This New Year, Learn About Social Security Online

By Warren Beck  |  Social Security District Manager in Syracuse

Social Security programs touch the lives of more than 71 million people. We work hard to ensure critical benefits and other services are accessible to you. Consider the start of the new year as an opportunity for you to engage with Social Security online. This begins with creating your free and secure personal My Social Security account at Once you create an account, you can:

• Apply for retirement, spouses, or disability benefits.

• Apply for Medicare.

• Check your application status.

• Request a replacement Social Security number card.

If you do not receive Social Security benefits, you can use your personal my Social Security account to:

• Get personalized retirement benefit estimates.

• Get your Social Security Statement.

• Get estimates for spouse’s benefits.

• Get instant proof that you do not receive benefits.

If you receive benefits, you can use your personal My Social Security account to:

• Change your address (Social Security benefits only).

• Set up or change your direct deposit information (Social Security benefits only).

• Instantly get proof of benefits.

• Print your SSA-1099.

Your personal My Social Security account has a secure message center. You can choose to receive the annual cost-of-living adjustments and the Medicare income-related monthly adjustment amount online. Unless you opt-out of receiving notices by mail that are available online, you will receive both mailed and online notices.

Your personal My Social Security account offers easy access to features that save you time when you do business with us online. Check out our other resources available at for your convenience.

Please share this information with your friends and loved ones who may need it.

Q & A

Q.: How do I change my citizenship status on Social Security’s records?

A.: To change your citizenship status shown in Social Security records:

• Complete an application for a Social Security card (Form SS-5), which you can find online at

• Provide documents proving your:

– New or revised citizenship status (We can only accept certain documents as proof of citizenship. These include your U.S. passport, a Certificate of Naturalization, or a Certificate of Citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents).

– Age.

– Identity.

• Next, take (or mail) your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. For more information, visit

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 or you can call FTC’s hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4261) TTY (1-866-653-4261).

Q.: I haven’t received my Social Security statement in the mail the last few years. Will I ever get one again?

A.: We currently mail Social Security statements to workers age 60 and over who aren’t receiving Social Security benefits and do not yet have a My Social Security account. We mail the statements three months prior to your birthday. Instead of waiting to receive a mailed statement, we encourage people to open a My Social Security account at so they can access their Statement online, anytime.