Popular baby names of 2014 by state

Following up my earlier post about the popular baby names of 2014, the Social Security Administration has provided the most popular 2014 baby names by individual state.  You can look up the top 100 names for your state here.

In addition to each state’s top baby names, Social Security’s website has a list of the 1,000 most popular boys’ and girls’ names for 2014 and offers lists of baby names for each year since 1880.

Different spellings of similar names are not combined. For example, the names Caitlin, Caitlyn, Kaitlin, Kaitlyn, Kaitlynn, Katelyn, and Katelynn are considered separate names and each has its own rank.

The birth of a child is a special time for families. While having fun with the baby names list, Social Security Acting Commissioner Colvin encourages everyone to visit the agency’s website and create a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov.

For estimates and to see your work record, my Social Security is a personalized online account that you can use beginning in your working years and continuing throughout the time your receive Social Security benefits.

Nationally for 2014, the 10 most popular male and female names are:

babynames2014-national

For states in my immediate area, here are the top 10 male and female baby names of 2014. See the complete list of 100 names for each state here.

babynames2014-ND

babynames2014-MN

babynames2014-SD

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Popular Baby Names for 2014 & more

Here is the Social Security press release announcing the most popular baby names of 2014 along with other information.

Noah and Emma Top Social Security’s List of Most Popular Baby Names for 2014

Agency Adds to Its Family with New Blog

 

Emma and Noah are America’s most popular baby names for 2014. Emma returns to the top spot she held in 2008 and hangs out in first place with Noah. There are a few new names in the top 10 this year—James (a former #1 from the ‘40s and ‘50s) on the blue side and Charlotte on the pink side, her first time ever in the top 10. Makes you wonder if the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge got a sneak peak at the list, since naming their baby girl Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte (which lands at #10) Elizabeth (which fell from the top 10 to #14) Diana (#297) of Cambridge. Social Security has a new addition this year too, Social Security Matters, the agency’s newborn interactive blog located at http://blog.socialsecurity.gov.

Here are the top 10 boys and girls names for 2014:

Boys: 1.) Noah Girls: 1.) Emma
2.) Liam 2.) Olivia
3.) Mason 3.) Sophia
4.) Jacob 4.) Isabella
5.) William 5.) Ava
6.) Ethan 6.) Mia
7.) Michael 7.) Emily
8.) Alexander 8.) Abigail
9.) James 9.) Madison
10.) Daniel 10.) Charlotte

For all the top baby names of 2014, go to Social Security’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/babynames/.

Social Security Matters, the agency’s new bundle of joy, launches as we celebrate 80 years of serving the American public, and is an addition to our communications family where people can find information on retirement, disability, Supplemental Security Income, online services, and much more. It also is a place where the public can engage in conversations with the agency about what matters most. The blog encourages discussion and offers important solutions. Much like being a new parent, making benefit decisions can be overwhelming. The blog is the latest in a long line of tools Social Security offers to help educate the public about their benefits and how to access agency services.

The birth of a child is a special time for families. While having fun with the baby names list, Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin encourages everyone to visit the agency’s website and create a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/.

my Social Security is a personalized online account that people can use beginning in their working years and continuing throughout the time they receive Social Security benefits. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries can have instant access to their benefit verification letter, payment history, and complete earnings record by establishing a my Social Security account. Beneficiaries also can change their address, start or change direct deposit information, and print a replacement SSA-1099 online.

Individuals age 18 and older who are not receiving benefits can also sign up for a my Social Security account to get their personalized online Social Security Statement. The online Statement provides workers with secure and convenient access to their Social Security earnings and benefit information, and estimates of future benefits they can use to plan for their retirement.

The agency began compiling the baby name list in 1997, with names dating to back to 1880. At the time of a child’s birth, parents supply the name to the agency when applying for a child’s Social Security card, thus making Social Security America’s source for the most popular baby names.

Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop-culture on naming trends. This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 1,000 are Aranza and Bode.

Aranza jumped an amazing 3,625 spots on the girls’ side to number 607, from number 4,232 in 2013. The Latin soap opera “Por siempre mi amor” was aired on Univision from 2013 to 2015. The show featured a young lead character named Aranza, and obviously had its effect on naming trends last year.

Bode raced ahead 645 spots, from number 1,428 in 2013 to number 783 in 2014. This might have had something to do with the Winter Olympics in early 2014, where Bode Miller continued his outstanding alpine skiing career by collecting his sixth Olympic medal. Not only is he the most successful male American alpine skier of all time, he is considered by many to be an American hero.

The second fastest riser for boys was Axl, a nod to both rock legend Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses and Axl Jack Duhamel, son of Stacy Ann “Fergie” Ferguson and Josh Duhamel. For girls, Montserrat, the lead character in a very popular Latin soap opera, was number two, joined by another Monserrat (spelled just one letter differently) at number three.

Popular baby names by state will be available at www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/babynames/ on May 14.

