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Social Security Announces New Online Service for Replacement Social Security Cards in Virginia

Available to People through a mySocial Security Account

The Social Security Administration introduced the expansion of online services for residents of Virginiaavailable through its my Social Security portal at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced that residents of Virginia can use the portal for many replacement Social Security number (SSN) card requests. This will allow people to replace their SSN card from the comfort of their home or office, without the need to travel to a Social Security office.

“I’m pleased to offer the residents of Virginia the added convenience of replacing a Social Security card through the my Social Security portal,” Acting Commissioner Berryhill said. “We will continue to work on innovative initiatives to provide people with safe, secure and convenient options for doing business with us online or in person.”

The agency is conducting a gradual roll out of this service; Virginia is one of the states, plus the District of Columbia, where this option is available. Throughout 2017, the agency will continue to expand the service option to other states. This service will mean shorter wait times for the public in the more than 1,200 Social Security offices across the country and allows staff more time to work with customers who have extensive service needs.

U.S. citizens age 18 or older and who are residents of Virginia can request a replacement SSN card online by creating a my Social Security account. In addition, they must have a U.S. domestic mailing address, not require a change to their record (such as a name change), and have a valid driver’s license, or state identification card in some participating states.

mySocial Securityis a secure online hub for doing business with Social Security, and more than 31 million people have created an account. In addition to Virginia residents replacing their SSN card through the portal, current Social Security beneficiaries can manage their account—change an address, adjust direct deposit, obtain a benefit verification letter, or request a replacement SSA-1099. Medicare beneficiaries can request a replacement Medicare card without waiting for a replacement form in the mail. Account holders still in the workforce can verify their earnings history and obtain estimates of future benefits by looking at their Social Security Statement online.

For more information about this new online service, visitwww.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Social security celebrates hispanic heritage month

By Jackie Weisgarber

Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

We know the importance of “familia” in Hispanic culture, and we’re proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) by helping build a secure future for you, your family, and your future family.

You can learn more about how Social Security helps secure today and tomorrow for millions of families by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/people/hispanics/.

Hispanics make up our nation’s largest ethnic minority group with a population of 56.6 million, according to 2015 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Social Security is here to help  maintain and improve our economic well-being for generations to come.

Currently, we do this by providing retirement, disability, and other benefits to 61 million people, including nearly 3.5 million Hispanics, who have contributed to the Social Security system through their payroll taxes. Social Security also provides a safety net to the families of American workers who become unable to work due to grave impairments or have died.

We work hard to provide enhanced customer service and to educate millions of Americans about the importance of our programs and benefits. This allows us to connect with the Hispanic community in meaningful and efficient ways.

 

If Spanish is your primary language, you can visit www.segurosocial.gov, our Spanish-language website. It provides hundreds of pages of important information about how to get a Social Security card, plan for retirement, apply for benefits, and manage your benefits once you’re receiving them. Many of our offices have staff who speak Spanish, or you can call 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and select the option for Spanish.

Nationwide, our public affairs specialists reach out to thousands of Hispanic Americans each year to raise awareness of the benefits they may qualify for and to learn the advantages of setting up a my Social Security account atwww.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

These specialists promote our programs at local events, health fairs, libraries, schools, and community organizations that serve the public, including the Hispanic population. Some of our bilingual staff serve as contributors to Spanish-language television, radio stations, and newspapers. They also visit embassies and consulates in the U.S. representing Latin American countries to educate diplomatic leaders and new immigrants about Social Security programs.

Spanish-speaking individuals wishing to apply for retirement, disability, survivor, and other benefits, as well as Medicare, can now request an appointment online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyforbenefitsfor an in-person interview or telephone claim with a representative. In many cases, you can make an appointment with a bilingual representative.

We’re with you and your family throughout life’s journey. To learn more about Social Security programs, visit www.segurosocial.govor www.socialsecurity.gov

It’s MORE CONVENIENT than Ever to Apply for Social Security Benefits

By Jackie Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

You’ve worked hard your whole life, and receiving your Social Security benefits should be the icing on the cake at your retirement party.We’re working hard to make it as quick and seamless as possible for you to apply for benefits from Social Security.

Simply visit www.socialsecurity.gov/applyforbenefitsto get started.Through our safe and secure website, you can apply for:

o    Retirement benefits;

o    Spousal benefits;

o    Medicare;

o    Disability benefits;

o    Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs; and, in some cases,

o    Supplemental Security Income.

You don’t have to be internet savvy to finish most of our online applications in one sitting with your computer. Or, if you prefer, we offer you the options to apply in person at your Social Security office or by telephone with one of our application representatives. Please call 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays to schedule an appointment.

You should also call us to schedule an appointment if you wish to apply for certain family benefits, including those for surviving spouses and children, divorced spouses and dependent children, and parents of beneficiaries.

