Question: Someone stole my Social Security number, and it’s being used repeatedly. Does Social Security issue new Social Security numbers to victims of repeated identity theft?
Answer: Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, so you aren’t alone. If you’ve done all you can to identify and fix the problem, including contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but someone is still using your number, Social Security may assign you a new number. If you decide to apply for a new number, you’ll need to prove your identity, age, and U.S. citizenship or immigration status. You’ll also need to provide evidence you’re having ongoing problems because of the misuse of your current Social Security number. You can read more about identity theft at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Question: I was speaking with my sister and she told me that she receives half of her spouse’s benefit. Why am I not eligible for benefits from my spouse?
Answer: If your spouse is eligible for Social Security benefits, you could be eligible for one-half of their benefit at your full retirement age. However, if you worked and are eligible for Social Security benefits on your own record, your own benefit may be higher than what you could be eligible for on your spouse’s record. If you have questions regarding your eligibility for benefits, please call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Question: Do disabled children qualify for benefits?
Answer: Yes. Under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, a child from birth to age 18 may receive monthly payments based on disability or blindness if: the child has an impairment or combination of impairments that meet the definition of disability for children; and the income and resources of the parents and the child are within the allowed limits. You will find helpful information about steps to apply for childhood disability benefits in our publication, Benefits for Children with Disabilities, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Question: What is a disability “trial work period?”
Answer: A trial work period is a work incentive that allows Social Security disability beneficiaries to test their ability to work without losing benefits. People who receive Social Security disability benefits can work for at least nine months without losing benefits. During this trial work period, you can get full benefits no matter how much you earn, as long as you continue to have a severe disabling impairment and you report your work activity. The trial work period continues until you complete nine trial work months within a 60-month period. Find more information about this and other work incentives in our publication Working While Disabled: How We Can Help at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10095.html.
Question: I just got a notice from Social Security that said my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) case is being reviewed. What does this mean?
Answer: Social Security reviews every SSI case from time to time to make sure the individuals who are receiving payments should continue to get them. The review also determines whether individuals are receiving the correct amounts. Learn more about SSI at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi.
Question: I am applying for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs. Can state agencies help with my Medicare costs?
Answer: When you file your application for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs, you can start your application process for the Medicare Savings Programs—state programs that provide help with other Medicare costs. When you apply for Extra Help, Social Security will send information to your state unless you tell us not to on the application. Your state will contact you to help you apply for a Medicare Savings Program. Learn more by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.
Question: I have medical coverage through my employer. Do I have to take Medicare Part B?
Answer: You are not required to take Medicare Part B if you are covered by a group healthcare plan based on either your employment or the employment of a spouse. When your coverage ends, you may contact Social Security to request a special enrollment for Medicare Part B. We will need to verify your coverage through your employer in order for you to be eligible for a special enrollment. For more information, visit www.medicare.gov.
Question: My child is disabled, but when I applied for SSI, I was told that my child was ineligible because my spouse and I earned too much money? Why does our income make my child ineligible?
Answer: If a child is living with either their natural or adopted parents, then some of the income that the parents earn deems to the child. We use these amounts to determine whether or not your child meets the non-medical requirements for SSI. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/spotlights/spot-deeming.htm.
Question: Although I stopped working a few years ago, I had additional seasonal earnings after my retirement. Will my monthly Social Security retirement benefit increase?
Answer: Each year, we review the records for all working Social Security recipients to see if additional earnings may increase their monthly benefit amounts. If an increase is due, we calculate a new benefit amount and pay the increase retroactive to January following the year of earnings. You can learn more about how work affects your benefits by reading our publication, How Work Affects Your Benefits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Question: Will my retirement benefits increase if I wait and retire after my full retirement age?
Answer: Yes. You can increase your Social Security retirement benefit in two ways:
• You can increase your retirement benefit by a certain percentage if you delay receiving retirement benefits. We will add these increases automatically from the time you reach full retirement age until you start receiving benefits or reach age 70; and
• If you work, each additional year you work adds another year of earnings to your Social Security record. Higher lifetime earnings may result in higher benefits when you do retire.
For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs to read, print, or listen to our publication, When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits. You also can use our Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator to determine your estimated future benefits.