SSN card not needed to file for benefits, but can easily be replaced
Q: Will I need my Social Security number (SSN) card when filing for benefits? I lost mine long ago.
A: You will not need your SSN card but do expect the SSA representative to verify your identity. A SSN card is not identification. Replacing your card is easy and free. Required documents vary depending on whether a person is a U.S. citizen, work authorized legal alien or if a name change is involved so read the instructions carefully.
In general, replacing a lost card can be done by completing the application and presenting current ID. Replacing a card can often be completed by mail but it cannot be done electronically. For both application and instructions, click on "Requesting a Social Security Card" at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Q: Will my Social Security checks continue if I move outside the country?
A: You should definitely contact Social Security in advance because this can become complicated, especially if you will be em- ployed. United States citizens can generally receive SSA benefits outside the U.S. as long as they are otherwise eligible. Exceptions exist, but if you are not a U.S. citizen or not a citizen of certain countries, SSA payments will stop after you have been outside the U.S. for six full calendar months. SSA benefits can be easily sent into many, but not all, countries. U.S. Treasury Department regulations prohibit sending SSA benefits into Cuba or North Korea and restrictions exist for some other countries.
Read "Your Payments While You Are Outside The United States", SSA publication 05-10137, online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10137.html#countries.
Q: My stepson gets Social Security benefits because I do. If his Dad and I divorce, want happens to his benefits?
A: His will end, yours will continue. SSA benefits to children are based on the parent to child relationship and, here, that relationship is based on your marriage to his father. If a stepchild is receiving benefits based on your work and you and the child's parent divorce, the stepchild's benefit will end the month after the divorce becomes final.
Note that, as one of your reporting responsibilities, you must notify Social Security as soon as the divorce becomes final.
Did you know? A free web seminar about the new Social Security online retirement benefit application is available on the SSA home page, www.socialsecurity.gov.
While at the site, you can also subscribe to the SSA's monthly newsletter.