A Social Security office is a physical building housing many offices of employees of the federal government of the United States. Although records are stored electronically, people who do not have access to a computer or who would prefer to have hard copies of necessary documents can go to a Social Security office in their locality. These offices are located in almost every city of every state to allow people direct access to a government representative who can give them assistance with a variety of issues. Generally, the buildings are very large because they must contain a number of employee offices as well as a large reception area where people can wait to be attended.
Some of the reasons for which a person might need to visit a Social Security office include applying for a Social Security card, death benefits, retirement benefits, supplemental income or Medicare. Medicare is a national health care plan offered to persons over the age of 65 who have worked 10 years or 40 quarters in the United States, who have received monetary benefits for a disability or who have end stage renal disease. A Social Security office is where eligibility for benefits such as these are determined. Identity theft in the United States often involves fraudulent use of the Social Security number of another person, whether alive or deceased. Another major reason why someone might visit a Social Security office is to receive assistance with the paperwork that must be filed to rectify the multiple and serious problems that often follow in cases of identity theft.
Almost everyone in the United States has been assigned a Social Security number to identify him or her for the remainder of his or her life. All of a person's earnings as an employee or as a business owner are credited under the unique number that has been assigned to him or her. A person's credit and criminal history also is connected to his or her Social Security number, which also is always used in professionally performed background, credit and military service checks. The networking of computers has made it possible for a Social Security office to access records from other offices, usually government offices, to carry out investigations and verify information on applications and claims.
Employees of other government offices such as those of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Immigration often work closely with employees of a local Social Security office. The Social Security system originally was developed to provide financial assistance and security to the people of the United States. Such people could include retired persons, those who have a low income and people who cannot work because of a disability.