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Social Security | USAGov

Find information about the services Social Security offers.

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What is Social Security and how does it work?

Social Security is a federal government program that provides assistance to people who meet the requirements established for different circumstances. Among the most common situations in which you or a family member can get help through Social Security are:

Obtaining a Social Security number is necessary to legally work in the United States, make contributions such as paying taxes, which will entitle you to benefits at the time of retirement, and is the means by which the credit score of each person is recorded. person.

How do I get my Social Security number?

To obtain a Social Security number, it is necessary to complete the corresponding procedure, in which, if you are not a US citizen, you must prove that you have a work permit from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, acronym in English).

To request your Social Security number, follow the suggested steps on the Social Security page.

It is very important not to carry the card with you since, in case of theft or loss, someone could use your name and number to benefit from your credit score (identity theft), to open a bank account or apply for a loan at a company credit, among others.

Once the process is complete, during your working life you will have to pay Social Security taxes, which are used to pay retired taxpayers and other beneficiaries, and the same will happen when you retire.

What benefits does it give me?

You can get more information on how to calculate Social Security benefits and how to apply for yourself or your family. Choose one of the following links as the case may be:

You can also read the frequent questions about the card and the Social Security number, among other topics.

Replacement Social Security Cards

If you are a citizen or resident and your Social Security card was lost or stolen, you can replace it for free.

Visit the Social Security Administration portal if you need:

  • Get a replacement card

  • Make a name change or correction on a card

  • Request cards for newborns, children or foreigners

Please note that there is a limit of three replacement cards per year, apart from a total of 10 cards per person for their lifetime. This limit does not include legal name changes and other exceptions.

Retirement and Social Security

Social Security benefits are an important part of many people’s retirement portfolio. When planning your savings and investments for the elderly, consider the following aspects of Social Security benefits.

Age to retire

To retire and apply for Social Security benefits, you must be at least 62 years old. However, at that age you will receive your benefits reduced forever. If instead you decide to retire at 67, you will get your full benefits.

Ask the Social Security retirement benefit planner for detailed information.

Credits needed to retire

In addition to having the statutory age, you must accumulate a total of 40 credits to be able to retire. The credits you accumulate will depend on the number of years you worked. Generally speaking, you receive four credits for each year of work.

If you have already accumulated 40 credits and you want to know the amount of money that corresponds to you for retirement, you can create your Social Security account to receive a copy of your benefit statement.

If you do not have the necessary 40 credits yet, but want to obtain an estimated amount of the benefits you will obtain, you can use the retirement benefits calculator.

Retirement abroad

You have the right to receive Social Security benefits wherever you decide to retire, even in another country.

There are certain rules for citizens, permanent residents of the United States, and people living in Cuba, North Korea, and other countries to receive their benefits abroad. If you currently receive a retirement pension from a country other than the United States, Social Security may reduce your benefits. Learn more about their payments while outside the United States.

Retirement benefits application and general information

You can submit your application for retirement benefits via Internet or at the Social Security offices. Find your nearest office (in English).

For more information, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (press 7 for Spanish) or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY, for the hearing impaired).

Receive Social Security benefits abroad

Citizens of the United States can go to live in certain countries and still receive their Social Security benefits, although there are certain exceptions.

To find out if you can receive benefits in the country where you will live or visit, you can use the payment verification tool Social Security Administration (SSA) and choose your country from the menu options.

Does my time from work abroad count towards my Social Security?

If you did not make enough contributions during your working life in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits, you may be able to count the contributions you made during the period you worked in another country (in English). If you obtained credits in one of the 24 countries with which SSA has agreements, you may be able to receive benefits from the United States.

Quick Disability Approval

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability benefits to American workers who are unable to work for a period of more than 12 months due to physical, mental or emotional illness. If the case meets the requirements of the Compassionate Benefit Approval (Compassionate Allowances Program, in English), the SSA can reduce the time of evaluation of the case to only a few weeks.

See the list of diseases that the program includes.

How to apply for disability benefits

The process for benefiting from compassionate approvals is the same as the process for applying for disability benefits. However, the difference is that once SSA determines that the case qualifies for this category, the process proceeds more quickly. You can apply for disability benefits for:

  • Internet
  • Telephone, by calling toll free 1-800-772-1213 (press 7 for Spanish) Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM. The TTY line 1-800-325-0778 is also available. You can make an appointment to file a disability application at your local SSA office or make an appointment for a specialist to take your application over the phone.

Get proof of income from Social Security

If you need proof that you receive Social Security benefits, among the documents you can obtain online are:

In what situations do I need to prove my income?

You may need proof of your Social Security income if:

  • Apply for help paying your electric and gas bills or other assistance programs.

  • You move into a new home.

  • Apply for a bank loan for a large purchase.

  • You must file your taxes and you lost or did not receive your form SSA-1099 / 1042S in the mail.

If you need more information, you can contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) and schedule an appointment with your local office.

What to do when a Social Security or Medicare beneficiary dies?

The first thing to do is report the death to the United States Social Security Administration (SSA), which is the agency in charge of processing death reports for Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. Failure to report the death of a person and continue to use the benefits that they received is considered fraud.

What you need to do to report a death:

What to do with the last check received?

SSA cannot pay benefits for the month a recipient died. That means if the person died in July, you must return the check received in August (which corresponds to the July payment).

If the payment was made by direct deposit to a bank account, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so that it can return payments received after death.

In some cases, family members may be eligible for benefits when a person dies. For details on when this specific situation occurs, visit the SSA Survivor Benefits for more information.

For more detailed information read “How Social Security can help you when a member of your family dies”.

Do you have a question?

Ask us for free about the United States Government. Our agents will answer you directly or tell you where you can find the answer you need.

Last Updated: June 9, 2020