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In the U.S., most new parents opt to apply for their child’s Social Security Number and card while still in the hospital after the birth, because the number is required to list the child as a dependent for tax purposes. Citizens of all ages, including foreign-born individuals and noncitizens, can apply for a Social Security card if they do not have one. Anyone who wants to work legally in the United States must obtain a SSN card to have their work count toward future Social Security Administration benefits. Every member of the United States work force needs to have a Social Security Number because their future benefits are determined by the summary of their earnings throughout their career.

Benefits paid through the Social Security Administration cover four basic areas: retirement, disability, survivor and supplemental security. Retirement benefits can be claimed starting at age 62, although 66 is the age to receive full retirement pay. Workers with a Social Security card may apply to receive disability benefits to help with living expenses if they should become too disabled to continue working. Spouses and dependents of retired or disabled workers may also be entitled to SSA benefits. Survivor’s benefits are intended for spouses and dependent children after the death of the family’s primary earner. Supplemental security income benefits are available for certain people over age 65 who have limited income and resources. Medicare is another way Social Security helps elderly beneficiaries. This medical insurance program is only available to qualifying Social Security Number and card holders aged 65 or older. The Social Security Administration offers several online screening tools that can help you determine if you qualify for any benefit programs, and if so, at what age you can access them. All SSN card holders can easily sign up for the My Social Security Account page online to monitor taxes paid toward future benefits, apply for benefits or keep up with current Social Security benefit status. For further details on how to apply for benefits associated with Social Security, click here.

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