By Vonda Van Til,
Social Security Public
The past two years have been difficult for everyone, including educators and students. Our nation’s teachers have adapted and provided for their students in so many ways. This year, we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week from May 2 through May 6, and honor all educators who prepare our children for the future.
We know that well-informed instructors can have a powerful and positive influence on their students. That’s why we created an Educator Toolkit. It’s a shareable online resource for teachers to engage students and educate them on Social Security. The toolkit includes:
- Lesson plans with objectives.
- Infographics and handouts for each lesson plan.
- Links to Social Security webpages.
- Talking points.
- Quiz questions and answers.
You can access the toolkit at www.ssa.gov/thirdparty/ed ucators.html.
We value and welcome the efforts all teachers make to educate America’s young people. We want to help spark discussion with students about Social Security. Please share the toolkit with the educators in your communities today!
I am receiving Social Security retirement benefits and I recently went back to work. Do I have to pay Social Security (FICA) taxes on my income?
Yes. By law, your employer must withhold FICA taxes from your paycheck. Although you are retired, you do receive credit for those new earnings. Each year Social Security automatically credits the new earnings and, if your new earnings are higher than in any earlier year used to calculate your current benefit, your monthly benefit could increase. For more information, visit www.ssa.gov or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1- 800-325-0778).
Do Members of Congress have to pay into Social Security?
Yes, they do. Members of Congress, the President and Vice President, federal judges, and most political appointees, have paid taxes into the Social Security program since January 1984. They pay into the system just like everyone else, no matter how long they have been in office.
I worked for the last 10 years and I now have my 40 credits. Does this mean that I get the maximum Social Security retirement benefit?
Probably not. The 40 credits are the minimum number you need to qualify for retirement benefits. However, we do not base your benefit amount on those credits; it’s based on your earnings over a lifetime of work. To learn more about how you earn Social Security credits and how they work, read or listen to our publication How You Earn Credits, available at www.ssa.gov/pubs.
Are Social Security numbers reassigned after a person dies?
No. We do not reassign Social Security numbers. In all, we have assigned more than 500 million Social Security numbers. Each year we assign about 5.5 million new numbers. There are over one billion combinations of the nine-digit Social Security number. As a result, the current system has enough new numbers to last for several more generations.
Is it illegal to laminate your Social Security card?
No, it is not illegal, but we discourage it. It’s best not to laminate your card. Laminated cards make it difficult — sometimes even impossible — to detect important security features and an employer may refuse to accept them. The Social Security Act requires the Commissioner of Social Security to issue cards that cannot be counterfeited. We incorporate many features that protect the card’s integrity. They include highly specialized paper and printing techniques, some of which are invisible to the naked eye. Keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you.
My spouse died recently and my neighbor said my children and I might be eligible for survivors benefits. Don’t I have to be retirement age to receive benefits?
No. As a survivor, you can receive benefits at any age if you are caring for a child who is receiving Social Security benefits and who is under age 16.
Your children are eligible for survivors benefits through Social Security up to age 19 if they are unmarried and attending elementary or secondary school full time.
Keep in mind that you are still subject to the annual earnings limit if you are working. If you are not caring for minor children, you would need to wait until age 60 (age 50 if disabled) to collect survivors benefits.
For more information about survivors benefits, read our publication Survivors Benefits at www.ssa.gov/pubs.