2006-10-13 / Columnists

Social Security And You

Apply Now If You Are Planning a January, 2007 Retirement
By James Glasser, Manager, Far Rockaway Social Security Center

James GlasserJames Glasser If you are planning an early 2007 retirement, now is the time to contact Social Security. Here's why: we generally encourage people to notify us about three months before the month in which they plan to retire. If you are planning to retire in 2007 and you want your monthly payments to start in January, you can do it now - in October - and get the process completed before the start of the busy holiday season. Your monthly payments will then begin on time in 2007.

And, if you are Internet savvy, Social Security makes the process even easier and more convenient through options available at our website - www.socialsecurity.gov/ applytoretire . Here you are able to apply online for your retirement (or your spouse's) benefits from the comfort of your own home (or office).

Before you begin the online application, we will tell you that it will be signed electronically. When you click on the "sign now" button at the end of the application, you are signing the application electronically and accepting responsibility for the accuracy of the information you submit to Social Security.

Of course, 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.

If you do not have access to the Internet and are ready to apply for retirement benefits, you can visit your local office or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

So remember: if you are planning an early 2007 retirement, now is the time to contact Social Security. Don't let yourself be concerned by the prospects of traffic, poor weather or waiting rooms. Simply apply now through Social Security's Internet website at www.socialsecurity. gov and mark one more "to do" item off of your busy fall schedule.

Also, if you are not quite ready to retire but are thinking about doing so in the near future, you may want to visit Social Security's website to use our convenient and informative retirement planner at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/.

Here you can find out just how close you are to meeting your financial goals and then "bookmark" the website to actually file for retirement whenever you are ready.

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