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Social Security questions

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By ALICED MOSES - TURNER
Social Security Assistant District Manager, Gainesville
Question:
Can I get a new Social Security number if someone has stolen my identity?
Answer:
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.
Question:
I'm retiring early, at age 62, and I receive investment income from a rental property I own. Does investment income count as earnings?
Answer:
No. We count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you're self-employed. Non-work income such as annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains, and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. Most pensions will not affect your benefits. However, your benefit may be affected by government pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax. You can retire online at www.socialsecurity.gov. For more information, call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Question:
I was turned down for disability. Do I need a lawyer to appeal?
Answer:
You are fully entitled to hire an attorney if you wish to, but it is not necessary. In fact, you can file a Social Security appeal online without a lawyer. Our online appeal process is convenient and secure. Just go to  www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/appeal. If you prefer, call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to schedule an appointment to visit your local Social Security office to appeal.
Question:
Is it true I can save about $4,000 per year if I qualify for Social Security’s Extra Help with the Medicare prescription drug program?
Answer:
Yes if your income and resources meet the requirements, you can save nearly $4,000 in prescription costs each year. Income limits for 2011 are $16,245 (or $21,855 if you are married and living with your spouse), Resource limits are limited to $12,510 (or $25,010 if you are married and living with your spouse). If your income and/or resources are just a bit higher, you might be eligible for some help with prescription drug costs. To learn more, visit  www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp