GENERAL

Q: I got married and I need to change my name in Social Security’s records. What do I do?

A: If you change your name due to marriage, or for any other reason, you’ll need to report the change and get a corrected Social Security card with your new name. You will need to fill out form SS-5. You can get a copy of this form by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/ss5doc or by calling our toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You’ll also need to provide the original marriage certificate showing your new and old names. You can mail or take the documentation to your local Social Security office. In some cases, we may need other forms of documentation as well. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

RETIREMENT

Q: I have never worked but my spouse has. What will my benefits be?

A: You can be entitled to as much as one-half of your spouse’s benefit amount when you reach full retirement age. If you want to get Social Security retirement benefits before you reach full retirement age, the amount of your benefit is reduced. The amount of reduction depends on when you will reach full retirement age. For example, if your full retirement age is 66, you can get 35 percent of your spouse’s unreduced benefit at age 62 (a permanent reduction); if your full retirement age is 67, you can get 32.5 percent of your spouse’s unreduced benefit at age 62 (a permanent reduction).

The amount of your benefit increases if your entitlement begins at a later age, up to the maximum of 50 percent at full retirement age. However, if you are taking care of a child who is under age 16 or who gets Social Security disability benefits on your spouse’s record, you get the full spouse’s benefits, regardless of your age. Learn more about retirement benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/retirement.

DISABILITY

Q: What is substantial gainful activity (SGA)?

A: We use the term “substantial gainful activity,” or “SGA,” to describe a level of work activity and earnings. Work is “substantial” if it involves doing significant physical or mental activities or a combination of both.

If you earn more than a certain amount and are doing productive work, we generally consider that you are engaging in SGA. For example, the monthly SGA amount for 2019 is $1,220. For statutorily blind individuals, that amount is $2,040. In these cases, you would not be eligible for disability benefits if you made over those amounts. You can read more about substantial gainful activity and if your earnings qualify as SGA at www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/cola/sga.html.

MEDICARE

Q: I have diabetes and I have to take insulin. Is my insulin covered by Medicare?

A: Medicare Part B does not cover insulin unless use of an insulin pump is medically necessary. However, certain Medicare Part D prescription drug plans may cover insulin and certain supplies used to inject insulin, like syringes. For more information, please visit www.medicare.gov/coverage/insulin.html.

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