Replace Your Social Security Card
Dont carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Thieves love this card because they love having your Social Security number. Theyll have a far easier time applying for loans or lines of credit in your name with this information.
If you did make the mistake of keeping your card in your wallet, youll need to order a credit freeze with the three national credit bureaus. This may help prevent a thief from opening new credit under your name unless you personally remove the freeze.
This is not a free process unless you can prove youve already been the victim of identity theft. If you cant prove this, youll usually have to pay a fee, from $2 to $10. You may also have to pay when you remove the freeze.
In most cases, the Social Security Administration will not give you a new Social Security number. Theyll give you a new card, but not a new number. You might, though, be able to convince the administration to give you a new number if you can prove that someone has used your current number to steal your identity. Thats where filing that police report, and showing a copy of that report as evidence, comes in handy.
Taking Social Security: How To Benefit By Waiting
For those who are able to do so, it may make sense to wait even longer, because youll receive a larger monthly benefit even more than your full benefit. Every month past your full retirement that you delay, Social Security will increase your check by about 0.7 percent per month.
If your full retirement age is 66, then heres how much your check would increase:
|Retirement age||New benefit||A $1,000 check becomes|
So if your full retirement age is 66, then if you can wait two more years and claim benefits at age 68, youll increase your monthly check by 16 percent. In this case, if your full benefit were $1,000 a month, your new benefit would become $1,160 per month. And youll still receive cost of living adjustments on top of this amount, typically raising your payout a little each year.
Workers have other ways to grow their Social Security benefits, too, but its important to start early.
Your May Have To Pay Taxes On Social Security Benefits
Most people know that you pay tax into the Social Security Trust Fund throughout your career, but some retirees don’t realize that you also have to pay tax on your Social Security benefits once you start taking them. Benefits lost their tax-free status in 1984, and the income thresholds for triggering tax on benefits haven’t been increased since then.
It doesn’t take a lot of income for your Social Security benefits to be taxed. For example, a married couple with a combined income of more than $32,000 may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of their Social Security benefits. Higher earners may have to pay income tax on up to 85% of their benefits.
You may also have to pay state income taxes on your Social Security benefits. See our list of the 12 States That Tax Social Security Benefits.
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Accessing Your Personal Information
If you live in Canada, you have the right to ask for information about your SIN record.
You may ask for a copy of any SIN forms submitted in the past. To ask for copies you must:
- Complete a Personal Information Request form and mail to this address:
Access to Information and privacy Coordinator
Phase IV Floor 12 Mail Stop 1203
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau QC K1A 0J9
If You Are Changing Your Gender Designation
You may now choose to have your gender marked as X or chose to not declare your gender. Service Canada will add a note to your record with your choice. Please note, until our computer systems are upgraded to register this information, “male” or “female” will still appear on your SIN record.
Get A New Social Security Card
You can either contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to request a replacement Social Security card, or register for a MY SSA account online at www.ssa.gov and provide documents as proof of identity. This can include a U.S. birth certificate or passport, hospital record of birth, or a drivers license.
If this isn’t possible for any reason, you’ll need to visit a local Social Security Administration office to obtain a new card or request a new number.
Why Should I Replace My Childs Card
Technically, you dont need your childs Social Security card, but you do need the number for most things. Its not often anyone or any entity asks for proof of the physical card.
You will also need the number if you plan to open a bank account for your child, get him or her medical coverage, or add your child to your federal and state tax returns. However, there is a lifetime and yearly limit to replacing cards. You can replace your own and your childs card three times a year or ten times per lifetime.
Memorize your childs number to be safe so that even if the card is lost, youll be able to complete most documents. Remember, a Social Security card is a government document that should remain in your hands. Before you replace your child’s card, here are the immediate steps you need to take now to protect your child’s identity.
» MORE: Create one for free with Cake.
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Replacing Your Child’s Missing Birth Certificate
If you have lost a birth certificate, it may take a bit longer to get a replacement. You will need to write or visit the “Registry of Vital Records and Statistics” in the state where your child was born.
In Massachusetts, this office is in Dorchester and charges $18 if you apply in person and $28 if you apply by mail. You can find your child’s birth state office information by searching for “replace birth certificate” online.
Plan For Your Childs Future
Keeping your childs Social Security number secure is an important step toward keeping his or her benefits safe like Social Security benefits for his or her future family. Children grow up fast, and it’s important to think about his or her later-in-life experiences, too.
Its never too early to plan well for yourself as well. Cake can help you store your will, name an estate beneficiary, and secure your legal documents safely online. Cakes free online profile ensures that all of your end-of-life resources are in one place so you wont have to worry about replacing a lost document ever again.
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How Do I Replace My Lost Or Stolen Social Security Card
You can replace your Social Security card online. According to the Social Security Administration, if youre only requesting a replacement card, and no other changes, you can use our free online services from anywhere. All you need to do is log in to or create your personal my Social Security account.
Once you receive your replacement card, dont put it in your purse or wallet. Keep it stored securely in a safety deposit box, or at home.
Set Up Fraud Alerts With The National Credit Bureaus
You dont want thieves stealing your identity and using it to open new credit cards or loans in your name. One of the best ways to protect yourself from this scenario is to call one of the three national credit bureausExperian, Equifax or TransUnionto request that they place a fraud alert on your credit report.
You only need to contact one of the bureaus. That bureau then must alert the other two so that they can place their own fraud alerts on your credit reports.
