If you’re wondering how to get the time to visit a local Social Security Administration (SSA) field office, you may want to know the benefits of open an online “My Social Security Account.”It’s simple to open a Social Security account online. You must have a valid email address, U.S. address, a Social Security number (SSN), and be at least 18 years old.
It’s possible to accomplish the following Social Security-related tasks online with My Social Security Account, including:
Request a replacement Social Security card
Apply for Social Security retirement benefits (or log-in to a saved benefits application)
Apply for spousal benefits
Check the status of a Social Security retirement benefits application
You can also get information about or request Medicare benefits online if you’re at least 65 years old and have paid sufficient FICA tax over your working years.
Request a Replacement Social Security Card
SSA recommends leaving your Social Security card in a safe place. In most cases, it’s much more important to know your SSN than have your Social Security card in your wallet or handbag. For instance, you don’t actually need to present the Social Security card to apply for Social Security benefits.
You may need to present your Social Security card as part of the job application process. If you your card is damaged or worn, it’s relatively easy to request a replacement card online through the My Social Security Account portal.
If there’s any chance that your Social Security card has been stolen, it’s important to take steps against becoming a victim of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you take immediate steps to protect your identity:
Contact the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs). Request the placement of a fraud alert on your credit profile to stop a criminal from using your SSN to open new credit in your name or take money from bank accounts. Asking one CRA to place a fraud on your credit profile will probably mean that the others do so as well. Regardless, federal laws require you to contact each CRA to request a fraud alert. Contact Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion right away.
Request a free credit report from each CRA and review credit files right away.
Ask credit providers to close any credit or loan account you didn’t authorize.
Contact the local police department about the matter.
Call the FTC to make an identity theft complaint as soon as possible.
As soon as you complete these steps to protect your identity, it’s time to ask Social Security to replace your card. You can replace your personal Social Security card (or your child’s card) up to three times in any year or 10 times over a lifetime.
If your Social Security card is stolen, visit a local SSA field office. If you need to locate a local SSA office near you, use the office locator tool.
If you know your Social Security card wasn’t stolen, it’s a relatively simple task to request the replacement. Before you do so through the My Social Security Account page, have the following documents and information on hand:
Provide proof of identity (at a local SSA field office or by mail) by presenting an original and unexpired document, such as your state-issued driver’s license or U.S. passport.
Show SSA documents regarding citizenship if you weren’t born in the U.S. You must present evidence of current legal non-citizen status or naturalization.
If you don’t have a Social Security number, visit a local SSA field office and follow the steps outlined above. You can’t apply for a new SSN online.
Credit Impact of Creating My Social Security Account
Rest assured that creating a My Social Security Account won’t affect your credit. SSA makes a <i>soft inquiry</i> to verify your identity when you open an online Social Security account. The soft inquiry will automatically drop from your credit reports within 12 months.
You can opt to electronically block access to your Social Security record so that no one (including you) can see and/or change personal information in your account via the Internet or through Social Security’s automated phone service (800-772-1213).
If you’re an identity theft or domestic violence victim, or if there’s another reason you want to block access to your electronic record, you can elect to do this now and reverse your decision at some future point. Ask Social Security to unblock the information at that time.
Apply for Social Security Retirement or Spousal Benefits
You may apply for Social Security retirement benefits for yourself and/or your spouse if you’re at least 61 years, 9 months of age, not receiving benefits on your individual Social Security record, haven’t already submitted an application for benefits, and want your retirement benefits to begin no sooner than four months from now.
Before you apply for Social Security retirement benefits, spousal benefits, or Medicare insurance, have the necessary information you’ll need on hand including: your birthdate and birth place; Medicaid number (if applicable) beginning and start dates; marriage and divorce information (for retirement or spousal benefits); children’s names/birth dates; U.S. military service (branch and dates of service); employer information for this year and previous two years; self-employment details for this year and previous two years; and direct deposit information (to a U.S. financial institution or a non-U.S. bank) to enable timely deposit and receipt of your benefits.
Create a Personal Online Social Security Account
Creating a My Social Security Account can simplify your life. That said, SSA doesn’t allow you to arrange an online account for anyone else:
SSA allows you to create a personal account with personal information for your exclusive use only. You can’t create a My Social Security Account page on behalf of someone else, or use another individual’s identity or information.
You aren’t allowed to create an account for another person for whom you’re the appointed representative or representative payee, or with whom you’ve established a business relationship. If you make unauthorized use of the My Social Security Account service, you might face civil and/or criminal penalties.