By Maria M. Miranda
Every year, June marks the beginning of two busy seasons: summer and “wedding season.” With joyful expectation, many of us have already marked our calendars and started wrapping up our plans for the vacations, ceremonies, and honeymoons. While brides and grooms work out the details, Social Security wants to remind them about one detail that’s extremely important: the “record” Social Security keeps of your life’s earnings.
Weddings often mean a name change is in order, and one task the happy couple should have on that to-do list is to contact Social Security. If you are legally changing your name, you need to apply for a replacement Social Security card reflecting your new name. If you’re working, also tell your employer. That way, Social Security can keep track of your earnings history as you go about living your wonderful new life.
If you have reported income under your former or maiden name, we might not have received an accurate W-2 and your earnings may have been recorded incorrectly. This is easier to fix now — when you first change your name — than years from now when you retire. So, go to our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber, or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to find out what specific documents you need to change your name and to apply for a replacement card.
After the honeymoon comes your career, moving to a new home, and a well-deserved retirement. It happens so fast! We hope somewhere in there, you opened your free my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
With your personal my Social Security account, you can make sure your earnings record is correct and that you have the 40 total work “credits” you need for us to pay you the benefits you’ve earned.
Remember, ensuring your earnings are reported accurately to Social Security is vital to getting every dollar in benefits you deserve. If you need to change your name for any reason, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber and apply for a replacement card right away.
Now, you’re all set. Let the celebrations begin!
Maria M. Miranda is Social Security District Manager in Palm Springs CA