Report a lost card, how the benefits are calculated


RESPONNSE: You don’t have to report a lost social security card. Indeed, declaring a lost or stolen card to Social Security will not prevent the misuse of your Social Security number. You must let us know if someone is using your number for work, call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

If you suspect someone is using your Social Security number, there are several other things you need to do:

• Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at or dial 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).

• File a complaint online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at

• Contact the Specialized Identity Protection Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by calling 1-800-908-4490, Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

• Monitor your credit report.

Question: When a person who has worked and paid social security contributions dies, are the benefits payable on that person’s file?

A: Social Security survivors’ benefits can be paid to:

• Widow or widower – benefits not reduced at full retirement age, or reduced benefits from age 60.

• A disabled widow or widower – from the age of 50.

• Widow or widower at any age if he is caring for the child of the deceased under 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits.

• Unmarried children under 18 or up to 19 if they are in high school full time. In certain circumstances, benefits may be paid to stepchildren, grandchildren or adopted children.

• Children of any age who were disabled before the age of 22 and who remain disabled.

• Dependent parents aged 62 or over.

Even if you are divorced, you may still be entitled to survivor benefits. For more information, visit

Question: How are my retirement benefits calculated?

A: Your social security benefits are based on the average income over your lifetime. Your actual earnings are first adjusted or “indexed” to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Next, we calculate your average monthly indexed earnings over the 35 years you’ve earned the most. We apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit. This is the amount you will receive when you reach full retirement age. You may be able to estimate your profit using our Retirement estimator, which offers estimates based on your Social Security income. You can find the Retirement estimator at

Question: I have decided that I want to retire. Now what do I do?

A: The fastest and easiest way to apply for retirement benefits is to go to Use our online form to apply for a Social Security retirement or spousal pension. To do this, you must:

• Be at least 61 years and 9 months old.

• You want to start your benefits within the next four months.

• Live in the United States or one of its republics or territories.

Question: I worked the first half of the year, but plan to retire this month. Will Social Security count how much I earn this year when I retire?

A: Yes. If you retire mid-year, we count your earnings for the entire year. We have an special rule “income test” we apply to annual earnings, usually in the first year of retirement. Under this rule, you receive full payment for any full month that we consider you to be retired, regardless of your annual income. We consider you to have retired in any month when your income is below the monthly income limit, or if you have not rendered substantial service as a self-employed person. We do not take into account income earned from the month you reach full retirement age. Learn more about the income test rule at

Question: I don’t know when I’m going to retire, so I want to estimate my retirement benefit at several different ages. What’s the easiest way to do it?

A Using our Retirement estimator is easy to, and it’s the best way for you to get a good idea of ​​your monthly benefit amount after you retire. the estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security income record. Keep in mind that these are estimates and we cannot provide the actual amount of your benefits until you submit a claim. You can use the estimator if you have enough work to qualify for benefits and are not currently receiving any. If you are currently only receiving Medicare benefits, you can still get an estimate. You can learn more about this topic by reading our publication, Retirement Information for Medicare Beneficiaries, available at


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