By Deborah Banikowski
Can you believe it’s been 10 years since we launched My Social Security?
Since then, 67 million people have signed up and benefited firsthand from the many secure and convenient self-service options. And we’ve added and upgraded features that make your life easier when doing business with us online. We take great pride in providing this and all of our services. It’s part of how we help you secure today and tomorrow.
If you still don’t have a personal My Social Security account, you’re missing out. A secure account provides personalized tools for everyone, whether you receive benefits or not. If you don’t currently receive benefits, you can:
• Estimate your future benefits and compare different dates or ages to begin receiving benefits.
• Get instant status of your Social Security application.
• Review your work history.
• Request a replacement Social Security card (in most states).
If you receive benefits, you can use your personal My Social Security account to:
• Get your instant benefit verification or proof of income letter for Social Security, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
• Check your information and benefit amount.
• Start or change your direct deposit.
• Change your address and telephone number.
• Request a replacement Medicare card.
• Get an instant Social Security 1099 form (SSA-1099) or SSA-1042S.
• Report your wages if you work and receive disability benefits and SSI.
Visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount today and join the millions to take advantage of your own personal my Social Security account. Please also encourage your friends and family to sign up for their personal my Social Security account today.
Q: I just started my first job and my paycheck is less than I expected. Why am I paying for retirement benefits when I have a lifetime to live before retirement?
A: Besides being required by law, you are securing your own financial future through the payment of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The taxes you pay now translate to a lifetime of protection, whether you retire or become disabled. And when you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivors benefits based on your work as well. Aside from all the benefits in your own future, your Social Security and Medicare payments also help today’s retirees. To learn more, visit www.ssa.gov.
Q: I have been getting Social Security disability benefits for many years. I’m about to hit my full retirement age. What will happen to my disability benefits?
A: When you reach full retirement age, we will switch you from disability to retirement benefits. But you won’t even notice the change because your benefit amount will stay the same. It’s just that when you reach retirement age, we consider you to be a “retiree” and not a disability beneficiary. To learn more, visit www.ssa.gov.
Q: Where can I find general information about Medicare benefits?
A: Social Security determines whether people are entitled to Medicare benefits, but the program is administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). You can visit CMS’ Medicare website at www.medicare.gov or call them at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Online or by phone, you can find answers to your Medicare questions at CMS.
Q: I understand you must have limited resources to be eligible for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs. What does this mean?
A: Resources include the value of the things you own. Some examples are real estate (other than your primary residence), bank accounts, including checking, savings, and certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, including U. S. Savings Bonds, mutual funds, individual retirement accounts (IRA) and cash you have at home or anywhere else. To learn more about Extra Help, and to apply online, visit www.ssa.gov/prescriptionhelp.
Q: I applied for my child’s Social Security card in the hospital, but have not received it. How long does it take?
A: In most states, it takes an average of three weeks to get the card, but in some states it can take longer. If you have not received your child’s card in a timely manner, please visit your local Social Security office or Card Center. Be sure to take proof of your child’s citizenship, age, and identity as well as proof of your own identity. And remember, we cannot divulge your child’s Social Security number over the phone. Learn more at www.ssa.gov.