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July Q and A with SSA

Your Social Security Benefit

By Kirk Larson

Social Security Western Washington Public Affairs Specialist

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Question:

My wife didn’t work enough to earn 40 credits to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits. Can she qualify on my record?

Answer:

Even if your spouse has never worked under Social Security, she can, at full retirement age, receive a benefit equal to one-half of your full retirement amount. Your wife is eligible for reduced spouse’s benefits as early as age 62, as long as you are already receiving benefits. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/retire.

Question:

Do I have to give my Social Security number whenever I’m asked?

Answer:

Giving your Social Security number is voluntary. If requested, you should ask why the person asking needs your Social Security number, how it will be used, what law requires you to give your number, and what the consequences are if you refuse. The answers to these questions can help you decide whether to give your Social Security number. However, the decision is yours. Keep in mind that requestors might not provide you their services if you refuse to provide your Social Security number. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs to read or print our publication, Your Social Security Number And Card.

Question:

What is the earliest age I can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits?

Answer:

The earliest age you can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits is age 62. If you decide to receive benefits before your full retirement age, which for most people is age 66 or 67, you will receive a reduced benefit. Keep in mind you will not be able to receive Medicare coverage until age 65, even if you decide to retire at an earlier age. For more information, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/retire.

Question:

I lost my Medicare card. How can I get replacement?

Answer:

The easiest and newest way to get a replacement Medicare card is by using your my Social Security account. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount for more information on how to create an account. You also can get a replacement Medicare card by calling us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778). Keep your card in a safe place. You don’t want anyone getting hold of your Social Security number. They could steal your identity.

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