Find a Social Security Office
The Social Security Administration does its best to ensure ample access points are available for local use. The best way to find the most up to date information on location is to use the SSA’s Social Security Office Locator. Once there, enter your zip code and choose whether you need a social security card office (“card center”) or service office to find the Social Security office locations near you.
From there you will see the office location, contact information and hours of operation. Click “Show Special Instructions” to find service updates, tips on navigating to the office, how to use public transportation to get to the location and/or general information about the office.
Social Security Benefits
The Social Security Administration delivers three types of benefits—retirement, disability and survivors. Benefits come in the form of monthly checks with the amount based on income and other eligibility requirements.
The SSA pays monthly Social Security retirement benefits to about 90 percent of the U.S. citizens and eligible individuals 65 and older. When established during the Great Depression in 1935, retirement benefits were the only type of benefits administered by the SSA and continue to be the largest benefit amount paid.
Social Security retirement benefits are funded by payroll taxes. Individuals must pay into the program for at least 10 years they work to receive benefits. If you have not fulfilled this requirement, you may still be eligible for benefits under your spouse.
Along with your lifetime earnings, when you begin taking benefits greatly affects your benefit amount. You may begin taking benefits as early as age 62, with full benefits available at 66 and larger benefit amounts paid to those who wait to collect until age 70. In 2017, the maximum benefit amount was $3,538 for those retiring at age 70, $2,687 for those retiring at age 66 and $2,153 for those retiring at 62.
To receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits you must have worked recently enough and long enough while paying into social security and have a qualifying disability to receive payments. The SSA assigns Social Security work credits based on wages. In 2017, $1,300 earns one credit and you may earn up to four per year. How many credits you need to qualify for benefits is based on your age when you become disabled.
Benefits are paid monthly until you can work again or reach retirement age, at which point they convert to Social Security retirement benefits.
In addition to funding retirement and disability benefits, payroll taxes also fund survivors benefits through the SSA. This is basically a public life insurance policy that kicks in to protect your loved ones should you pass away. Benefits are calculated on a similar credits system and vary based on circumstance.
How to Get a Social Security Card
Your Social Security number, the nine-digit number documented on your Social Security card, is one of the most important identifying pieces of information a person has since lifetime wages, which determine your Social Security benefit amount, are tied to this number. You need this number, and often a copy of the card, to get a job and collect Social Security as well as conduct other types of business such as opening a bank account or collecting and many other government benefits.
It’s important to keep your Social Security card and number confidential. You should keep the card in a safe place and not carry it aside from select occasions when you need to present it to a service provider or employer. Do not give the information out unless absolutely necessary. Always feel free to ask questions about why the number is needed and how it will be used. If the person asking is not an employer or government service provider, you may not be legally required to offer this information and should do so at your discretion.
If your Social Security card has been lost or stolen you can get a replacement Social Security card for free. To replace your Social Security card you will need to:
- Complete a Social Security card application
- Show proof of identity via an unexpired document with identifying information, preferably with a photo, such as a photo ID
- Provide evidence of U.S. citizenship if born outside the U.S.
- Provide evidence of current legal noncitizen status if not a U.S. citizen
Some states allow you to replace a lost or stolen Social Security card by applying online, while others require a trip to a Social Security card office. Your new social security card will have the same number as your original one.
If you legally change your name for any reason, you need to request a new Social Security Card through the same process. There is not fee for a new card with a name change.