published Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Martin Coffey: Keep card at home for Social Security

Q. Recently, I was told I shouldn’t be carrying my Social Security card around. Is that true?

A. We encourage you to keep your Social Security card at home in a safe place. Do not carry it with you unless you are taking it to a job interview or to someone who requires it. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, and the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to safeguard your card and number. To learn more, visit our Social Security number and card page at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Q. I have been getting Social Security disability benefits for many years. I’m about to hit my full retirement age. What will happen to my disability benefits?

A. When you reach “full retirement age” we will switch you from disability to retirement benefits. But you won’t even notice the change because your benefit amount will stay the same. It’s just that when you reach retirement age, we consider you to be a “retiree” and not a disability beneficiary. To learn more, visit our website at www.socialse curity.gov.

Q. My 15-year-old sister has been blind since birth. I think she should apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but my parents think because she’s a minor, they’re responsible for her and she won’t qualify. Who is right?

A. To qualify for SSI, an individual must meet certain income and resource limits. Since your sister is a minor, some of your parents’ income and resources will determine whether your sister is eligible for SSI. Once your sister turns 18, their income and resources won’t be considered when deciding her eligibility and payment amount. Tell your parents they can check at any Social Security office to see if your sister qualifies. To learn more, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Submit questions to local Social Security Director Martin Coffey by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at dflessner@timesfreepress.com.

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