Navigate / search

Social Security: Your questions answered

This month I wanted to share with you some of the many questions Social Security receives from the general public and my answers.

Question:

I haven’t received my Social Security Statement in the mail the last few years. Will I ever get one again?

Answer:

In September 2014, Social Security resumed mailing Social Security Statements to workers ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 who aren’t receiving Social Security benefits, and who don’t have a my Social Security account. Rather than once every five years, those older than age 60 will receive a Statement every year. Instead of waiting to receive a mailed Statement once every five years, we encourage people to open a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount so they can access their Statement online, anytime.

Question:

I am about to retire, but I still have a young child in my care. Will I receive additional benefits for the child I care for?

Answer:

When you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, your children may also qualify to receive benefits. Your eligible child can be your biological child, an adopted child, or a stepchild. In limited circumstances, you may also get benefits for a dependent grandchild. To receive benefits, your child must be: unmarried; under the age of 18; between 18 and 19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12); or 18 or older and disabled from a condition that started before age 22. You can read more about planning for a disabled child’s care here: www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/yourchildren.htm.

Question:

My spouse and I have been married for more than 30 years and we are about to retire. Will there be any reduction in benefits because we are married?

Answer:

None at all. We calculate lifetime earnings independently to determine each spouse’s Social Security benefit amount, and couples aren’t penalized because they are married. When both spouses meet all other eligibility requirements to receive Social Security retirement benefits, each spouse receives a monthly benefit amount based on his or her own earnings. If one member of the couple earned low wages or failed to earn enough Social Security credits to be insured for retirement benefits, he or she may be eligible to receive benefits as a spouse. Learn more about earning Social Security credits by reading our publication, “How You Earn Credits,” available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Kylle’ McKinney, Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.