Social Security Q&A

Q:  I’m reaching my full retirement age and thinking about retiring early next year. When is the best time of year to apply for Social Security benefits?

A:  You can apply as early as four months before when you want your monthly benefits to begin. To apply, just go to www.socialsecurity.gov/applytoretire. Applying online for retirement benefits from the convenience of your home or office is secure and can take as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy!

Q:  I went back to work after retiring, but now the company I work for is downsizing. I’ll be receiving unemployment benefits in a few weeks. Will this affect my retirement benefits?

A:  When it comes to retirement benefits, Social Security does not count unemployment as earnings, so your retirement benefits will not be affected. However, any income you receive from Social Security may reduce your unemployment benefits. Contact your state unemployment office for information on how your state applies the reduction to your unemployment compensation.

Q:  I prefer reading by audio book. Does Social Security have audio publications?

A:  Yes, we do. You can find them at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Some of the publications available include What You Can Do Online, How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies, Apply Online for Social Security Benefits, and Your Social Security Card and Number. You can listen now at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Q:  Can I refuse to give my Social Security number to a private business?

A:  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.

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