With you through life’s journey...
Social Security touches the life of every American, both directly and indirectly. We help older Americans, workers who become disabled, wounded warriors, and families in which a spouse or parent dies. Our commitment also extends to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals covered by Social Security’s many programs and services.
Today, about 176 million people work and pay Social Security taxes, and about 65 million people receive monthly Social Security benefits. With retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, we improve the quality of life for millions throughout life’s journey.
We’re With You from Birth
Most parents apply for a child’s Social Security number at birth, usually through the hospital. When the time comes for that first job, the number is already in place.
We can place both parents’ names on your child’s Social Security number record. You will need to provide proof that you are the legal parents of the child.
A fun bonus of assigning Social Security numbers at birth is that we know the most popular baby names, which we announce each year. On our website, you can find the top baby names for the last 100 years.
We’re With You When You Start Work
Your employer verifies your Social Security number with us at every new job. Doing so helps reduce fraud and improves the accuracy of your earnings records.
Employers collect Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA taxes, and report earnings to us electronically. This is how we track your earnings and is how you earn Social Security retirement, disability, and survivors coverage for you and your family. A worker earns up to four Social Security credits each year and needs 40 credits, or 10 years of work, to qualify for retirement benefits.
Verify your earnings record by creating a my Social Security account and checking your Social Security Statement.
We’re There for You When You Marry
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states and have their marriage recognized by other states. This decision made it possible for more same-sex couples and their families to benefit from our programs.
We encourage you to apply right away for benefits, even if you are not sure you are eligible. Applying now will protect you against the loss of any potential benefits.
Marriage is the start of a new chapter in your life. Your marital status is important for our retirement, survivor, and disability programs because you or your spouse could be entitled to benefits or a higher benefit amount based on the relationship. Children or stepchildren could also be entitled to benefits. For some surviving spouses, divorced spouses, and adults disabled during childhood, benefits could end if they marry.
We recognize same-sex couples’ marriages in all states, and some non-marital legal relationships (such as some civil unions and domestic partnerships), for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits, Medicare entitlement, and eligibility and payment amount for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We also recognize same-sex marriages and some non-marital legal relationships established in foreign jurisdictions for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits, Medicare entitlement, and SSI.
If you already receive Social Security benefits, you must tell us if you get married, enter a non-marital legal relationship, or divorce because your marital status may affect your entitlement to benefits. If we stop your benefits because of marriage or remarriage, we may start them again if the marriage ends. If you have questions about how a same-sex marriage or non-marital legal relationship affects your claim, please call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 or at our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, if you are deaf or hard of hearing. Or you can contact your local Social Security office.
Whenever you change your name, be sure to report the change to us. Otherwise, your earnings may not be recorded properly and you may not receive all the benefits you are due. We will provide you with an updated Social Security card. There’s no charge for a Social Security card.
We’re There to Help if You Become Disabled
One in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire.
Disability benefits provide financial support for disabled workers and their dependents, including our wounded warriors. You can apply for Social Security disability benefits online.
We’re There to Provide Financial Support During Difficult Times
The loss of a loved one can be both emotionally and financially difficult. Some widows, widowers, and children may receive survivor benefits to help them cope with the financial loss.
The number of credits needed to provide benefits for survivors depends on the worker’s age when he or she dies.
Unmarried children who are under age 18 (up to age 19 if attending elementary or secondary school full time) can be eligible to receive Social Security benefits when a parent dies.
We Wouldn't Miss Your Retirement Party
When most people think of Social Security, they think of retirement benefits — with good reason.
Social Security is a lifeline for most retirees, keeping tens of millions out of poverty. Fifty-one percent of the workforce has no private pension coverage. Thirty-four percent of the workforce has no savings set aside specifically for retirement. For more information about retirement benefits, visit Retirement Benefits.
We’re There For Those Who Need a Helping Hand
Social Security administers the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which pays monthly benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children may also get SSI.
You Can Count on Us to Be There
The two Social Security Trust Funds — Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) — will be able to pay all benefits in full and on time until 2034. Even if legislative changes are not made before 2034, we’ll still be able to pay 78 percent of each benefit due. Social Security has always changed to meet the needs of the people we serve and will continue to help secure today and tomorrow for you and your family.
When You’re Ready to Apply for Benefits
When you are ready to apply for benefits, you can apply for benefits online.
With a my Social Security account, you can estimate your future benefits at different ages when you may want to start receiving benefits.
If you have additional questions
If you have questions about how a same-sex marriage or non-marital legal relationship may affect your claim, or to tell us if you are married, separated or divorced, please call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or contact your local Social Security office.
Advocates, members of the media, and others with general questions about same-sex marriage or non-marital legal same-sex relationships and Social Security programs may contact their Regional Communications Director.
To learn more about Social Security and our programs and services, go to www.socialsecurity.gov, call 1-800-772-1213, or visit your local field office.