Social Security district manager in Marshall
Question: I got an email that says it's from Social Security, but I'm not so sure. They want me to reply with my Social Security number, date of birth, and mother's maiden name for "verification." Did it really come from Social Security?
Answer: No. Social Security will not send you an email asking you to share your personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, or other private information. Beware of such scams - they're after your information so they can use it for their own benefit. When in doubt, or if you have any questions about correspondence you receive from Social Security, contact your local Social Security office. I can't recall us EVER using email to conduct our business with a beneficiary. We normally will call or send you a letter.
Question: I run a small business and I am hiring a few employees. How can I recognize a valid Social Security card?
Answer: There are more than 50 different versions of the Social Security card, all of which are valid. Although there are several versions of the card in circulation, all prior versions of the card are valid. The number is what is most important. The best way for you and other employers to verify a name and Social Security number is to use the free Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS). Once you register for Business Services Online at www.socialsecurity.gov/bso, you can start using SSNVS. SSNVS allows you to quickly verify whether a person's name and number match Social Security's records.
Question: What are the benefit amounts for which a spouse may be entitled?
Answer: A spouse receives one-half of the retired worker's full benefit if the spouse retires at full retirement age. If the spouse begins collecting benefits before full retirement age, we reduce those benefits by a percentage based on how much earlier the spouse retires. However, if a spouse is taking care of a child who is either under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits, a spouse gets full (one-half) benefits, regardless of age. If you are eligible for both your own retirement benefit and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefit first. If your benefit as a spouse is higher than your retirement benefit, you'll receive a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse's benefit.
Question: My wife and I plan on visiting the grandchildren over the winter, during which time my wife will turn 62. Can she apply for retirement benefits in another state, or do we have to wait until we get back home to apply for retirement at the Marshall Social Security office?
Answer: No. You do not need to return to Minnesota to file for retirement. These days, you don't have to be near a Social Security office to apply for benefits. Regardless of where you and your wife are living or traveling, you can apply for retirement benefits online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline. It's so easy to do, and it can take as little as 15 minutes to complete and submit the application. In most cases, once you submit your application electronically, you're done. You can go back to enjoying your grandchildren.