Your fraud alerts will remain in place for free for 90 days. Lenders and creditors are then required to take steps to verify your identity before opening new credit cards or loans in your name. This usually means that if they get a request for a new card or loan in your name, theyll call you first, making sure that it was you who made the request.
Here are the numbers of the three credit bureaus:
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
How Different Things Affect Ssi
Because SSI is a needs-based disability program it means that anyone applying for SSI must only have income and assets that fall below a threshold. Those who have “countable income” above the federal benefit rate , which in 2020 was $783 for individuals and $1,175 a month for a married couple, are not deemed eligible for SSI.
Anyone who has some countable income, which falls below the FBR, will face having their monthly SSI payments decreased by the value of the countable income. If an applicant for SSI has no countable income at all and is eligible for SSI, he or she will be awarded the total FBR paid monthly.
Because SSI is viewed as a need-based program, this means to qualify for benefit payments a number of factors concerning your income and assets are taken into consideration. Any adult in receipt of SSI payments will have any assets and other financial resources considered as well as income before the SSI benefit can be paid. These could include any of the following:
- retirement funds
- interest received as income from investments
- support provided by family and friends
- cash or assets from inheritance.
Any assets that have a monetary value like:
- cars and other motor vehicles and
- commercial rental property.
If you own only one home or one motor vehicle it is unlikely the value of these will be used in an SSI assessment. It is only likely to be evaluated if you own more than one vehicle or house.
- investment income.
Theres An Annual Social Security Cost
One of the best features of Social Security benefits is that the government adjusts the benefits each year based on inflation. This is called a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, and helps your payments keep up with increasing living expenses. The Social Security COLA is quite valuable its the equivalent of buying inflation protection on a private annuity, which can get expensive.
Because the COLA is calculated based on changes in a federal consumer price index, the size of the COLA depends largely on broad inflation levels determined by the government. In 2021, Social Security beneficiaries saw a 1.3% COLA in their monthly Social Security benefits.
The Kiplinger Letter predicted in September that the COLA for 2022 could be 6%, which would be the largest adjustment since 1982. The final COLA for 2022 will be announced on Oct. 13.
Heres what COLAs have been in other recent years:
- 2009: 5.8%
- 2021: 1.3%
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If You Earn Too Much After Taking Benefits Early
If you take benefits early and keep working, your income might further reduce the amount you can get. Limits on earnings are adjusted each year to reflect national wage trends.
In 2019, the cap is $17,640. For every $2 you earn over that, you lose $1 in benefits. During the year you turn your full retirement age, the cap rises to $46,920. One dollar is withheld for every $3 earned above the threshold.
After you reach full retirement, theres no limit to how much you can earn. Nothing will be deducted from your benefits.
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What If I Change My Mind
If you receive Social Security benefits at a reduced rate, but then change your mind, you have the option of withdrawing your application and paying back to the government what you’ve already received . Then, you could restart benefits at a later date to take advantage of a higher payout. But you are limited to one withdrawal per lifetime.
For example, let’s say you elected to receive early benefits at age 62, but then decided to go back to work at age 63. You could withdraw your Social Security application within the first 12 months of receiving benefits, pay back the years’ worth of benefits you received, go back to work, and then wait until a later age to restart your benefit checks at a higher level.
For important details about repaying benefits please read the SSA publication If You Change Your Mind.
Will I Lose My Medicaid Benefits If I Get Married
Because of the low-income requirements of Medicaid , the program often goes hand in hand with SSI. When you get married , your spouses income is counted as part of your income. Together you and your partner would have to earn less than what you were making individually to still receive benefits .
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Get Ssa Benefits While Living Overseas
U.S. citizens can travel to or live in most, but not all, foreign countries and still receive their Social Security benefits. You can find out if you can receive benefits overseas by using the Social Security Administrations payment verification tool. Once you access the tool, pick the country you’re visiting or living in from the drop-down menu options.
If Your Income Triggers Taxes On Your Benefits
You can lose benefits to taxes, depending on how much you earn in retirement.
If your income is more than $25,000 as an individual or more than $32,000 as a married couple filing jointly, you’ll owe federal taxes on a portion of your benefits. The portion could be 50% or 85% based on your income level.
“Income” in this case is defined as the sum of your adjusted gross income, your nontaxable interest and half of your annual Social Security. Thirteen states apply taxes to Social Security benefits, too.
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An Example Of Taxed Benefits
Lets say you receive the maximum Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at FRA in 2021: $3,148 per month. Your spouse receives half as much, or $1,574 a month. Together, you receive $4,722 a month, or $56,664 per year. Half of that, or $28,332, counts toward your combined income for determining whether you have to pay tax on part of your Social Security benefits. Lets further assume that you dont have any nontaxable interest, wages, or other income except for your traditional individual retirement accounts required minimum distribution of $10,000 for the year.
Your combined income would be $38,332half of your Social Security income, plus your IRA distributionwhich would make up to 50% of your Social Security benefits taxable because youve exceeded the $32,000 threshold. Now, you may be thinking, 50% of $56,664 is $28,332, and Im in the 12% tax bracket, so the tax on my Social Security benefits will be $3,399.84.
Fortunately, the calculation takes other factors into account, and your tax would be a mere $225. You can read all about the taxation of Social Security benefits in the Internal Revenue Service Publication 915.
How To Get A Social Security Card
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Why Do You Need One
A Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and get some other government services. You should keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers and avoid giving it out unnecessarily. Keep in mind that in many cases, even if you lost your card, you may not need a replacement. In most cases, simply knowing your Social Security number is enough. But if you do need a replacement, we make it easy.