Social Security FAQ’s

You can get an original Social Security card or a replacement card if yours is lost or stolen. There is no charge for a Social Security card. This service is free.
  • You can use a my Social Security account to request a replacement Social Security card online if you:
  • Are a U.S. citizen age 18 years or older with a U.S. mailing address;
  • Are not requesting a name change or any other change to your card; and
Have a driver's license or a state-issued identification card from one of the states listed. If you cannot apply for a card online, you will need to show the required documents. We need to see different documents depending on your citizenship and the type of card you are requesting. See Learn What Documents You Need to find out what documents you will have to show. Fill out and print an Application for a Social Security Card; and take or mail your application and documents to your local Social Security office.
You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, if you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, we will reduce your benefit. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, we will not reduce your benefits no matter how much you earn.

We use the following earnings limits to reduce your benefits: If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2017 that limit is $16,920.

In the year you reach full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit, but we only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age. If you will reach full retirement age in 2017, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $44,880.

Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, you can get your benefits with no limit on your earnings.

What counts as earnings:

When we figure out how much to deduct from your benefits, we count only the wages you make from your job or your net earnings if you're self-employed. We include bonuses, commissions, and vacation pay. We don't count pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans, or other government or military retirement benefits.

Your benefits may increase when you work:

As long as you continue to work, even if you are receiving benefits, you will continue to pay Social Security taxes on your earnings. However, we will check your record every year to see whether the additional earnings you had will increase your monthly benefit. If there is an increase, we will send you a letter telling you of your new benefit amount.

When you’re ready to apply for retirement benefits, use our online retirement application, the quickest, easiest, and most convenient way to apply.

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you must tell Social Security so you can get a corrected card. You cannot apply for a card online. There is no charge for a Social Security card. This service is free.
To get a corrected Social Security card, you will need to:
Show the required documents. You will need proof of your identity. Sometimes you also may need to prove your current U.S. citizenship or lawful noncitizen status. Learn What Documents You Need for more information.
You should apply for retirement benefits three months before you want your payments to start. The easiest and most convenient way to apply for retirement benefits is by using our online application.
Choosing when to start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits is an important decision that affects your monthly benefit amount for the rest of your life.
Your monthly retirement benefit will be higher if you delay claiming it
You can start receiving your retirement benefit as early as age 62, or as late as age 70. If you claim it early (before your full retirement age), your monthly amount will be reduced. On the other hand, if you delay claiming your benefit, your monthly amount will be increased for each month of delay. These adjustments are permanent for the rest of your life.
The increases from delaying your benefit can be large. For example, a worker with a $1,000 benefit at her full retirement age of 66 would receive $750 a month if she starts her benefit at age 62, or $1,320 a month if she delays until age 70. Married couples have two lives to plan for. If you are the higher earner, delaying starting your retirement benefit means higher monthly benefits for the rest of your life and higher survivor protection for your spouse, if you die first.
Yes, regardless of the sex of you or your partner, we can place both parents’ names on your child’s Social Security number record. You will need to provide proof that you are the legal parents of the child. The following documents will provide proof that you and your partner are the child’s legal parents:

  • Original or amended birth certificate;
  • The final adoption decree; or
  • Court determination of paternity (also referred to as a court order of parentage).