Courtesy: Social Security Administration
The new year — 2018 — is here! It’s the perfect time to tell you about the new features in my Social Security. They not only save you time, but also put you in control of your retirement future.
If you are a resident of a growing number of states (and the District of Columbia), you can request a replacement Social Security card online. Our new online version of the Application for a Replacement Social Security Card can make getting a replacement card easy and stress-free. It allows people to apply for a replacement card through my Social Security without traveling to a field office or card center, as long as you are not requesting a name change or any other change to your card. We are working to add this capability to every state.
Your personal my Social Security account is secure and gives you ready access to your earnings records, Social Security benefit estimates and printable Statements. Those who already receive benefits can view their payment history, current status and manage their benefits.
Social Security has also made replacing your annual Benefit Statement even easier. The Benefit Statement (known as the SSA-1099 or the SSA-1042S) shows the amount of benefits you received the previous year and is needed for filing taxes. Now you have the ability to download it using our online services. There is no need to visit a field office. A replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S became available Feb. 1 for the previous tax year.
If you don’t have a my Social Security account, creating a secure account is very easy to do and usually takes less than 15 minutes.
Putting you in control of your future is a key part of securing today and tomorrow. With my Social Security, we give you the power to steer your future in the direction you deserve.
HOW EX-SPOUSE BENEFITS AFFECT YOU
Just as it is during tax season, it’s good to have all of the information you need early so you can prepare and get any money you are due.
If you are age 62, unmarried, and divorced from someone entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits, you may be eligible to receive benefits based on his or her record. To be eligible, you must have been married to your ex-spouse for 10 years or more. If you have since remarried, you cannot collect benefits on your former spouse’s rec-
ord unless your later marriage ended in annulment, divorce or death. Additionally, if you are entitled to benefits on your own record, your benefit amount must be less than you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work. In other words, we’ll pay the higher of the two benefits for which you are eligible, but not both.
You can apply for benefits on your former spouse’s record even if he or she has not retired, as long as you divorced at least two years before applying. If, however, you decide to wait until full retirement age to apply as a divorced spouse, your benefit will be equal to half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount or disability benefit. The same rules apply for a deceased former spouse.
The amount of benefits you receive has no effect on the benefits of your ex-spouse and his or her current spouse. Visit Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html to find all the eligibility requirements you must meet in order to apply as a divorced spouse. Our benefits planner gives you an idea of your monthly benefit amount. If your ex-spouse died after you divorced, you may still quality for widow’s benefits. You’ll find information about that in a note at the bottom of the website.
Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html today to learn whether you are eligible for benefits on your ex-spouse’s record. That could mean a considerable amount of monthly income. What you learn may bring a smile to your face
. . . even on tax day!
Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.