Q: What should I do if I get a call claiming there’s a problem with my Social Security number or account?
A: If there is a problem, we will mail you a letter. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. The latest scam trick of using robocalls or live callers has increased. Fraudsters pretend to be government employees and claim there is identity theft or another problem with one’s Social Security number, account, or benefits.
Scammers may threaten arrest or other legal action, or may offer to increase benefits, protect assets, or resolve identity theft. They often demand payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or mailing cash.
Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money. Social Security may call you in some situations, but will never:
• Threaten you.
• Suspend your Social Security number.
• Demand immediate payment from you.
• Require payment by cash, gift card, pre-paid debit card, internet currency, or wire transfer.
• Ask for gift card numbers over the phone or to wire or mail cash.
Don’t be fooled! You should look out for:
• A caller saying there is a problem with your Social Security number or account.
• Any call asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
• Scammers pretending they’re from Social Security or another government agency. Caller ID or documents sent by email may look official but they are not.
How to protect yourself and your family!
• If you receive a questionable call, hang up, and report the call to our Office of the Inspector General
• Ask someone you trust for advice before making any large purchase or financial decision.
• Don’t be embarrassed to report if you shared personal financial information or suffered a financial loss.
• Learn more at www.oig.ssa.gov/scam.
• Share this information with friends and family.
Learn more about fraud prevention and reporting at https://www.ssa.gov/antifraudfacts/.
Q: How far in advance can I apply for Social Security retirement benefits?
A: You can apply for Social Security retirement benefits when you are at least 61 years and 9 months of age.
You should apply four months before you want your benefits to start.
Even if you are not ready to retire, you still should sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday.
When you’re ready to apply for retirement benefits, use our online retirement application at www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement. It’s the quickest, easiest, and most convenient way to apply.
Q: What are the eligibility requirements to get Social Security disability benefits?
A: To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked long enough in jobs covered by Social Security (usually 10 years). Then, you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability (www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/qualify.html ).
In general, we pay monthly benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more, or who have a condition expected to end in death. The disability must be so severe the worker cannot work, considering age, education and experience.
If you think you may be eligible to receive disability benefits and would like to apply , you can use our online application at www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability.
Applying online for disability benefits offers several advantages:
You can start your disability claim immediately. There is no need to wait for an appointment;
You can apply from the convenience of your home, or on any computer; and
You can avoid trips to a Social Security office, saving you time and money.
Q: How can I get help with my Medicare Part A and Part B premiums?
A: States must help pay some of the Medicare costs for beneficiaries who have limited income and resources. Under these programs, states help pay for Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, deductibles and copayments. Some of these programs also pay additional Medicare expenses for elderly and disabled people.
To find out if you are eligible for state help, contact your local medical assistance office. A representative can tell you the specific requirements and help you apply.
For more information, see www.Medicare.gov.