Q. Can I use the metal or plastic versions of Social Security cards that some companies make?
A. We don't recommend it. There is no need to have a replica of your card. In most cases, the only time you may need to produce your Social Security card is when you apply for employment. At other times, we strongly recommend that you keep anything with your Social Security number on it with your other important papers. Do not carry your Social Security card with you. Also, we strongly advise against laminating your card. You should question anyone else other than your employer who asks for your Social Security number or your card. Not everyone you do business with needs it. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
Q. Is there a time limit on how long you can get Social Security disability benefits?
A. No. Your disability benefits will continue as long as your medical condition has not improved, and you cannot work. We will periodically review your case to determine if you continue to be eligible. If you are still receiving disability benefits when you reach your full retirement age, your disability benefits will automatically be converted to retirement benefits. The amount you receive will remain the same. Learn more about disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.
Q. I want to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but I don't know whether I qualify since I own my own home. Can I still get SSI?
A. Yes, it is possible for you to qualify for SSI even if you own your own home. To be eligible for SSI, you cannot own more than $2,000 in resources for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. However, we do not count the house you live in as a resource. Of course, if you are disabled, you must file an application and wait for a medical decision on your claim, unless you are over the age of 65. There are other requirements you must meet as well. Learn more by reading You May Be Able To Get SSI, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Gregory Holmes is district manager for Social Security in Chattanooga.