Q: Can I refuse to give my Social Security number to a private business?

A: Yes, you can refuse to disclose your Social Security number, and you should be careful about giving out your number. But, be aware, the person requesting your number can refuse services if you don’t give it. Businesses, banks, schools, private agencies, etc., are free to request someone’s number and use it for any purpose that doesn’t violate a federal or state law. To learn more about your Social Security number, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

RETIREMENT

Q: I’m retiring early, at age 62, and I receive investment income from a rental property I own. Does investment income count as earnings?

A: No. We count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. Non-work income such as annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains, and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. Most pensions will not affect your benefits. However, your benefit may be affected by government pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax. You can retire online at www.socialsecurity.gov. For more information, call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

DISABILITY

Q: I just received my first disability payment. How long will I continue to get them?

A: In most cases, you will continue to receive benefits as long as you are disabled. However, there are certain circumstances that may change your continuing eligibility for disability benefits. For example:

Your health may improve to the point where you are no longer disabled or

Like many people, you would like to go back to work rather than depend on your disability benefits and you are successful in your attempt.

Also, the law requires that we review your case from time to time to verify you are still disabled. We tell you if it is time to review your case, and we also keep you informed about your benefit status. You also should be aware that you are responsible for letting us know if your health improves or you go back to work.

Q: I need proof that I receive Medicare benefits. Where can I get a letter proving that?

A: If you need proof that you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicare, get an instant benefit verification letter online by using your personal my Social Security account. If you don’t receive benefits, your letter will serve as proof that you don’t receive benefits. If you recently applied for benefits, the letter will make that clear as well. The information on your benefit verification letter will include information that applies to your situation. You can set up your secure, personal my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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