just in case you didn’t see our reply there, we apologize for the inconvenience that you are experiencing. For security reasons, we do not have access to information about your application in this venue, but please continue to work with your local office on the specifics of your claim. When you call or visit the office, you can request to speak to a manager about the delay. You can also call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), and speak with one of our representatives regarding the status of your application. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week.

  10. Congratulations on Social Securities 80th birthday.
    I, too, turned 80 this year. That’s all I wanted to share.

    • Wow, congratulations James; what a great achievement! If you’re receiving Social Security benefits and want to tell us your story as part of our 80th celebration, go to our 80th Anniversary web page and look for the blue “Share Your Story” button.

  11. if i start my ss at age 62 can i start getting my husbands when he retires.i am disabled and have not worked in a year and if i wait until sept. 2915 they are going to put me on ss anyway.but my husband is wating until he is 66. can i shitch on to his.

    • Good question, Betty! If you are under full retirement age (62) and qualify on your own record, we will pay that amount first. Later when your husband retires, and if you qualify for a higher amount as a spouse, you’ll get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. See our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for complete information. then check out our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know.”

      Social Security pays disability benefits to people under their full retirement age if they have a medical condition that has prevented them from working or is expected to prevent them from working for at least 12 months. Once people reach full retirement age, we pay them their retirement benefits. If you are under your full retirement age, you can file for disability benefits online. If you have specific questions, call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. We hope this helps!

  12. Great article, It’s one of the best content in your site. I really impressed the post. Good work keep it up. Thanks for sharing the wonderful post. I also Agree Knowledge is power.

    • Thank you for participating and using our blog, we are glad you like it and appreciate your comments and feedback!

  13. What was the thinking behind penalizing early enrollees by deducting $1 for every $2 made over the annual specified amount, (which resembles the poverty limit)?

    I would think that most early enrollees opt to do so due to financial difficulties.

    Such people know that they are taking a hit of @25 percent on benefits for life. Is that not pouring salt into the wound?

  14. Pl. send me a free hard / paper copy of ” What Every Woman Should Know”.
    I am SSI benificiary, because of unable to work…

  15. I have been dealing with an overpayment issue for almost a year. I’m scheduled for a judicial hearing but cannot get things to go forward. I lost my husband 3 years ago and SS has been informed about our work situation all along for 22 years of benefits. This is not my fault and My payment was half of my monthly income. This is very upsetting and financially devastating. How can I get someone to step up and deal with my situation.

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