Social Security Program Experts Can Answer Your Important Questions

October 8, 2020 • By

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Last Updated: August 19, 2021

There are many online resources about Social Security, so it is important that you come to us as the first place for answers. You can find many of the answers about our programs and services on our Frequently Asked Questions page. We feature our most-asked questions at the top of the page to help you find answers to the most common questions quickly, like:

You can also browse by topics like:

  • Disability.
  • Social Security Payments.
  • Retirement.
  • Medicare.

You can visit our publications library for detailed information on nearly all of our topics. We make each publication available in text, audio, and downloadable formats.

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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


  1. William K.

    I am unable to get to my application for SSDI in order to complete and submit it. I was locked out and have tried several codes I was given. I called and it was supposed to be unlocked but it still would not take my information. Do I need a new re-entry number?

  2. William K.

    I tried to access my SSDI application to complete it but was unable to get back to my application. I tried several activation codes Ive been given and nothing worked. Then the site locked me out. I called and was told my app;ication access was unlocked but it still would not let me on. Can I get a new activation code?

    • Vonda

      Hi William, thanks for using our blog. Sorry to hear you are having difficulties creating a my Social Security account. For assistance with your account, you may call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  3. Jeff B.

    Are SSDI benefits affected by an inheritance ?

  4. Bill L.

    I plan on retiring this year, my birthday is in March. Will I be penalize if I make over the 18,240 limit.

    • Vonda

      Hi Bill, thanks for using our blog. If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, then we deduct $1 from benefit payments for every $2 earned above the annual limit. For 2021, that limit is $18,960. There is a special earnings limit rule for those that retire mid-year and have already earned more than the yearly earnings limit. The special rule lets us pay a Social Security check for any whole month your earnings are $1,580 or less and you did not perform substantial services in self-employment, regardless of your yearly earnings.

      The Getting Benefits While Working web page provides more details.

      You may also find our Retirement Earnings Test Calculator helpful.

  5. Vanda L.

    Hi, Can my husband still claim his pension beneifits he worked for 15 years but now lives overseas because he was deported he knows the age is 62 but i cant get any one to tell him if he still able to claim. He lived in Calfonia since 7years of age had a green card socal secuty number etc. he was born in Italy he be 61 this year. Would really apercate if you could let us know

    • Sue

      Vanda, thanks for using our blog. To learn more about Social Security benefits and non-citizens, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions webpage. Because your husband is living outside of the country, he should contact his nearest Federal Benefits Unit for assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  6. LISA S.

    Hi. My husband signed up for Medicare in January 2021. He turned 65 in November 2020. First question is, is there a penalty for late filing? Secondly, how do we sign up for the coverage that pays what Medicare does not cover? Not sure what it is called. Last question, is he can continue to work and there is only a penalty til age 65+2 right? Then he can work and earn as much as he likes plus collect ss benefits without penalty, correct? Thank you.

    • Vonda

      Hi Lisa, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. It sounds like your husband signed up for Medicare in his initial enrollment period which begins three months before the 65th birthday, includes the month he turned 65, and ends three months after his birthday so he did not file late. For information about Medicare Savings Programs, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Prescription Drug plans, please call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY 1-877-486-2048) or visit

      The amount he’s allowed to earn while receiving benefits depends on his age. If he attains full retirement age in 2021, the earnings limit is $50,520 but we only count earnings before the month he turns full retirement age. Beginning with the month he reaches full retirement age, earnings no longer reduce benefits, no matter how much he earns. If under full retirement age for the entire year, then we deduct $1 from benefit payments for every $2 earned above the annual limit. For 2021, that limit is $18,960.

      Visit our Receiving Benefits While Working web page for more details.

  7. Amanda L.

    I receive SSI and am 35. If I get married to someone who makes $100,000 per year and is not disabled, I know I will not be eligible to collect SSI due to deeming. My question is, would my SSI be cut off on the date of my marriage?

  8. Carolyn M.

    I will turn 70 in October. When should I make application to begin receiving my SS?

    • Sue

      Hi, Carolyn, and thanks for your question. Our system is set up to take claims up to 4 months in advance to give ample time for processing. When you’re ready to file, please use our online retirement application. Social Security benefits are paid the month after they are due, so you’ll receive your October benefit in November, your November benefit in December. Your exact payment date is determined by your date of birth. You may find the Schedule of Social Security Payments useful. Thanks!

  9. Roger K.

    I am 70 and took my soc. sec. at FRA 66 2/3.
    Wife is 63 now. Her FRA bene. is $1,150. 50% of my bene. was $1,237 at FRA. If she collects now (63) what will she collect? What if she waits to 64. Assuming she collects her bene. and any of mine she is eligible for.

    • Vonda

      Hi Roger, thanks for using our blog to ask your questions. Your wife may be able to get spouse’s benefits but, under existing law, if she’s eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a spouse, she must apply for both benefits and she’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.

      We will always pay her own retirement benefit first. If benefits as a spouse are higher than her own retirement benefits, she will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. However, the spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of your full retirement amount. So, she can only receive additional spouse’s benefits if her own full retirement benefit (not the reduced benefit) is less than half of your full retirement benefit.

      You can find out more about this at our Benefits for Spouses web page.

      You can find out more about the spousal calculation at our Benefits for Spouses calculator web page.

  10. Bonnie B.

    My elderly Mother has lost her SS Card. She knows what it is and says there is an A after the number. Is that possible?. Trying to get her a knew one but this A is new to me

    • Vonda

      Hi Bonnie, thanks for using our blog. Your mother’s Social Security card would not show a letter; however, her claim number may have the letter A after it. First, realize your mother may not need a replacement card. She will rarely need to show it. Knowing her Social Security number is what is important. Check out our Social Security and Coronavirus web page for details on getting help. We hope this helps!

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