2010-07-16 / Columnists

Social Security And You

Less Time Inside Means More Time Outside
Commentary By John D’Agostino, Manager, Far Rockaway Social Security Office

The sun is out and there are a thousand and one things you could be doing outside.

The last thing you want to do is sit in traffic on your way to the Social Security office, or to wait in line once you get there. From your doorstep to the local office and back again, you could spend a lot of extra time taking care of your Social Security business. Or, you could choose to visit our online office at www.socialsecurity. gov and complete your Social Security business in a matter of minutes with no commute whatsoever.

There are so many things you can do at our online office. For example, you can apply online for retirement benefits. Our website makes it simple, allowing you to apply for retirement benefits in as little as 15 minutes. In most cases, once you fill out the application, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and no documents to submit. The direct link to applying for benefits online is www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.

Not ready to retire yet, or not sure? We have online resources that can help you plan ahead or make your decision. Our Retirement Estimator will allow you to enter different scenarios to come up with the retirement plan best for you. You can find it at www.socialsecurity. gov/estimator.

Perhaps you need to file an application for disability benefits. A Disability Starter Kit explains the documentation and information you’ll be required to provide on the application, and includes checklists and worksheets to help take the mystery out of applying. You can find the Disability Starter Kit at www.socialsecurity. gov/disability on the left-hand side of the page.

You can apply online for Medicare, if you’re within four months of your 65th birthday. Most people, even those who don’t plan to start getting retirement benefits right away, need to apply for Medicare coverage at age 65. The application takes as little as 10 minutes, from start to finish. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10530.html.

There are other things you can do online, such as apply for a replacement Medicare card, and request an SSA- 1099 for tax purposes. You can learn about these and other online services at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.

So if you’d like to soak up some sun this summer, we suggest you take your Social Security business online. You may even be able to take your laptop outside and conduct your business in the great outdoors. See for yourself at www.socialsecurity.gov.

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