Social Security is a federal government program that provides a source of income for you or your legal dependents (spouse, children, or parents) if you qualify for benefits. You also need a Social Security number to get a job.
While you work, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money goes into a trust fund that pays benefits to those who are currently retired, to people with disabilities, and to the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died. Each year you work, you’ll get credits to help you become eligible for benefits when it’s time for you to retire. Find all the benefits Social Security Administration (SSA) offers.
There are four main types of benefits that the SSA offers:
If you receive or will receive Social Security benefits, you may want to open a "my Social Security" account. This online account is a service from the SSA that allows you to keep track of and manage your SSA benefits, and allows you to make changes to your Social Security record.
How much Social Security income you’ll receive depends on your earnings over your lifetime, the age at which you'll begin receiving benefits, and whether you'll be eligible to receive a spouse’s benefit instead of your own.
Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification that you'll need to get a job and collect Social Security and other government benefits.
When you apply for a Social Security number (SSN), the Social Security Administration (SSA) will assign you a nine-digit number, which is the same number printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.
How to Get a Social Security Card
Gather your documents—Learn what documents you'll need to get an original, replacement, or corrected Social Security card, whether it's for a child or adult, U.S. citizen or noncitizen.
Complete your application—Read the instructions for and fill out an application for a new, replacement, or corrected card.
If you want to claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return, open a bank account in their name, get medical coverage for them, or apply for government services for them, they will need their own Social Security number.
Apply for a Replacement Social Security Card Online
A new feature on the SSA website allows you to apply for a replacement Social Security card online via your my Social Security account.
To apply for a replacement card online, you must:
Be a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address (this includes APO, FPO and DPO addresses)
Not be requesting a name change or any other change to your card
Have a valid driver's license or a state-issued identification card from one of the following:
U.S. citizens can travel to or live in most, but not all, foreign countries and still receive their Social Security benefits. To find out if you can receive benefits in the country you’ll be living in or visiting, use the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) payment verification tool and pick the country from the drop-down menu options.
If I Work Overseas, Does it Count Toward My Social Security Record?
If you do not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.
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