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Social Security Questions and Answers

By Erin Thompson, Public Affairs Specialist in Toledo, OH

Guest Column



Is it true I must now receive my benefits through direct deposit?



Anyone applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, will be required to receive their payments electronically. Paper checks will no longer be an option for most people. If you donít have a bank account, you can get your benefits through the Direct Express debit MasterCard. Switching from checks to electronic payments is fast, easy, and free at www.godirect.org. You also can call the U.S. Treasury Processing Centerís toll-free helpline at 1-800-333-1795, speak with a bank or credit union representative, or contact Social Security for help.



Recently, I was told I shouldnít be carrying my Social Security card around. Is that true?



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 Social Security card and number. To learn more, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.



I just started my first job and my paycheck is less than I expected. Why am I paying for retirement benefits when I have a lifetime to live before retirement?



Besides being required by law, you are securing your own financial future through the payment of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The taxes you pay now translate to a lifetime of protection, whether you retire or become disabled. And when you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivors benefits based on your work as well. Aside from all the benefits in your own future, your Social Security and Medicare payments also help todayís retirees. To learn more, visit www.socialsecurity.gov.



I got an email that says itís from Social Security, but Iím not so sure. They want me to reply with my Social Security number, date of birth, and motherís maiden name for ďverification.Ē Did it really come from Social Security?



No. Social Security will not send you an email asking you to share your personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, or other private information. Beware of such scamsótheyíre after your information so they can use it for their own benefit. When in doubt, or if you have any questions about correspondence you receive from Social Security, contact your local Social Security office or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to see whether we really need any information from you.



Iím creating my budget for next year. How much will my benefit increase at the beginning of the year?



The annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) as determined by the Department of Laborís Bureau of Labor Statistics. For 2020 the Cost of living allowance is 1.6 Percent.






Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12/27/19 00:25:31 -0500.

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