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Social Security

What is Social Security?

Social Security is a government program that provides regular benefits to eligible workers and their families after the worker retires, becomes severely disabled or dies. The program is funded by Social Security taxes from employees, employers and self-employed workers.

If you have paid into the program long enough—roughly 10 years—you will be eligible for full benefits sometime between the ages of 65 and 67 (depending on your date of birth). What you receive will be based on your past earnings. You may qualify for reduced benefits at age 62. But such benefits, if taken at that age, will remain at that lower level permanently.

Or, you can put off collecting any benefits until age 70. You will receive delayed retirement credit and wind up with a larger monthly check—as much as 8 percent more for each year beyond your retirement age.

Traveling or living in most foreign countries will not affect your eligibility for benefits. However, you should contact Social Security if you plan to leave the country for 30 days or longer.

When will I be eligible?

If you have paid into the program long enough— roughly 10 years—you will be eligible for full benefits sometime between the ages of 65 and 67 (depending on your date of birth). What you receive will be based on your past earnings. You may qualify for reduced benefits at age 62. But such benefits, if taken at that age, will remain at that lower level permanently.

How do I apply?

You may go online at ssa.gov or visit your nearest Social Security Office.

Can my Social Security be garnished?

In general no, however, it may be garnished by court order for child support, alimony, restitution and federal tax debt.

What is a representative payee?

A representative payee is someone who is authorized to receive your Social Security checks for you. If you have trouble managing your checks, for example, the Social Security Administration might appoint a relative or friend of yours to receive the payments for you. (A power of attorney is not sufficient for cashing such checks.) By law, a representative payee can only spend the funds on your needs—and could be convicted of misusing funds if he or she were to do otherwise.

How To Contact Social Security

To check your earnings and benefit status, call (800)772-1213 or visit the official Social Security Administration's website for a free personal statement from the Social Security Administration. To find out what other types of benefits might be available to you, you can also check the National Council on Aging’s “benefits checkup” Web site.

Find an Office On-Line: using the Social Security Local Office Search by Zip Code.

Contact By Phone: Social Security has a toll-free number that operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday: 1-800-772-1213. If you have a touch-tone phone, recorded information and services are available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Please have your Social Security number handy when you call.

Contact By Mail: If you have a problem, you should first contact your local office or call our 800 number. Please include your Social Security number or claim number whenever you write to us.If you still need additional help, you may write to the Office of Public Inquiries:

Social Security Administration

Office of Public Inquiries

Windsor Park Building

6401 Security Blvd., .Baltimore, MD 21235

 

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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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