Social security is a federal program that provides US citizens and residents with a source of income. The social security card is a critical piece of identification that is imperative for getting a job or collecting government benefits. Every Social Security Number is a unique nine-digit number that the Social Security Administration issues. The easiest way to get one is by gathering the original documents necessary for the child, US citizen or non-citizen and applying with the Social Security Administration online. The federal government uses the unique 9-digit number to keep track of a person’s work life and earnings.
Why do you need a social security number?
When a person retires or requires Social Security disability income, the government determines the eligibility of the applicant by pulling all information about his or her contributions to social security over the years. A person’s social security benefits depend upon his or her contributions directly. While most individuals have only one social security number they use throughout their lifetime, some have to apply for replacement numbers due to name changes, loss or theft of the card or identity theft. If you want a new social security number, you should check out authorized social security card services only.
You should always prevent others from accessing your social security details. Your employer will ask for your social security number any time you are ready to join a new job. The accounting department of your new employer will use your social security details to report your earnings directly to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They are also likely to use the same to update your Social Security wages to the Social Security Administration. State (income) tax reporting, and E-Verify, both require social security numbers. Many employers use E-Verify to check if their new employees are eligible to work at their organization.
Why will you need your SSN in the future too?
Apart from these, social security cards have indispensable roles in banking and finances. Here are some other situations that demand the presence of the unique 9-digit code –
- While opening a new account with the US financial institutions
Since 1970, all banks require their customer’s Social Security Numbers to begin new term deposits or savings accounts. All national financial institutions need a person’s social security details to verify their investments, incomes, losses, expenses and tax-deductible mortgage to the IRS. Sometimes, financial institutions also accept applications for new account holders that contain the taxpayer identification number or employer identification number (EIN). You can obtain the EIN through the IRS.
- Obtaining a federal loan
Federal loans are easy to manage since they have low-interest rates and flat monthly installment options. However, the government requires the applicant’s SSN to verify the eligibility of the candidate for a government loan. The same is true for federal student loans. Additionally, an SSN provides the authorities with other information that include details of defaulting on other investments, valid citizenship or visitor status in the US, and Selective Service status.
- Access to public assistance
The US government offers an incredible number of public assistance programs. These include social security disability incomeand unemployment benefits. The federal government or the state government agencies are usually responsible for managing the public assistance programs. They use the SSN of the citizens to identify the recipients of these benefits. It helps them find out if all the recipients qualify for financial assistance.
- Application for passports
To get a US passport, one has to have an SSN for completing the application procedure. The federal law mandates the submission of an SSN for a US passport. If you do not have a social security card, you should expect delays in the processing of your application. At the same time, if you have an SSN, but you fail to furnish it at the time of application, you may attract a fine of $500.
- Filing tax returns
The IRS uses the social security number to compare your income report to the tax return you file every year. They can match the income your employer, and banks report paying to your accounts. In case you want to claim your child as a dependent while filing your tax return, you should provide your child’s SSN as well. The easiest way to obtain the SSN for a child is to get one at the hospital right after their birth. You can apply for one when you give information for his or her birth certificate.
- Enrolling in Medicare
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services work in coordination with the Social Security Administration to enroll new applicants in the Medicare program.
How can someone receive their Social Security Benefits overseas?
Most US citizens can travel to foreign countries or reside overseas and still receive their social security benefits. You can check the payment verification tool of the SSA to find out if you are eligible to receive social security benefits in your current country of residence. The work credits you acquire during your stay in another country can contribute towards your total work credits necessary for retirement benefits. The SSA works with 24 nations currently to help US citizens receive the retirement benefits they deserve.
Why must you keep your social security details safe and sound?
Today, the federal government uses the social security number to track a person’s lifetime’s earnings and taxes in calculating his or her social security benefits. Even filling out a new-patient form at the doctor’s office requires a social security number. However, keep your social security card carefully at all times. You should never carry it around unless you have a particular need for it. Keep it at home with other essential documents. You can get only three replacement SSNs in one year and ten in your lifetime. Identity thefts have become increasingly common in the US, and the miscreants can leverage your SSN to retrieve loan information, credit history, bank details, credit and debit card details and much more. In short, it is possible for a cybercriminal or troublemaker to hijack your entire life’s savings by using your Social Security details.