By Deborah Banikowski
District Manager, Syracuse
We take pride in having provided vital benefits and services to this great nation for 85 years. America has a diverse population with a variety of needs. With our diverse population in mind, we’ve created webpages that speak directly to groups of people who may need information about our programs and services. These pages are easy to share with friends and family or on social media. Here are just a few that might speak to you or someone you love.
We proudly serve wounded warriors and veterans. They made sacrifices to preserve the freedoms Americans treasure. Many of them do not know they might be entitled to disability benefits from Social Security. Share our resources with them to make sure they get the benefits they deserve. www.ssa.gov/people/veterans.
Social Security plays an important role in providing economic security for women. Nearly 55% of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. With longer life expectancies than men, women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater chance of exhausting other sources of income. A woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live, on average, until about 87, while a 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until about 84. Also, women often have lower lifetime earnings than men, which usually means lower benefits. Women need to plan early and wisely for retirement and we’re here to provide valuable information to help. Share this page with someone who needs this information and may need help planning for their golden years. www.ssa.gov/people/women.
Do you know someone who is just starting their career? Now is the best time for them to start preparing for retirement. The sooner they begin to save, the more they’ll have at retirement. Share this page with a young worker you know. www.ssa.gov/people/earlycareer.
These are just a few webpages that are tailored to a specific group’s needs. If you didn’t see your own, check out our People Like Me home page at www.ssa.gov/people.
Q: A few years ago, I lost my Social Security card. Now my credit report shows that someone might be using my Social Security number. I’m afraid they might ruin my credit. What should I do?
A: Identity theft and fraud are serious problems, not just for you, but for the financial integrity of our agency. It also puts our national security at risk if someone dangerous is using your number to obtain other forms of identification. It’s against the law to use someone else’s Social Security number, give false information when applying for a number, or alter, buy, or sell Social Security cards. Keep in mind, you should never carry your Social Security card with you. If you think someone is using your Social Security number fraudulently, you should report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) right away. You can report it at www.idtheft.gov or you can call FTC’s hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4261) TTY (1-866-653-4261).
Q: I served in the military, and I’ll receive a military pension when I retire. Will that affect my Social Security benefits?
A: You can get both Social Security retirement benefits and military retirement at the same time. Generally, we don’t reduce your Social Security benefits because of your military benefits. When you’re ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline. This is the fastest and easiest way to apply. For your convenience, you can always save your progress during your application and complete it later. We thank you for your military service!
Q: I have a 38-year-old son who has been disabled by cerebral palsy since birth. I plan to apply for retirement benefits. Will he be eligible for benefits as my disabled child?
A: Yes. In general, an adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because we pay it on the parent’s Social Security earnings record.
The “adult child” — including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild — must be unmarried, age 18 or older, and have a disability that started before age 22.
Q: I applied for disability benefits, but was denied. I’d like to appeal. Can I do it online?
A: Yes. In fact, the best way to file a Social Security appeal is online. Our online appeal process is convenient and secure. Just go to www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/appeal to appeal the decision. For people who don’t have access to the internet, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to schedule an appointment to visit your local Social Security office to file your appeal.