Social Security Questions and Answers
Question: Can I refuse to give my Social Security number to a private business?
Answer: Yes, you can refuse to disclose your Social Security number, and you should be careful about giving out your number. But, be aware, the person requesting your number can refuse services if you don’t give it. Businesses, banks, schools, private agencies, etc., are free to request someone's number and use it for any purpose that doesn’t violate a federal or state law. To learn more about your Social Security number, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
Question: How can I check the status of a pending application for retirement benefits?
Answer: If you applied for retirement or disability benefits online, you can check the status of your application at www.socialsecurity.gov by selecting “Benefits” and “Check Application Status” under “Apply.” You will need to enter your Social Security number and the confirmation code you received when you filed online.
Your application status will show:
The date we received your application;
Any requests for additional documents;
The address of the office processing your application; and
If a decision has been made.
Question: What is the maximum Social Security retirement benefit?
Answer: The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be $2,663. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be only $2,025. If you retire at age 70 in 2015, your maximum monthly benefit would be $3,501. To get a better idea of what your benefit might be, visit our online Retirement Estimator at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire/estimator.html.
Question: How do I appeal a decision on my application for disability benefits?
Answer: When we make a decision on your application, we’ll send you a letter explaining our decision. If you don’t agree with our decision, you can ask us to look at your case again, or appeal it. You must appeal within 60 days from the date you get our decision letter. You can:
File a disability appeal online with our new, improved process and electronically provide documents to support your request, even if you live outside of the United States; or Visit your local Social Security office.
For more information, call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To learn more about Social Security’s disability programs, visit our website at: www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.
Question: How do I know if I meet the eligibility requirements to get Social Security disability benefits?
Answer: To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked long enough in jobs covered by Social Security (usually 10 years). You must also have a medical condition that meets Social Security's strict definition of disability. We consider an adult disabled under our rules if he or she has a medical condition, or combination of medical conditions, that are expected to last for at least one year or result in death, and that prevent the performance of any type of work.
If you think you may be eligible to receive disability benefits and would like to apply, you can use our online application at: