Social Security 101

Here you will find a selection of the wide range of resources available online from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that can help answer basic social security-related questions

General Resources

  • Online Social Security Handbook - a basic guide to Social Security programs that is described as "a readable, easy to understand resource for the very complex Social Security programs and services"
  • Update 2013 - brief summary of current information about Social Security taxes and benefits, including tax rates, earnings limits, and Medicare costs.
  • Snapshot  - quick overview of key features of Social Security programs
  • Multilingual Gateway - Social Security information in ASL, Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Farsi, French, Greek, Haitian-Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portugese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese
  • Index of Publications
    • Publications are available in PDF and audio formats, as well as in a variety of languages


Interactive Tools

  • My Social Security OnlineAccount
    • For individuals who receive social security benefits or are enrolled in Medicare, this account can be used to:
      • Get your benefit verification letter;
      • Check your benefit and payment information and your earnings record;
      • Change your address and phone number; and
      • Start or change direct deposit of your benefit payment.
    • For individuals who do not get any benefits, they can review their Social Security Statement once they have set up an online account.  According to the SSA, "the new online Social Security Statement replaces the annual paper statement that was suspended for those between the ages of 25 and 60." 
  • Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool - provides screening for Medicare, Social Security Disability, Social Security Retirement, Social Security Survivors, Special Veterans, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Note that this tool "will list benefits for which you might be eligible and tell you more information about how to qualify and apply" - it is not an application for benefits.



Social Security Cards

o   SS Card application

o   Get or Replace a SS Card - basic information about the process of gathering the necessary information and then filling out and submitting the application.

o   Your Social Security Number and Card booklet



Medicare Resources



Survivor Benefit Resources



Retirement Resources



Disability Resources

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)  (for low-income individuals who are 1) age 65 or older or 2) blind or have a disability).