Your Social Security Responsibilities

Posted by Elliot Marks

Social Security is a system which makes it possible to track earnings record and then apply benefits based on contribution once that person has retired or become disabled.

All working citizens and residents of the United States must have a Social Security number unless they are legally exempted. That means all legal citizens have responsibilities that pertain to updating their Social Security record if their information or status changes. We have put together the most common reasons you may have to update your Social Security record.

Changing Your Citizenship Status

If you have a change in your citizenship status, you are required to update it with a local Social Security office.

To begin updating your citizenship status, you will need to print out the Form SS-5. If you are a new citizen, you will need to provide your certificate of naturalization, and your most recent immigration documents. If you are also a student, bring proof of your enrollment and scholarship information.

Updating Your Name After Marriage or Divorce

Marriage is often accompanied by a change of last name. You are required to update the Social Security Administration about it. If you do not, your W-2 forms received after your name change may be recorded wrongly. This means you might be contributing to the wrong earnings record, and it will depreciate your retirement benefits.

In order to successfully change your name, you need to provide the proof of your name change in the form of a marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order, or certificate of naturalization that shows your new name.

Updating Your Name After Marriage

If your spouse receives Social Security benefits, you may be entitled to your own benefits as a married couple. Do research in how you and your spouse can benefit from each others earning record.

After you get married, be sure to file your taxes under the name your Social Security record currently has listed. This is an essential part to avoiding an audit or credit freeze. If you misinform the government, they could consider this fraud.

Getting a New Card After Name Change

After you update your name at a local Social Security office, you can ask them to send you a replacement card in the mail right there. This can save you time in the future instead of having to come back, or using the online system.

If you need an ID card with your new name on it for a bank account or other application, you can ask for a temporary print-out that the agent can give you immediately.

If you forget to do this when you originally change your name, you will have to fill out the SS-5 Form again and bring it to a Social Security office. If you have your online account set up, you can expedite this process by ordering a replacement card online.

Update Your Direct Deposit Bank Account

According to the new law passed in 2013, Social Security benefits must be received electronically. When you initially set up your Social Security benefits, they will require you to provide a bank account to write funds into monthly. If you get a new bank account, or lose access to your existing bank account, it is essential to update this information if you want to receive your payments.

Updating Your Direct Deposit Account

The fastest way is to call the Social Security office, and they should be able to handle it for you if you able to prove your identity. If not, you will need to go into a Social Security office with the documents to prove your identity and citizenship. At that point they will take the Direct Deposit form and update your bank account.

You can also do this remotely through an online Social Security account. Updating your direct deposit is fast and easy online, but setting up the account is it’s own step. If you use your Social Security a lot, or rely on payments to survive, consider setting up this tool to ensure you are protected.

Track Social Security Number Online

Keeping track of your Social Security record may help detect and resolve problems in future. If you have an online Social Security account set up, you are able to receive updates about your Social Security over the phone or email.

For people who want to stay aware of potential fraud or credit freezes, this is a great tool to make sure your Social Security data hasn’t been compromised.

You can call a Social Security office and they can let you know the status of your account if you prove your identity. Sometimes, this can take a while if you don’t have the correct information on you. Many times, people will pay fraud experts to help them monitor their credit status.

FAQ

Why Is It Important To Have Social Security?

Social Security ensures you have supplemental cash flow once you are retired, or if you become disabled. Many people use it as a safety net in case something happens to them and they are unable to work.

What Do We Use Social Security For?

We use Social Security to track people’s earning records and capital, and use that to secure cash payments in the future when they need it.

What Is the Purpose of the Social Security System?

The Social Security system works as a financial safety net for people who are unable to create income themselves. Sometimes payments are temporary, but many times people will receive payments until they die, and then those are transferred to their beneficiaries.

Elliot Marks

Elliot Marks

Author & Social Security Advisor

Elliot Marks has spent over 10 years providing clear and concise information to help Americans navigate the complex nuances of social security and many other government services in the United States. Elliot has a passion for helping those in need of these services to be able to find timely access to news and information that is relevant and helpful to their daily lives.