Social Security tip: Questions and answers
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 2:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 2:39 p.m.
Q: I lost my Social Security card. Should I get a new one?
A: If you know your Social Security number, you may not need a replacement card. However, you can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen, but you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
Q: I worked for the last 10 years and I now have my 40 credits. Does this mean that I can stop working and get the maximum Social Security retirement benefit when it's time to retire?
A: The 40 credits are the minimum number you need to qualify for retirement benefits. However, we do not base the amount of the benefit on those credits; we base it on your earnings over your working lifetime.
To learn more about Social Security retirement benefits and how your benefit amount is figured, read our online publication, Retirement Benefits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10035.html.
Q: If both my spouse and I are entitled to Social Security benefits, is there any reduction in our payments because we are married?
A: No. We calculate lifetime earnings independently to determine each spouse's Social Security benefit amount and couples are not penalized simply because they are married. When each member of a married couple meets all other eligibility requirements to receive Social Security retirement benefits, each spouse receives a monthly benefit amount based on his or her own earnings. If one member of the couple earned low wages or failed to earn enough Social Security credits to be insured for retirement benefits, he or she may be eligible to receive benefits as a spouse. Learn more about earning Social Security credits by reading our publication on the subject at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10072.html.
Q: I currently receive Social Security disability benefits. Is there a time limit on how long you can collect Social Security disability benefits?
A: Your disability benefits will continue as long as your medical condition has not improved and you cannot work. We will review your case at regular intervals to make sure you are still disabled.
Learn more by reading our publication, Disability Benefits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10029.html.
Kay Louder is the district manager of the Social Security office in Gainesville.