A Valentine’s Day tip from Social Security

Published 4:59 am Friday, February 10, 2012

Special to The Post-Searchlight

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, making this a popular time of year for proclamations of love. Such displays of affection can be as simple and sweet as a heart with a “be mine” message, or as life altering as a vow before the altar.

If you happen to be a newlywed who is head over heels in love, you may not be focused on things such as taxes or Social Security, but you should be. If you plan to exchange your maiden name for a married name — including hyphenated names such as Smith-Jones — be sure you let us know.

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Telling us about your name change shortly after your marriage will help us accurately keep track of your earnings and will ensure that you and your family get the Social Security retirement, disability, and survivors coverage you’re entitled to. Also, if the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security records do not show the same name and Social Security number, your Federal income tax refund could be delayed.

If you continue to use your maiden name consistently throughout your working years, you do not need to contact us. However, if you decide to change your name at a later time, you should let us know so that we can update your Social Security record and send you a Social Security card with your new name.

There’s no need to pay someone else to mail in the information for you. Changing your name with Social Security is a quick, easy, and free service. Just go online to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber, learn what documents you need, and click on “Fill Out and Print an application (Form SS-5).” You also can call us at 1-800-772-1213 to obtain the form. We will need the completed application along with a marriage certificate or divorce decree verifying your old and new names. If you were born outside the United States, you also need proof of your U.S. citizenship or proof that you are lawfully living in the U.S. You can bring or mail these documents to us.

You may be focused on the one you love, and we do not blame you. However, if you like us (we hope you do), please click on the Facebook icon at our homepage and “like” us on Facebook. Also, you can follow us on Twitter too. Look for our Facebook and Twitter icons at www.socialsecurity.gov. We share information daily that can help you and all your Valentines.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Social Security.