Providing Social Security number is a voluntary choice

Bt Jeffrey M. Bettwy

Question: Do I have to give my Social Security

number whenever I’m asked?

Answer: No. Giving your Social Security number is voluntary. If requested, you should ask why the person needs your Social Security number, how it will be used, what law requires you to give your number, and what the consequences are if you refuse.

The answers to these questions can help you decide whether to give your Social Security number.

However, the decision is yours. Keep in mind that requestors might not provide you their services if you refuse to provide your number. For more information, visit

/pubs to read or print “Your Social Security Number And Card.”

Question: Will my retirement benefits increase if I wait and retire after my full retirement age?

Answer: Yes. You can increase a Social Security benefit in two ways:

n You can increase your retirement benefit by a certain percentage if you delay receiving retirement benefits. We will add these increases automatically from the time you reach full retirement age until you start receiving benefits or reach age 70.

n If you work, each additional year you work adds another year of earnings to your Social Security record. Higher lifetime earnings may result in higher benefits when you do retire.

For more information, visit

pubs to read, print, or listen to “When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits.”

Question: I have children at home and I plan to retire soon. Will my children be eligible for monthly Social Security payments after I retire?

Answer: Your children will get Social Security payments if they are:

n Unmarried and younger than age 18 (age 19 if still in high school); or

n Age 18 or older, and became severely disabled before age 22 and continue to be disabled.

This applies to biological and adopted children, as well as dependent stepchildren and, in some cases, dependent grandchildren. For more information, visit social to read “Benefits For Children.”

Question: I’m thinking about getting disability protection from a private company. If I become disabled and have a private policy, would it reduce my Social Security disability benefit?

Answer: No. Having private insurance does not affect your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. But workers’ compensation and certain other public disability payments may affect your Social Security benefit. You can learn more at social Also, read “How Workers’ Compensation And Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits,” available at socialsecurity


Jeffrey M. Bettwy is the Social Security district manager in Altoona