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SOCIAL SECURITY Q AND A: Getting married soon? Contact Social Security

Q. I'm getting married this summer. Do I need to contact Social Security? A. If changing your current name for a new married name, including hyphenated names such as Smith-Jones, contact your Social Security office. But, if you continue to use yo...

Q. I'm getting married this summer. Do I need to contact Social Security?

A. If changing your current name for a new married name, including hyphenated names such as Smith-Jones, contact your Social Security office. But, if you continue to use your current name at work, you do not need to contact Social Security unless receiving SSA or SSI benefits.

Keeping your name accurate helps SSA maintain your earnings and will ensure that you and your family get the retirement, disability or survivors benefits you're entitled to.

Also, if IRS and SSA records do not show the same name and Social Security number, your federal income tax refund could be delayed. Changing your name with Social Security is easy and free. Documents needed are posted at www.socialsecurity.gov/

ssnumber, along with a downloadable application to either bring or mail to your local Social Security office. Information usually needed is the completed application and either your marriage certificate showing your old and new names or two documents, one showing each name. If born outside the United States, you also need proof of U.S. citizenship or proof that you are lawfully living in the U.S.

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Correction

Thanks to the observant reader who pointed out an error of mine. In last week's article about SSA and Medicare payroll taxes, I incorrectly used the 2008 earnings limit for Social Security payroll taxes instead of 2009. Employers must withhold from your paycheck Social Security taxes of 6.2 percent plus a Medicare tax of 1.45 percent of gross pay. These taxes are matched by your employer. In 2009, the SSA portion is on earnings up to $106,800. Medicare tax is for all earnings. If self-employed you pay both the employee and employer amounts. More information is online at www.socialsecurity.gov .

General information questions can be sent to Howard I. Kossover, SSA, 402 DeMers Ave, Suite 300,Grand Forks ND 58201; phone (701) 772-5518 ext. 200; fax: (701) 772-8622; e-mail: howard.kossover@ssa.gov .

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