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SSA provides answers to common Social Security questions

Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 9:04 am

[This month, SSA District Manager Stephanie Raimer provides answers to some of the most frequently heard questions regarding Social Security.]

General
Question:
What can I do at www.socialsecurity.gov?

Answer:
There are many things you can do on Social Security’s website. You can conduct most of your Social Security business with us online at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. You can get an estimate of future benefits, find out if you qualify for benefits now, and even apply for benefits. You can complete a number of other tasks online, too. You can estimate your retirement benefit using our Retirement Estimator, which allows you to get an instant, personalized estimate of your future benefit based on different retirement ages and scenarios. You can even open your own my Social Security account to plan for and manage your benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Question:
Can I refuse to give my Social Security number to a private business?

Answer:
Yes, you can refuse to disclose your Social Security number, and you should be careful about giving out your number. But, be aware, the person requesting your number can refuse services if you don’t give it. Businesses, banks, schools, private agencies, etc., are free to request someone’s number and use it for any purpose that doesn’t violate a federal or state law. To learn more about your Social Security number, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Retirement
Question:
How can I check the status of a pending application for retirement benefits?

Answer:
If you applied for retirement or disability benefits online, you can check the status of your application at www.socialsecurity.gov by selecting “Benefits” and “Check Application Status” under “Apply.” You will need to enter your Social Security number and the confirmation code you received when you filed online.
Your application status will show:
•    The date we received your application;
•    Any requests for additional documents;
•    The address of the office processing your application; and
•    If a decision has been made.

Question:
What is the maximum Social Security retirement benefit?

Answer:
The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be $2,663. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be only $2,025. If you retire at age 70 in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be $3,501. To get a better idea of what your benefit might be, visit our online Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire/estimator.html.

Supplemental Security Income
Question:
What do I need to report to Social Security if I get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments?

Answer:
You need to report any changes that may affect your payment amount. This includes changes in your income or resources. You must report changes of address, changes in your living arrangements, and changes in your earned and unearned income. To learn more about SSI, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi.