Have you heard? Social Security has a new online retirement application and a celebrity spokesperson to help spread the word. Launched in January, Social Security's online retirement application and Retire Online campaign is to let Americans know it is easy to retire online at (www.socialsecurity.gov). Award-winning actress Patty Duke has volunteered her services, featuring cousins Patty and Cathy Lane from the 1960s sitcom "The Patty Duke Show," to let people know they can retire online.
"Like millions of other baby boomers, I like to spend time with my grandchildren, travel or just relax with a good book. And I love the convenience of doing things online," Duke said. "Social Security has made applying for retirement benefits online easier than ever before. So when you decide to retire, apply online for Social Security benefits at (www.socialsecurity.gov). It's so easy!"
The secure application has been designed for easy understanding and completion. To use it, go to (www.socialsecurity.gov) and click on "Applying Online for Retirement Benefits." Need to stop before you finish? You do not have to complete the application in one sitting. You can stop and restart without losing any of the information entered.
Have a question? Use the "more info" links. If needed, you can skip a question and return to it later. When finished, just click the "Sign Now" button to submit the application. There are no paper forms to sign and often no additional documents are required. A SSA representative will contact you if more information is needed. Apply online when convenient for you. There is no need to contact your local SSA office or wait for an appointment.
Watch a demonstration of the online application at (www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/about.htm). From there you can also use the online SSA Retirement Estimator. The Estimator securely accesses your actual SSA record for immediate and personalized estimates of your future retirement benefits. Here you can also watch the Patty Duke videos about SSA online filing.
Baby boomers become eligible for retirement at a rate of 10,000 a day for the next 20 years. Adding to other Social Security service methods, the online retirement application, Retirement Estimator and other SSA Internet options at (www.socialsecurity.gov) will provide service to them and future generations.
Social Security Economic stimulus one-time payment
President Barack Obama recently signed the American Recovery and Rein-vestment Act of 2009. This act provides for the one-time pament of $250 to individuals who get Supplemental Social Security Income or Social Security benefits.
Everyone who is entitled to a payment should receive it by May. No action is required on your part.
You can contact the Social Security Administration in several ways. Visit the SSA Web site at (www.socialsecurity.gov) for information, retirement planning tools and the online retirement application. There you can also request services including verification of your existing benefit amount at "What you can do online." Call the SSA national toll-free number 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for information about your benefits or to make an appointment. To reach the Minot office directly, call 701-852-0604 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Howard I. Kossover is a public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration.