Q: "It's hard for me to get around because of my disability. Do I have to go to a Social Security office to apply for benefits?"
A: Not anymore. You can prepare and submit your Social Security disability application and all the needed forms right over the Internet. Our online disability application is convenient and secure.
Get started by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability. When you decide to apply, begin by taking a look at our Disability Starter Kit at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits.htm. It will help you prepare for your application.
Q: "Can I get a new Social Security number if someone has stolen my identity?"
A: We do not routinely assign a new number to someone whose identity has been stolen. Only as a last resort should you consider requesting a new Social Security number. Changing your number may adversely affect your ability to interact with federal and state agencies, employers and others.
This is because your financial, medical, employment and other records will be under your former Social Security number. We cannot guarantee that a new number will solve your problem. To learn more about your Social Security card and number, read our online publication on the subject at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10002.html
Q: "My brother has been completely disabled from birth. He gets Supplemental Security Income. Our grandfather died recently and left him a little money. Will this extra money stop his SSI benefits?"
A: It all depends on the amount of the inheritance. Inheritance money is considered income for the month he received it.
You will have to report the income, and we will adjust his benefit for the month accordingly. If he keeps the money into the next month, it then becomes a part of his resources. To get SSI benefits, he is limited to $2,000 in total resources although there are exceptions. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and report the inheritance. We will tell you how your brother's eligibility will be affected.
For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.
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 email@example.com.