Learn all the essentials around Social Security applications, regulations, taxes, scams, and maximizing benefits for you and your family.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I get a new Social Security card?

    Start by creating an account at My Social Security. You'll need to be a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address. You'll also need a driver's license or state-issued ID card. In Delaware, Nevada, and Wisconsin, you must have a driver's license. If you live in Alaska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, West Virginia, or a U.S. territory such as Guam or Puerto Rico, call 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office to get a replacement card.

  • Is Social Security taxable?

    If you make a sizable income over and above your Social Security benefits, such as through dividends, interest, or wages, you may have to pay tax on up to 85% of your benefits. That means if you file a federal tax return as an individual and your combined income is more than $25,000, if you file a joint return and you and your spouse have a combined income of more than $32,000, or if you're married and file a separate tax return you'll likely have to pay. Your combined income is your adjusted gross income plus nontaxable interest plus half of your Social Security benefits.

  • How do I apply for Social Security?

    You can apply for Social Security benefits by phone at 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting your local Social Security office, but the easiest way is to apply online on the Social Security Administration's website. You will be asked to agree to the Terms of Service, and you'll be asked questions about who you are to verify you are eligible. Ensure you have all the information you need before beginning the process, such as your employment details and direct deposit banking information. The process should take between 10 and 30 minutes, and you can save your application along the way.

  • How do I check on my Social Security status?

    If you applied for Social Security benefits, have a pending reconsideration request, or a hearing request, you can check the status online through a My Social Security account. On this page you will be able to see the date of your request and its current status, any scheduled hearing dates and times, and office locations. You'll also be able to use this account to request replacement SSN cards, estimate future benefits, and manage benefits you may already get.

  • How are Social Security benefits calculated?

    Average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) are used to calculate the primary insurance amount (PIA). That is used to determine your Social Security benefits. Your AIME considers the 35 years of peak earnings, which are then indexed to factor in wage growth and averaged to produce a monthly figure. That is the amount you'll receive at your full retirement age.

  • What is the full retirement age for Social Security?

    You can get Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. But the full retirement age for those born in 1960 or later is 67. If you were born from 1943 to 1954 it is 66. For those born between 1955 and 1960, the full retirement age gradually increases. If you delay taking benefits beyond your full retirement age, the amount of your retirement benefit will continue to increase up until you reach age 70.

Key Terms

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Page Sources
  1. Social Security Administration. "Sign in or Create an Account." https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

  2. Social Security Administration. "Retirement Benefits." https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/taxes.html

  3. Social Security Administration. "Apply for Retirement Benefits." https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/apply.html

  4. Social Security Administration. "Learn About Retirement Benefits." https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/learn.html