Q. I'm getting married later this month and plan to change my name. What documents do I need to apply for a new Social Security card with my new name?
A. To change your name for any reason in Social Security's records, and on your Social Security card, you'll need to provide proof of your U.S. citizenship (if you have not previously established it with us) or immigration status. You'll need to show us evidence of your legal name change by showing us documentation of your old and new names. Such documents could include a court order for a name change, marriage certificate, divorce decree, or Certificate of Naturalization. Finally, you'll need to show us proof of identity. All documents submitted must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. Visit our website about your Social Security card and number at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber where you can get more information and fill out your application. Or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Q. My father receives Social Security retirement benefits, and I will be in charge of his estate when he dies. Should that occur, do I need to report his death to Social Security or will benefits automatically stop?
A. When your father dies, please notify Social Security as soon as possible by calling us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Another person, such as a spouse, may be eligible for survivors benefits based on his record. Also, we might be able to pay a one-time payment of $255 to help with funeral expenses. We suggest reading a copy of our online publication, How Social Security Can Help You When A Family Member Dies, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10008.html
Q. I can't find my Medicare card and I need a replacement. Do I need to come into the office?
A. You can get your Medicare card replaced without leaving your home. Just go online to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicarecard and get your new Medicare card sent to your home. Simply fill out the requested information and you'll get your new Medicare card within 30 days; it will be mailed to your address on record. If you need temporary proof of Medicare coverage, call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 to request a letter and you will receive it in the mail within 7 to 10 days. If you need immediate proof of your Medicare coverage, please visit your local Social Security office.
Get answers to your Social Security questions each Thursday from the Social Security District Director Martin Coffey. Submit questions by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by emailing him at dflessner@ timesfreepress.com.