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Questions and answers

November 26, 2012
By Ramiro Sifuentes , Marshall Independent

Social Security district manager in Marshall

Question: I applied for a Social Security card for my baby at the hospital, but the card came back with a misspelled name. What should I do?

Answer: Find at least two original documents proving your child's U.S. citizenship and identity, as well as one proof of your identity as the parent. Then go to your local Social Security office or card center to ask for a corrected card. The documents you show us must be either originals. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

Question: What are some of the documents Social Security will accept as proof of identity for a child?

Answer: While you can use a birth certificate to prove age or citizenship, you cannot use it as proof of identity. For identity, we prefer to see the child's U.S. passport. If you don't have a passport, we may accept the child's:

Adoption decree;

Doctor, clinic, or hospital record;

Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);

Daycare center or school record; or

School identification card.

We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child's name and age, date of birth and parents' names). All documents must be either originals.

Question: What is the earliest age that I can apply for my Social Security retirement benefits?

Answer: The earliest age to receive retirement benefits is 62, but you can apply up to three months beforehand. If you retire at age 62 today, your benefit would be about 25 percent lower than what it would be if you waited until you reach full retirement age. Even if you are not ready to retire, you still should sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday. You can do both online.

Question: Can I delay my retirement benefits and receive benefits as a spouse only? How does that work?

Answer: It depends on your age. If you are between full retirement age and age 70 and your spouse is receiving Social Security benefits, you can apply for retirement benefits and request the payments be suspended. Then, you can choose to receive benefits on your spouse's Social Security record. You then will earn delayed retirement credits up to age 70, as long as you do not collect benefits on your own work record. Later, when you do begin receiving benefits on your own record, those payments could very well be higher than they would have been otherwise, because you earned delayed retirement credits.



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