February is National Chocolate Lover’s Month. So please accept as our gift to you this variety sampler of Social Security’s sweetest online services.
Forrest Gump’s momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. “You never know what you’re gonna get.” But when it comes to Social Security, you’ll know exactly what to expect after browsing this assortment of convenient, secure, and free online services.
Take this one: an easy way to find how you can get or replace your Social Security card at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
Next, the one with two pieces in the same wrapper: our Retirement Estimator. You can use it as many times as you’d like, changing variables such as retirement date options and future earnings, to get instant, personalized estimates of your future benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.
The one in the center may be the best one of all: an online application for retirement benefits that you can complete and submit in as little as 15 minutes at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/about.htm.
Check out the one wrapped in gold foil: a convenient way to apply for disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability.
And the one in the corner: an online application for Medicare that lets you complete an application for Medicare benefits in as little as 10 minutes, at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly.
Another sweet option: Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs. You can learn more and apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.
The sampler is still more than half full, but you may as well enjoy one more: my Social Security is an online account that allows you immediate access to your personal Social Security information. During your working years, once you create your online account, you can use my Social Security to view your Social Security Statement to check your earnings record and see estimates of the future retirement, disability, and survivor benefits you and your family may receive. Check it out at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Are you already receiving benefits? You can use your online account to immediately get your proof of benefits letter, change your address or phone number on our records, start or change your direct deposit information, and check your benefit and payment information.
It’s always nice when a box of assorted chocolates includes a diagram. That’s why we invite you to visit our convenient publication library with online booklets and pamphlets on numerous subjects, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Whether you’re enjoying chocolates because it’s Valentine’s Day or Chocolate Lover’s Month, keep in mind the number one reason why Social Security’s online services are even better than a box of chocolates: you’ll always know exactly what you’re gonna get.
(Editor’s note: Brenda Brown is the Social Security public affairs specialist in Fayetteville.)