Social Security: Your questions, our answers
April 22, 2011
Question: Do I need a Social Security card? I want to get a summer job and my dad can’t find my card.
Answer: If you know your number, you probably don’t need to get a card. If you find out that you do need a replacement card, you can download and complete the application for a replacement at our Web site. Then, take or mail the application to your local Social Security office with the required documentation. The web address is http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. If you do get a replacement card or find the original, you shouldn’t carry it with you. Keep it in a safe place with your other important papers.
Question: Can I get a new Social Security number if someone has stolen my identity?
Answer: We do not routinely assign a new number to someone whose identity has been stolen. Only as a last resort should you consider requesting a new Social Security number. Changing your number may adversely affect your ability to interact with Federal and State agencies, employers and others. This is because your financial, medical, employment and other records will be under your former Social Security number. We cannot guarantee that a new number will solve your problem. To learn more about your Social Security card and number, read our online publication on the subject at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10002.html
Question: I just got back from an overseas military deployment and I want to plan ahead. How will my military retirement affect my Social Security benefits?
Answer: Your military retirement won’t affect your Social Security benefits at all. You can get both. Generally, there is no offset of Social Security benefits because of your military retirement. You will get full Social Security benefits based on your earnings. The only way your Social Security benefit might be reduced is if you also receive a government pension based on a job in which you did not pay Social Security taxes. You can find more information in the publication Military Service and Social Security at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10017.html. Or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
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Question: I’m retiring early, at age 62, and I receive investment income from a rental property I own. Does investment income count as earnings?
Answer: No. We count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. Non-work income such as annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains, and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. Most pensions will not affect your benefits. However, your benefit may be affected by government pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax. You can retire online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov. For more information, call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
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 email@example.com. next week, kathy explains survivors benefits.