News From Our Blog

Why are U.S. coins not numeric? How would you expect visitors know what a “dime” stands for as an example?!

Asked by Beth on Facebook.

Reverse side of a dime

U.S. coins list the amount on the reverse side of the coin. For example, a penny says “one cent” on the back and a nickel says “five cents.” But why does the dime says “one dime” instead of “ten cents”?

According to the U.S. Mint, the inscription “one dime” first appeared on the coin in 1837. The word dime is based on the Latin word “decimus,” meaning “one tenth.” The French used the word “disme” (pronounced the same as it is today) when they came up with the idea of money divided into ten parts in the 1500s.

Before the introduction of the nickel (5-cent coin), the U.S. actually had a half dime coin, with the words “half dime” inscribed on it. We checked with the U.S. Mint and they think that the use of “one dime” could have simply been a common inscription between the two coins.

Designs chosen for U.S. circulating coins are generally mandated by Congress and the law specifies that certain words and images must appear. Learn more about what’s required and the process for changing the design of a coin.

Why does the government have a tumblr?

Asked by an anonymous Tumblr user. uses social media channels, like Tumblr, because we want to provide trustworthy, timely, useful, relevant and interesting government information in places where you can easily share it with your friends, family and colleagues.

You can connect with us on a number of social media channels, including

A number of other government agencies are also using Tumblr. You can verify that a social media account is actually from the government using the Social Media Registry.

can you guys make a $1000 Bill or nah?

Asked by @AvatarSage on Twitter.

The 1918 Blue Seal $1,000 bill$1,000 bills exist! Until 1949, the U.S. government printed $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 bills.

In 1969, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System announced these large denomination bills would be discontinued due to lack of use.

$500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 bills are legal tender and may be found in circulation according to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Most are probably in the hands of private dealers and collectors.

The largest bill ever printed was the $100,000 Gold Certificate in 1934 and 1935, but it was not circulated. It was only used for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks.

View photos of the large denominations, including the $100,000 Gold Certificate.

What are all of the questions asked when you apply for SOCIAL SECURITY RETIREMENT ?

Asked by an anonymous Tumblr user.

The Social Security Administration lists all of the information and documents you need to apply for retirement benefits on their website.

You can apply for retirement benefits or Medicare online or by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can also visit your local Social Security office. Call ahead to make an appointment.

If you do not live in the U.S. or one of its territories, you can also contact your nearest U.S. Social Security office, U.S. Embassy or consulate.

My ex-husband was a world war 2 veteran. He died in 2002, Am I entitled to any military benefits? We were married for 30 years and neither of us remarried.

Asked by an anonymous Tumblr user.

We’re sorry for your loss and extend our sincere thanks for your ex-husband’s service.

The Veterans Benefits Administration at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) handles benefits for spouses, children, and parents of servicemembers and veterans who are deceased or disabled by a service-connected disability.

You may be eligible for the following benefits:

Learn more about these benefits and other services for dependents or survivors.

If you have questions about VA benefits for dependents and survivors, call 1-800-827-1000 or send them an e-mail.