Social Security Number (SSN)

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Editorial Team

Updated on March 15, 2023

A social security number is a nine-digit number that was created by the social security act of 1935 and became available by 1936.

Though it is best known for retirement benefits, social security was actually started as a social insurance program to provide monthly income to disabled people who cannot work, their spouses, and children.

It has also expanded to include survivors benefits (for widows/widowers or children of insured social security beneficiaries who die), and social security disability benefits which you can get if you are unable to work because of an injury or illness.

Types of Social Security Benefits

The social security administration has six different types of benefits you can get.

You should know what they are so that you can apply them to your retirement planning process.

They are social security retirement, social security disability, social security survivors, social security spouses, social security parents and social security divorced spouse benefits.

These benefits include monthly payments for social security.

Social Security Retirement Benefits

You may start receiving social security retirement benefits as early as age 62.

A social security retiree will receive retirement benefits from social security after retiring from a job.

It also provides a sense of stability that can help them maintain their quality of life.

The amount of benefits you receive is based on the money you have contributed to social security in your working years.

Social Security Disability Benefits

This is a social security retirement benefit that you receive if you become unable to work because of an injury or illness.

Social security also provides disability benefits to your spouse and children if you have died from the social insurance program, which was started as part of the social security act.

Social Security Survivors Benefits

This retirement benefit is given to the widow/widower or children of a beneficiary who has died.

If you are receiving retirement benefits, social security's social insurance program will provide benefits to your spouse and children if you die or if they lose their retiree status through remarriage.

Social Security Spouse's Benefits

Social security spouse's benefits are retirement benefits that are provided to beneficiaries whose spouses earn social security also.

It is important to note that spouses' benefits are not retirement benefits in their own right. They simply supplement the social security retirees income when they retire.

Social Security Parents Benefits

Social security parents benefits are retirement benefits that are provided to beneficiaries who take care of their children.

Social Security Divorced Spouse Benefits

Finally, social security divorced spouses benefits are retirement benefits that are provided to social insurance disability and survivors program beneficiaries whose divorce occurs after August 12, 1983 and the divorce is finalized by a social security divorce decree.

The Importance of Saving for Retirement

Retirement planning is important because social security currently can't provide enough social insurance programs to support you in retirement.

Social security uses an insurance program, which is only designed to supplement your social security benefits.

If you want more benefits in your golden years, then it is best for you to plan ahead and save enough money before you retire.

How Does This Work?

The program started as social insurance because retirement benefits are based on the insurance contributions you have made.

When you were working, social security was deducted from your check so this will be sent to social security where it is held in a trust fund until you reach retirement age or become disabled.

You can also opt for social security benefits that are computed from your social security contributions over a period of 35 years.

How Can I Use It?

Now that you know social security benefits, it will be easy for you to use the program in your retirement planning process.

First of all, you can apply these benefits as part of an overall retirement strategy because the program has six social insurance programs as mentioned above.

Secondly, the program is a good supplemental plan for pension plans or IRA because this is an entitlement with no age limit.

For example, if you are 55 years old and you start receiving survivors benefits when your spouse dies, social security's social insurance program will provide you with survivors benefits until your death (unless you remarry).

You can also receive retirement benefits even if you are still working because this program is available to every American citizen age sixty-five and over.

The last thing is that the program does not have a social security maximum income limit so even high wage earners can receive a social insurance program.

Tips on How You Can Make the Best of Your Social Security Number in Retirement Planning

One of the best social security benefits that you can use to your advantage is social security married spousal benefits because this will allow you to have two social insurance programs with just one social security number.

This means that SSNs are important for retirement planning.

Also, it is important for you not to lose track of the benefits because the program is automatically included in most retirement plans or annuities so you might think that this is enough social security benefits.

For example, if your spouse dies and you remarried, social security divorced spouses benefits will provide you with survivors benefits as long as the later marriage is not finalized by divorce decree.

Finally, SSNs are important because this will allow you not to lose benefits if your survivors benefits are transferred from the former spouse social security social insurance program to current spouse social insurance social security program.

Making the most out of SSN will be an effective social insurance process because social security provides information and verification services to beneficiaries, employers, and many other people who need such services.

Final Thoughts

As social security benefits are important for retirement planning, social security numbers are also crucial.

So it is important for you to remember that social security numbers are used as social insurance numbers and this will allow you to make the most of the program in your social insurance process.

Social Security Number FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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