Social Security: Your questions, our answers |

Social Security: Your questions, our answers

Question: My brother had an accident at work last year and is now receiving Social Security disability benefits. His wife and son also receive benefits. Before his accident, he helped support another daughter by a woman he never married. Is the second child entitled to benefits?

Answer: The child may qualify for Social Security benefits even though your brother was not married to the second child’s mother. The child’s caretaker should file an application on her behalf. For more information, visit us online at

Question: Our daughter, who had two young children, passed away two years ago. Her husband is planning to remarry and his fiance wants to adopt the children after the marriage. Will the children lose the Social Security survivor’s benefits that they currently receive?

Answer: No. The adoption of a child already entitled to survivor’s benefits does not terminate the child’s benefits.

Question: What does it mean when I see a green address bar on Social Security’s Web site when I am asked to enter personal information?

Answer: The green address bar at the top of your screen indicates the Web site has an extended validation certificate. This means the information you provide to Social Security will be encrypted and the owner of the Web site has been verified by a certification authority.

Extended validation certificates, and their green address bar indicators, provide assurance the Web site you are using is legitimate and safe, and not a phishing – or fake – site used to trick you into revealing personal information.

We recently added extended validation certificates to our secure Web sites that ask you to enter personal information. You should check for the green address bar and verify the Web site owner is Social Security before you enter any personal information.

Question: I’ve forgotten my password to use online Social Security services. Can I get a new one?

Answer: If you have lost or forgotten your password, you will need to start the process for getting a new password. For security reasons, password access to your personal information will be temporarily blocked until you have created another permanent password. Establishing a password involves three steps. You can do this on the Internet:

Step 1: To create a permanent password, you need a Password Request Code (PRC). Apply for a Temporary Password Request Code (PRC) at

Step 2: Wait at least 15 days for your PRC letter to come in the mail.

Step 3: Create your permanent password using the directions in your PRC letter.

Or you can do this by telephone:

• Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

• Listen carefully to the menu choices and follow the instructions.

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

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