2004-08-20 / Columnists

Social Security And You

Click And Sign For Social Security Benefits
By James Glasser, Manager, Far Rockaway Social Security Center



James Glasser
James Glasser Applying for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits just got easier. You no longer have to physically sign a paper application when you file for benefits—whether you do so over the Internet, over the phone, or even during your visit to a Social Security office.

Instead, you just verify that the information you provide to Social Security is correct and it is entered into the system with an electronic signature. The purpose of the new procedures, which went into effect at Social Security offices across the country on June 21, is to speed the handling of claims and to move government offices away from unnecessarily storing so much paper. Social Security will maintain all of the information it needs to handle your case electronically.

UOnline/U

Before you begin the online application, we will tell you that it will be signed electronically. After you enter the information needed, we will ask you to confirm the truthfulness of the information you provide, under penalty of perjury as with the paper application. You will be able to review and correct your answers before sending them to us, and you can also print out the pages if you wish to do so. When you click on the “sign now” button at the end of the application, you are accepting responsibility for the accuracy of the information you submit to Social Security.

UIn Person/U

For people who apply over the phone or in person, the process is slightly different. If you apply in person, the claims representative will explain your responsibility for providing accurate information for your claim, under penalty of perjury. At the end of the interview, you will receive a printed copy of the information you have given us. You will then be able to review and correct it, if necessary. Our representative will then ask you to confirm the accuracy of that information, and he or she will enter your consent into the computer.

UBy Phone/U

For claims taken over the phone, the process will be the same as an in-person interview, except that we will mail you a copy of your information to review and correct, if necessary.

We will still need to have appropriate proofs to make a decision on your claim, such as proof of age, earnings, marriage, and sufficient medical evidence for disability claims. But we will be able to streamline the claims process and provide better service to you by eliminating the need to sign and return the application form.

Contact your local office, or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.

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