Learn how you can protect yourself from identity theft. Get a temporary lift of your credit freeze or fraud alert with an Identity Services Provider.
In 1936, the Social Security Board wanted to collect information about race for actuarial purposes. But the agency decided against it for administrative reasons.
What is my Social Security number?
Your Social Security number (SSN) is a unique nine-digit number that’s used to identify you for work and benefits. It’s also an important part of your identity, so it’s important to keep it safe. You can find your SSN on tax documents, bank or financial statements and in some cases, your driver’s license.
You must provide your SSN to open a financial account, apply for a loan or credit card and obtain many state-issued documents, such as a driver’s license. Federal law says you can refuse to give out your SSN, but it may make it harder or impossible for you to get these services or products.
SSNs are randomly assigned, and the first pair of digits originally represented the area in which you were born or were living at the time of your birth. In addition, the last three digits indicate your age group.
If someone steals your SSN, they can use it to file tax returns or open bank accounts, obtain credit cards and loans or even gain access to your medical records. To protect your SSN, never write it down or share it with anyone unless you’re authorized to do so. If you believe your SSN has been compromised, report it to the authorities immediately. You can do this online through the my Social Security website or by calling your local police department’s non-emergency line.
How can I get a replacement Social Security card?
If your Social Security card has been lost or stolen, the good news is that it’s relatively easy to replace. First, find documents to show that prove your identity and citizenship (these vary based on the type of card you need, so learn what’s required). Then fill out and print an Application for a New Social Security Card.
Next, find your local Social Security office or card center to submit the SS-5 form and supporting documentation. You can do this either in person or by mailing your forms to an SSA field office, which you can find by using a searchable online tool at the SSA website.
When you apply for a replacement card, it’s important to answer all of the questions on the form accurately. This includes your name, date of birth and current mailing address, as well as the names and Social Security numbers of any parents if you’re applying for a card on behalf of a child. You’ll also be asked whether you have ever been issued a Social Security number before.
It’s also important to check the box for’self’ or’representative’, depending on whether you’re filling out the SS-5 form for yourself or on behalf of someone else. Lastly, it’s a good idea to keep your replacement card somewhere safe and only take it out when necessary, so that it doesn’t get lost or stolen again.
How can I check my benefits?
If you have a my Social Security account, you can access personalized tools that help you manage your benefits. You can check the status of your application or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card (in many States), get a benefit verification letter, and more. You can also sign up for direct deposit to get your money faster and avoid paying fees to cash a paper check.
You can estimate your future benefits using our online calculator.* This calculator is updated periodically* to reflect the latest cost-of-living adjustments. It is available 24 hours a day in English and Spanish. The information you provide is stored on your computer only while you are completing the estimates.
If you are applying for disability, retirement, or Survivor benefits, we offer a Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST). This free tool can help you find out if you are eligible for the benefits that Social Security administers and where to get more information about them.
Certain life changes may affect your eligibility for a higher Social Security benefit. For example, if your spouse or ex-spouse dies, you might become eligible for higher survivors benefits. We encourage you to report any such changes promptly. If you do not notify us of a change that may affect your benefit amount, it could result in an overpayment.
How can I manage my benefits?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs the United States’ retirement, survivors and disability insurance programs. It also provides benefits for family members of those who receive benefits. You can use my Social Security, SSA’s free and secure online services portal, to request a replacement card, check the status of an application or estimate future benefits. You can even use it to set up direct deposit and change your address.
You pay into Social Security through payroll deductions. These are listed on your paycheck as OASDI, which stands for Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance. If you are self-employed, you contribute a full 12.4% of your net earnings.
Once you begin receiving benefits, it’s important to manage them correctly. This helps ensure that you are enrolled in the correct health care coverage and that your benefits are accurate and timely.
For example, if you are disabled and a beneficiary of SSI/SSDI, you may need to submit documents to prove that your disability has not changed. You can do this instantly online using our document center. In addition, you can get a letter that shows proof of your SSI/SSDI eligibility, called a budget letter, benefits letter or proof of award letter, quickly through my Social Security. You will just need to provide some basic personal information and answers to questions only you would know (for security reasons). You can also sign up for direct deposit. ביטוח לאומי אזור אישי