After you’ve applied for benefits — whether online, by phone, or in person — you can securely and quickly check the status of a pending claim through your online my Social Security account. If you haven’t created your account yet, you can do so today by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

You can also use my Social Security to view estimates of how much you would receive in retirement benefits and potential disability benefits and how much your loved ones could receive in family or survivor benefits.

We’re with you throughout life’s journey, from applying for your first job to receiving your first retirement payment. And we’re proud to help ensure a secure future for you and your loved ones.

To learn more about our programs and online services, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

DON’T GET SCHOOLED, GET SMART ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY

By Jackie Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

Your summer job might be ending soon. You might even hold a part time job while you’re in school. You can easily jump to the head of the class and secure your future with a few simple steps. As a young worker, you’re in the best position for planning, investing, and saving for your retirement, growing that nest egg as large as it can be. The sooner you start, the more money you’ll have.

There are two easy ways to get started in preparing for retirement:

Open a free online my Social Security account with Social Security. Having a personal and secure account is easy, but better yet, it empowers you. You can access the services you need in the convenience of your own home or on the go without traveling to a Social Security office. To open or access your account, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Many of our resources are available online and my Social Security is one of the best places to access vital information about your retirement. We are constantly adding new features to make your experience with us faster and more convenient. You can even replace your lost or misplaced Social Security card online in certain areas.

You could also start a myRA account. myRA is designed for people who don’t have a retirement savings plan through their employer, or are limited from other savings options. Check it out at www.myra.gov. If your employer provides a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), learn more about that plan’s potential matching contributions or other benefits. It’s never too early, and the more you save now, the more you’ll have later.

Did you know that a 20-year-old has a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age? Social Security will be there for you if you become disabled and cannot work. Accessing your online account can also help you determine your estimated future disability benefits. To learn more about disability and to apply, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi/apply.html.

The earlier you start preparing for the future, the more comfortable that future will be. Like a good friend, Social Security has your back when it comes to retirement planning or in the unfortunate event of disability. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.  

WHY IT PAYS TO KEEP A CAREFUL EYE ON YOUR EARNINGS RECORD

By Jackie Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

Whether you’re ready to retire, just joining the workforce, or somewhere in between, regularly reviewing your Social Security earnings record could make a big difference when it’s time to collect your retirement benefits.

Just think, in some situations, if an employer did not properly report just one year of your work earnings to us, your future benefit payments from Social Security could be close to $100 per month less than they should be. Over the course of a lifetime, that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in retirement or other benefits to which you are entitled.

Social Security prevents many mistakes from ever appearing on your earnings record. On average, we process about 236 million W-2 wage reports from employers, representing more than $5 trillion in earnings. More than 98 percent of these wages are successfully posted with little problem.

But it’s ultimately the responsibility of your employers — past and present — to provide accurate earnings information to Social Security so you get credit for the contributions you’ve made through payroll taxes. We rely on you to inform us of any errors or omissions. You’re the only person who can look at your lifetime earnings record and verify that it’s complete and correct.

So, what’s the easiest and most efficient way to validate your earnings record?

o    Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to set up or sign in to your own my Social Security account;

o    Under the “My Home” tab, click on “Earnings Record” to view your online Social Security Statement and taxed Social Security earnings;

o    Carefully review each year of listed earnings and use your own records, such as W-2s and tax returns, to confirm them; and

o    Keep in mind that earnings from this year and last year may not be listed yet.

If you notice that you need to correct your earnings record, check out our one-page fact sheet at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10081.pdf.

Sooner is definitely better when it comes to identifying and reporting problems with your earnings record. As time passes, you may no longer have past tax documents and some employers may no longer be in business or able to provide past payroll information.

If it turns out everything in your earnings record is correct, you can use the information and our online calculators at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.html to plan for your retirement and prepare for the unexpected, such as becoming disabled or leaving behind survivors. We use your top 35 years of earnings when we calculate your benefit amounts. You can learn more about how your benefit amount is calculated at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10070.pdf.

We’re with you throughout life’s journey, from starting your first job to receiving your well-earned first retirement payment.  Learn more about the services we provide online at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.

Social Security AND MEDICARE aRE Lasting Sources of Independence

By Jackie Weisgarber. Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

In July, communities everywhere celebrate our nation’s independence with fireworks, family, and friends. A strong community also creates independence as we help each other recognize our full potential.

Social Security has been helping people maintain a higher quality of life and a level of independence for over 80 years. And Medicare has been doing the same for over five decades. Most people first become eligible for Medicare at age 65. For many older Americans, this is their primary health insurance and without it, they might not enjoy an independent lifestyle.

Medicare can be a little confusing to newcomers so we’ve broken it down into segments. The four parts of Medicare are as easy as A, B, C, and D.

  • Part A(Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and home health care. Most people get Medicare Part A premium-free since it is earned by working and paying Social Security taxes.
  • Part B(Medical Insurance) helps cover services from doctors and other outpatient health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services. Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B. Some high-income individuals pay more than the standard premium. If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period and then decide to do so later, your coverage may be delayed and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium for as long as you have Part B.
  • Part C(Medicare Advantage) allows you to choose to receive all of your health care services through a provider organization. This plan includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B, usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage, and may include extra benefits and services at an extra cost. You must have Part A and Part B to enroll in Part C. Monthly premiums vary depending on the state where you live, private insurer, and whether you select a health maintenance organization or a preferred provider organization.
  • Part D(Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Many people pay a premium for Part D. However, people with low income and resources may qualify for Extra Help to pay the premium and deductible. If you don’t enroll in a Medicare drug plan when you’re first eligible, you may pay a late enrollment penalty if you join a plan later. You will have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage. To see if you qualify for extra help visit www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.

Will you be age 65 soon? Even if you decide not to retire, you should apply for Medicare. You can apply in less than 10 minutes using our online Medicare application. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareto learn more about applying for Medicare. 

What Can You Teach Your Grandchild About Social Security?

By Inez N. Loyd, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Norfolk, VA

Grandparent talking to grandchild.

One of the greatest gifts you can give a grandchild is the gift of financial literacy. Helping them save money early in life and showing them how to make wise spending decisions goes a long way toward a bright financial future. As they get older, they may want to save for special purchases or their college education. You can encourage them when they get their first job to begin saving for the future, including their retirement.

Planning for the Future with my Social Security

When you celebrate their graduation from high school, you can also remind them to set up a my Social Security account. They need to be age 18 or older, have a U. S. mailing address and a valid email address, and have a Social Security number. And while their retirement is many years away, you can explain the importance of reviewing their earnings record each year since Social Security uses the record of earnings to compute their future benefits. As they start their first major job and begin saving, they’ll be able to monitor the growth of the estimates of benefits available to them. You can access my Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Saving For Retirement with myRA

The U. S. Treasury recently introduced a retirement savings account for a simple, safe, and affordable way to save for retirement. It’s perfect for people whose employer doesn’t offer a savings plan. There are no costs or fees to open and maintain a myRA account. The account won’t lose money and is backed by the U. S. Treasury. The individual chooses the amount to save. The account is portable and moves with them from job to job. The account owner can withdraw the money they put in without tax or penalty. You can learn more about myRA at www.myra.gov.

Share How Social Security Works

You can share your knowledge about Social Security with your young savers by explaining how the program works and how it has worked for you. About 96 percent of all Americans are covered by Social Security. Social Security is financed through workers’ contributions , which are matched by their employers. We use the contributions to pay current benefits. Any unused money goes into a trust fund. Nearly all working people pay Social Security taxes and about 61 million people receive monthly Social Security benefits. About 42 million of those beneficiaries are retirees and their families. Encourage them to watch our Social Security 101 video at www.socialsecurity.gov/multimedia/webinars/social_security_101.html.

Share Your Retirement Stories

Social Security replaces about 40 percent of an average worker’s income, but financial planners suggest that most retirees need about 70 percent to live comfortably in retirement. Americans need more than Social Security to achieve that comfortable retirement. They need private pensions, savings, and investments. That means starting to save early and monitoring your Social Security record for accuracy. You can share lessons from your own life about saving and planning for retirement. Remember, the best place anyone of any age can visit for quick, easy information about Social Security is www.socialsecurity.gov.

Your personal stories about how you prepared for retirement and what role Social Security plays can help them see what is needed for a secure financial future. Give them the gift of financial literacy today.

Social Security Helps Small Business

By Inez N. Loyd
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Norfolk, VA

Two business owners smiling and looking at a laptop computer.

Social Security is one of the cornerstones of financial security for the nation. So are small businesses. Millions of Americans own and operate small businesses, making the “mom and pop” shop — from retailers to restaurants — one of the nation’s most valuable resources. National Small Business Week started on April 30, making this a perfect time to tell you more about how Social Security helps this not-so-small industry.

Small businesses can take advantage of our Business Services Online suite of services. These services allow organizations, businesses, individuals, employers, attorneys, non-attorneys representing Social Security claimants, and third-parties to exchange information with Social Security securely over the internet. For small business owners, we’ve made it especially easy to file W-2s online to help ensure the privacy of their employees’ personal information.  You can register and create your own password to access Business Services Online at www.socialsecurity.gov/bso

Social Security’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) was established in October 1979 pursuant to Public Law 95-507. The law assigned the office the task of fostering the use of small and disadvantaged businesses as federal contractors. To accomplish this, the OSDBU develops and implements appropriate outreach programs aimed at heightening the awareness of the small business community to the contracting opportunities available within Social Security.

Outreach efforts include activities such as sponsoring small business fairs and procurement conferences, as well as participating in trade group seminars, conventions, and other forums that promote the utilization of small and disadvantaged businesses as contractors.

The OSDBU encourages buyers and program officials to consider small businesses, and to support all the socio-economic contracting programs in place under the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

You can learn more about the OSDBU at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/osdbu.

Business is booming in America, and you might be a part of the job-creating machine that we call small businesses. You’re strengthening everybody’s future, for today and tomorrow.

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