While your Social Security Number (SSN) is a nine-digit number assigned to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and certain temporary residents by the U.S. government, you can also use SSN to get money. The primary purpose of an SSN is to track individuals for taxation and Social Security benefits. However, it has evolved into a crucial identification tool used in various financial transactions.
In this article, we will discuss various ways to use your SSN to improve your financial situation legally.
How to use SSN to get money
The average person thinks you can’t get money off your SSN. Well, indirectly, you can. It just does not work like the traditional credit or debit card. Below is how to use SSN to get money:
1. Your Social Security benefits
The most direct way to receive money by using your SSN is to claim Social Security benefits. Depending on your age, work history, and earnings, you might qualify for retirement, disability, or survivor benefits.
a. Retirement Benefits
You become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits once you have earned at least 40 credits and reached the age of 62. The amount you receive is based on your lifetime earnings and the age at which you decide to start collecting benefits.
To maximize your monthly benefits, it’s crucial to understand the optimal time to claim them. Waiting until your full retirement age (FRA), which varies depending on your birth year, or even delaying your benefits past your FRA up to age 70 can significantly increase your monthly payout.
b. Disability Benefits
If you have a disability that prevents you from working, you might qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The eligibility requirements include a sufficient work history, a qualifying disability, and meeting the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability. The SSDI application process can be lengthy and requires extensive documentation, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the procedure and gather all necessary information before applying.
c. Survivor Benefits
If your spouse, parent, or child who was covered by Social Security passes away, you may be eligible for survivor benefits.
These benefits are based on the deceased person’s earnings and can be claimed by surviving spouses, dependent children, and even dependent parents in some cases. Understanding the eligibility requirements and the application process is crucial to ensure that you receive the benefits you’re entitled to.
2. Open a bank account
One of the primary ways to use your SSN to get money is by opening a bank account.
When you open a bank account, banks require your SSN to verify your identity and run a background check. This is essential for complying with federal regulations and preventing fraud. Once you have a bank account, you can start saving money, earning interest, and managing your finances more effectively.
3. Obtain a credit card
A credit card allows you to borrow money from a financial institution to make purchases, with the agreement that you will pay the borrowed amount back with interest if not paid in full by the due date. Your SSN is required when applying for a credit card because issuers use it to run a credit check and determine your creditworthiness.
By responsibly using a credit card and paying off the balance on time, you can build a positive credit history, which can lead to better financial opportunities in the future. Thanks to SSN.
3. Apply for loans
Whether you need a personal loan, a mortgage, or a car loan, your SSN is an essential part of the application process.
Lenders use your SSN to check your credit history, employment, and income information to determine your eligibility and the terms of the loan. Having a good credit history and a stable income can increase your chances of securing loans with favorable interest rates and repayment terms.
4. Get money from Tax Benefits
Your SSN can also help you secure tax benefits that can put more money in your pocket.
a. Claim tax credits
Tax credits reduce your tax liability and can result in a larger refund or lower taxes owed. Some of the tax credits you may be eligible for include:
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): A refundable credit for low- to moderate-income working individuals and families.
Child Tax Credit: A credit for qualifying children under the age of 17.
Child and Dependent Care Credit: A credit for expenses paid for the care of a qualifying child or dependent to allow you to work or look for work.
American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and Lifetime Learning Credit: Credits for eligible education expenses.
To claim these credits, you’ll need to provide your SSN on your tax return and meet specific eligibility requirements.
b. Deduct Expenses
Certain expenses can be deducted from your taxable income, lowering your tax liability. Some common deductions include:
- Home mortgage interest
- Charitable contributions
- Medical and dental expenses
- State and local taxes
- Student loan interest
5. Build your credit history
Your credit history is a record of your borrowing and repayment activities. Credit bureaus collect this information using your SSN and compile it into a credit report. Use your credit responsibly, such as making timely payments and keeping your credit utilization low, to build a strong credit history.
A good credit history makes it easier to obtain loans, credit cards, and other financial services on favorable terms.
6. Invest in the stock market
Your SSN is required when opening an investment account with a brokerage firm or an online trading platform. This is necessary for tax reporting and compliance purposes. Once you have an investment account, you can buy and sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other financial instruments. Investing wisely can lead to potential gains, helping you grow your wealth over time. Indirectly, you get to use SSN to get money. Also, you could try buying online with your SSN money.
7. Retirement planning
SSN is used to track your Social Security earnings and benefits. When you contribute to Social Security throughout your working years, you can access retirement benefits when you reach the eligible age.
In addition to Social Security benefits, you can also save for retirement using tax-advantaged retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or an IRA. Your SSN is required when opening and managing these accounts for tax reporting purposes.
8. File taxes and claim tax refunds
Each year, U.S. citizens and residents must file their taxes using their SSNs. Your SSN is required to verify your identity, track your income, and calculate your tax liability. If you are eligible for a tax refund, your SSN helps the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) process and issue your refund.
You may also be eligible for tax credits and deductions based on your income, family size, and other factors, which can reduce your tax liability and increase your refund. Filing your taxes accurately and on time can help you avoid penalties and take advantage of potential refunds.
9. Apply for financial aid and scholarships
If you are a student or plan to attend college, your SSN plays a significant role in applying for financial aid and scholarships. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requires your SSN to determine your eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs.
Many private scholarships and grants also require your SSN for verification and tax reporting purposes. Apply for financial aid and scholarships with your SSN to reduce the cost of your education and minimize student loan debt.
10. Apply for government assistance programs
SSN can help you access various government assistance programs designed to provide financial support to eligible individuals and families.
Some of these programs to use SSN to get money include:
a. Unemployment Benefits
If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. These benefits are typically a percentage of your previous earnings and are available for a limited period. To apply, contact your state’s unemployment agency and provide your SSN, employment history, and other relevant information.
b. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, helps low-income individuals and families afford groceries. Eligibility depends on your household size, income, and resources. To apply, contact your state’s SNAP agency and provide your SSN along with other required documentation.
c. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Medicaid and CHIP provide health coverage to low-income individuals, families, and children. Eligibility varies by state but typically depends on your income, household size, and other factors.
To apply, contact your state’s Medicaid agency or visit the Health Insurance Marketplace and provide your SSN and supporting documentation.
11. Rent or buy a home
Your SSN is often required when renting or buying a home. Landlords and property management companies use your SSN to run a credit check and verify your rental history.
A good credit score and a clean rental history can increase your chances of securing a rental property on favorable terms. Similarly, when buying a home, mortgage lenders use your SSN to check your credit history and determine your eligibility for a mortgage loan. A strong credit history and sufficient income can help you obtain a mortgage with competitive interest rates and terms.
12. Apply for insurance
When applying for insurance policies, such as auto, home, or life insurance, your SSN is often required. Insurance companies use your SSN to check your credit history, driving records, and other relevant information to determine your risk profile and premium rates.
Maintain a good credit history and a clean driving record to secure better insurance rates and save money on premiums.
13. Employment opportunities
Many employers require your SSN as part of the hiring process, that way, you get to use SSN to get money. They use it to verify your identity, conduct background checks, and report your income to the IRS. By maintaining a clean background and a good credit history, you can increase your chances of securing employment opportunities and earning a stable income.