 

Average Social Security and SSI amounts in February 2015

For February 2015, following are three easily understood tables providing Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) information. These tables are online here.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a separate, low-income program for the aged over 65, disabled or blind children, and disabled or blind adults that is administered by the Social Security Administration. Since SSI is completely different from Social Security, a person meeting the individual rules for each could become eligible for both programs. Income from Social Security reduces SSI amounts.

Learn more about Social Security and SSI at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Table 1 shows the number of people, in thousands, receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) divided by Social Security only, SSI only, and people receiving both.

The “notes” in table 1 explain the difference in total Social Security beneficiaries shown between table 1 and table 2.

2015-02 table 1

Table 2 shows Social Security benefit information for February 2015, separated by number of beneficiaries receiving specific types of benefits and the average dollar amount of those benefits. The number of beneficiaries is again shown in the thousands, with total benefits shown in the millions and average amounts in dollars.

Social Security was never intended to provide full retirement income and this table emphasizes that fact. In February 2015, the average SSA retirement benefit, for the retiree only and excluding any family benefits, was $1,331.44.

2015-02 table 2

Table 3 shows Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit information for February 2015, separated by number of recipients receiving specific types of benefits and the average dollar amount of those benefits.  As above, the number of recipients are shown in the thousands, total benefits shown in the millions and average amounts in dollars.

In February 2015, the average SSI amount was $539.61. The 2015 maximum payable to an eligible individual is $733 per month. This maximum is reduced by other income, including Social Security benefits.

2015-02 table 3

These tables are online here.

Changing a child’s representative payee

Q: My ex-wife receives Social Security disability benefits for herself plus benefits for our daughter, for whom she has custody. Within the next few months, I will have custody and our daughter will live with me full-time.

Will Social Security start sending benefits for her to me or will they continue going to my ex-wife? Will the amount change when she is living with me?

A: A person receiving benefits on behalf of someone else is their representative payee. As a general guideline, the parent with legal custody is the preferred payee compared to a parent without custody but exceptions exist based on individual situations.

Changing the representative payee for your daughter, or anyone, is not automatic. You will need to request a change by completing an application to be the new payee for your daughter. This is not an online application so contact your Social Security office to do this. Expect to prove that you have custody and that your daughter is living with you.

A worker’s, in this case your ex-wife, own Social Security amount is based on his or her earnings history over many years. Benefits to a child or other family member do not change how much the worker receives for himself or herself.

Assuming you become your daughter’s representative payee, with her benefits sent in your care, the individual Social Security benefit of your ex-wife will not change although she would no longer receive the amount for your daughter.

The Social Security benefit amount for a child is based on the earnings record of the worker and will be the same wherever the child is living.

Representative payees are responsible for using Social Security benefits on behalf of the eligible person. As representative payee, you will have to report how funds for your daughter are used. Other responsibilities include reporting if your daughter is no longer living with you. Details are in the Guide for Representative Payees.

Should I file for early retirement to get benefits for my child?

Q: I am near age 62 and have a daughter, age 16. If I start Social Security retirement, can she receive benefits? Is doing this a good idea?

A: If you start Social Security retirement, at age 16 your daughter should be eligible to receive benefits through your record. Information about benefits to children is at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10085.pdf.

Deciding whether starting your retirement benefits at age 62 in order for her to be eligible is completely up to you. Are you ready to retire? Does this fit your overall retirement planning?

On the plus side, payment to a child or any other family member does not reduce your own amount. Your amount, based on earnings history and age when starting benefits, is the same whether or not other family members receive through your record. In this situation, your retirement plus a separate benefit for her would be payable. On the negative, starting your Social Security retirement at age 62 or anytime younger than full retirement age (FRA), for you age 66, gives you a permanently reduced benefit amount.

Estimate your own retirement amounts at the Retirement Planner section (www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/) of the Social Security website. For the following example, assume that your full retirement age amount is $2,000 per month. Starting your benefits when first eligible at 62 reduces this to 75 percent giving you a monthly amount of $1,500. Future cost-of-living increases will increase this but the 25 percent reduction is permanent.

As the only eligible child, your daughter’s benefit amount is one-half of your full retirement amount, not one-half of your actual benefit amount, so she is eligible for $1,000 per month until age 18, perhaps longer if she is still in high school at age 18.

Ideally, you will be enjoying your retirement for many years. Based on your long-term financial plans, is it wise to choose a permanent twenty-five percent reduction in your SSA retirement in order to have your daughter receive benefits for a year or so? If considered as part of your individual retirement financial planning, either starting now or waiting could be good. The choice is yours.

 

Baby names & SSN’s for newborns

A New Year is usually depicted as a baby. That, and local recognition of the first baby of the year, brought me to today’s topic of baby names.

Perhaps you will be helping to name a baby soon, perhaps not. Either way, annually near Mother’s Day, the Social Security Administration provides the most popular baby names of the previous year based on applications for new Social Security number (SSN) cards. The agency began compiling the baby name list in 1997, with names dating to back to 1880. 

Parents usually apply for the child’s SSN at the time of birth, thus making Social Security America’s source for the most popular baby names.   

How popular is your name? Popular baby names for 2013 and other years are on the Social Security website at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/babynames/. There you can learn popular baby names for the nation, by state, and see changes in popularity of a given name over many years. Other information for new parents is there too.

Nationally for 2013, the five most popular male names were Noah, Liam, Jacob, Mason and William. The five most popular female names were Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella and Ava.  

Different spellings of similar names are not combined when compiling the popular name lists. For example, the names Caitlin, Caitlyn, Kaitlin, Kaitlyn, Kaitlynn, Katelyn, and Katelynn are considered separate names and each has its own rank.

New parents are encouraged to request a Social Security number (SSN) for their newborn through the hospital as part of the birth registration process. 

Very popular, this free and voluntary process, called Enumeration at Birth, allows the state agency that issues birth certificates to send the child’s birth registration information directly to the Social Security Administration. Without any additional paperwork, a SSN is issued to the child and the card mailed to the parents.  

If not using Enumeration at Birth, parents must first wait for the newborn’s official birth certificate to be issued before requesting a Social Security number for him or her. Then they must complete a SSN application and show the child’s birth certificate plus their own ID documents to Social Security. It is much easier and faster to do this as part of your child’s birth registration. Learn more at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10023.pdf.

 

Should Mom give me the money?

Q: I am 15 and receive Social Security, which goes to my Mom. Should she should give me the money? 

A: When a person younger than age 18 receives Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the payment is almost always sent to an adult on their behalf rather than directly to the child. This adult is called the representative payee and it is his or her responsibility to direct the management of the funds. 

Representative payees are also appointed for adults who are incapable of managing their benefits. Payees are often family members but can be different people or even an organization. 

In the booklet A Guide for Representative Payees, a new payee is instructed in how funds should be used and how funds not immediately needed should be held for the future. Payees are told about required reports to Social Security about the funds. Representative payee instructions go into detail about how funds are to be used.  

Should your Mom give you the money? Not directly but the funds must be used for you. Just handing the benefit money to you could mean that she was not exercising proper control of the funds in your best interest. 

A key representative payee responsibility is to know beneficiary needs so that the Social Security or SSI funds can be best used for the person’s care and well-being, in particular making sure that day-to-day food and shelter needs are met. Having basic needs of food, shelter and clothing met indicate benefits are used for you even if you do not directly handle the money.  

Social Security benefits for children might continue or end at age 18. If they continue past age 18, the child often starts to receive them directly, without having a representative payee. Consider asking your Mom to share or create a budget with you. This would show you how the funds are used while giving you practice in handling money.

Social Security number as tax ID

Q: When did Social Security numbers start being used for tax ID?

A: President Kennedy signed into law Public Law 87-397 on October 5, 1961. This legislation was designed to cut down on tax cheating by assigning a tax identity number to every taxpayer.

 In 1962, the Internal Revenue Service adopted the Social Security number (SSN) as its official taxpayer identification number. IRS assigns a tax number to people not eligible for a SSN. 

The Tax Reform Act of 1986, signed into law by President Reagan, required that every dependent age 5 or older listed on a tax return had to have his or her own SSN. This new requirement doubled the Social Security number workload the following year. 

Related to this, many children today receive a Social Security number (SSN) as part of their birth registration, a process called Enumeration at Birth. Starting when birth certificate information is provided at the hospital, this voluntary and free process allows the state agency issuing birth certificates to share information about the child with the Social Security Administration. A SSN is then provided to the child and mailed to the parents without any additional paperwork or cost.  

More about Social Security numbers for children is here. General information for obtaining, updating or replacing a SSN card is at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber/. There is no charge for any SSN activity.

 

Average Social Security and SSI amounts in Sept. 2014

For September 2014, last month, following are three easily understood tables providing Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) information. These tables are online here

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a separate, low income program for the aged over 65, disabled or blind children, and disabled or blind adults that is administered by the Social Security Administration. Since SSI is completely different from Social Security, a person meeting the individual rules for each could become eligible for both programs. Income from Social Security reduces SSI amounts.

Learn more about Social Security and SSI at www.socialsecurity.gov. 

Table 1 shows the number of people, in thousands, receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) divided by Social Security only, SSI only, and people receiving both. 

Table 2 shows Social Security benefit information for September 2014, separated by number of beneficiaries receiving specific types of benefits and the average dollar amount of those benefits. The number of beneficiaries is again shown in the thousands, with total benefits shown in the millions and average amounts in dollars.

The “notes” in table 1 explain differences in total Social Security beneficiaries shown between table 1 and table 2.

Social Security was never intended to provide full retirement income and this table emphasizes that fact. In September 2014, the average SSA retirement benefit, for the retiree only and excluding any family benefits, was $1,302.56.

Table 3 shows Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit information for September 2014, separated by number of recipients receiving specific types of benefits and the average dollar amount of those benefits. As above, the number of recipients are shown in the thousands, total benefits shown in the millions and average amounts in dollars.

In September 2014, the average SSI amount was $535.21.

These tables are online here in case you cannot read them clearly.