Social Security questions and answers

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by LeeAnn Stuever

Question: When will I get my automatic Social Security Statement?

Answer: If you are at least 25 years old and not yet receiving benefits, you should receive your annual Social Security statement about three months before your birthday. If your automatic statement has not arrived and you are within one month before the month of your birth or if you need a statement sooner, you can request one at any time by going to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/statement. You can learn more about the Social Security Statement and how to use it at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement.

Question:  If Social Security is for the retired and disabled, why would my new baby need a Social Security number?

Answer: Social Security is not just for the retired and disabled. Survivors of deceased workers and the families of retired or disabled workers also qualify for benefits. In fact, about four million children currently receive benefits. Nine out of 10 children would be eligible to receive benefits if a parent retires, becomes disabled, or dies. But children need a Social Security number before they can receive benefits. Children also need a number for reasons not connected with Social Security benefits. For example, children need a Social Security number to be claimed as a dependent on a tax return, open a bank account, or buy U.S. Savings Bonds. Also, your child needs a number to be eligible for some social services and benefits such as Temporary Assistance to Families, food stamps, and Medicaid. Learn more about your Social Security card and number at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

(LeeAnn Stuever is Social Security manager in Downtown Pittsburgh.)

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