Question: Recently, I was told I shouldn't be carrying my Social Security card around. Is that true?
Answer: We encourage you to keep your Social Security card at home in a safe place. Do not carry it with you unless you are taking it to a job interview or to someone who requires it. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, and the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to safeguard your card and number. To learn more, visit our Social Security number and card page at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
Question: I have been getting Social Security disability benefits for many years. I'm about to hit my full retirement age. What will happen to my disability benefits?
Answer: When you reach "full retirement age," we will switch you from disability to retirement benefits. But you won't even notice the change because your benefit amount will stay the same. It's just that when you reach retirement age, we consider you to be a "retiree" and not a disability beneficiary. To learn more, visit our Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Question: I can't find my Medicare card and I need a replacement. Do I need to come into the office?
Answer: You can get your Medicare card replaced without leaving your home. Just go online to www.socialsecurity.gov/medicarecard/ and get your new Medicare card sent to your home. Simply fill out the requested information and you'll get your new Medicare card within 30 days; it will be mailed to your address on record. If you need temporary proof of Medicare coverage, call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 to request a letter and you will receive it in the mail within 7 to 10 days. If you need immediate proof of your Medicare coverage, please visit your local Social Security office.
Question: When will I receive my Social Security statement?
Answer: In light of the current budget situation, we are sending Social Security statements in the mail only to workers age 60 and older. If this applies to you, you should receive your annual statement about three months before your birthday.
If you are age 18 or older, you may get your Statement online after creating an account at www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement. Also, you may be able to estimate your retirement benefit using our online retirement estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator/.
Kathy Petersen is a public affairs specialist for Social Security, Denver Region. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 605 Main, Suite 201, Rapid City, SD, 57701 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week - brush up on your favorite movie stars.