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Protecting your Social Security number: yes, it's important

There are numerous impairments and disabling conditions that can make someone eligible for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. The program has grown more complex over the years as Congress has refined and expanded the definition of disability.

But as with Social Security itself, the practical administration of the program comes down in simple terms to a single nine-digit number. Your Social Security number (SSN) is the key number for tracking your contributions to the SSDI program from work. And by the same token, the Social Security Administration uses it as part of the process paying disability benefits to people who qualify under the program.

In Southeast Michigan and country, however, identity theft is a major problem. In this post, we will discuss ways to protect your Social Security number.

Let's start with a reminder about the basics. First of all, you should avoid carrying your Social Security card around in a billfold or purse. You probably have it memorized anyway, so there's no good reason to risk losing it by carrying it around.

It is also important to avoid giving the number out over the phone or using it as computer password. Given the key role it has in establishing your identity in so many databases, you want to minimize the chances that someone else will get unauthorized access to it.

But there are also things beyond one's control that can compromise a SSN. In a society where so much information is now in digital form, security breaches in various databases can result in disclosure of your number despite no fault of your own.

There are, however, some things you can do to reduce certain risks. For example, if you are on Facebook, be careful with disclosing your birth date and place of birth. Doing that can help prevent identity thieves from guessing your SSN based on clues from your other information.

Source: MarketWatch, "10 things Social Security won't tell you," Jonnelle Marte, June 28, 2013

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