Social Security Administration

Important Information About Reaching Social Security During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, VirginiaDuring the current coronavirus pandemic, we continue to provide help to you and other people in your communities.  While our offices are not providing service to walk-in visitors due to COVID-19, we remain ready and able to help you by phone with most Social Security business.  You can speak with a representative by calling your local Social Security office or our National 800 Number.  You can find local office phone numbers online by using our Social Security Office Locator at www.ssa.gov/locator

We offer many secure and convenient online services at www.ssa.gov/onlineservices, where you can:

  • Apply for Retirement, Disability, and Medicare benefits;
  • Check the status of an application or appeal;
  • Request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas);
  • Print a benefit verification letter; and 
  • Much more.

Although you can do most of your business with us online, we know that service channel isn’t right for everyone.  You can still count on us by phone.  If you have a critical situation and we cannot help you with by phone or online, we may be able to schedule an appointment for you.

If you need help, please don’t wait until we can see you in person.  Call us now and get the help you need.  We also understand that getting medical and other documentation can be difficult due to the pandemic, so we are continuing to extend certain deadlines wherever possible.

new feature in my social security puts you in control

 

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

­The future can be uncertain.  However, Social Security’s new Advance Designation program can help put you in control of your benefits if a time comes when you need a representative payee to help manage your money.  Advance Designation enables you to identify up to three people, in priority order, whom you would like to serve as your potential representative payee.

The following people may choose an Advance Designation:

o    Adults applying for benefits who do not have a representative payee.

o    Adult beneficiaries or recipients who do not have a representative payee.

o    Emancipated minors applying for benefits who do not have a representative payee.

o    Emancipated minor beneficiaries or recipients who do not have a representative payee.

If you fall into one of the above categories, you may provide and update Advance Designation information when you:

o     File a claim for benefits online.

o     Use the application available in your personal my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

o     Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

You may also change your Advance Designation(s), including the priority order, at any time while you are still capable of making your own decisions.  In the event that you can no longer make your own decisions, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing you already chose someone you trust to manage your benefits.

 

Social Security Unveils Redesigned Retirement Benefits Portal at socialsecurity.gov

The Social Security Administration announced the first of several steps the agency is taking to improve the public’s experience on its website.  The newly redesigned retirement benefits portal, at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement, will help millions of people prepare for and apply for retirement. 

“We are working hard to continue improving our website to provide people with clear, helpful information and easy access to our online services,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security.  “Our new retirement portal is more user-friendly and easier to navigate, whether someone is ready to learn about, apply for, or manage their retirement benefits.”

The redesigned portal will make it easier for people to find and read about Social Security retirement benefits, with fewer pages and condensed, rewritten, and clearer information.  The portal also is optimized for mobile devices so people can learn and do what they want from wherever they want, and the portal now includes the ability to subscribe to receive retirement information and updates.

Click on www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement to find out how to Learn, Apply, and Manage retirement benefits, and learn how to create a personal my Social Security account online.

More improvements to Social Security’s website are planned for later in 2020 as the agency seeks to continuously improve the public experience at www.socialsecurity.gov

Social Security’s Online Services are READY for Business

During this time when our physical offices are closed to the public, you may wonder, “How can I get help from Social Security without visiting an office?”  You can find the answer at www.ssa.gov/onlineservices, which links you to some of our most popular online services.  You can apply for retirement and disability benefits, appeal a decision, and do much more.

Our newest my Social Security feature, Advance Designation, enables you to identify up to three people, in priority order, who you would like to serve as your potential representative payee in the event you ever need help managing your benefits.  We have updated our Frequently Asked Questions at faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-10039 to answer questions you may have about Advance Designation.

You can also apply for Medicare online in less than 10 minutes with no forms to sign and often no required documentation.  We’ll process your application and contact you if we need more information.

Visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to apply for Medicare and find other important information.  If you’re eligible for Medicare at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after that birthday. 

We’ve organized our Online Services webpage into four popular categories for easy navigation:

o  Review Your Information.  You can access your secure, personal information and earnings history to make sure everything is correct.  You can even print statements with ease.

o  Apply for Benefits.  You can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits without having to visit a field office.

o  Manage Your Account.  You can change your direct deposit information and your address online.

o  Find Help and Answers.  We’ve answered your most frequently asked questions, and provided links to publications and other informational websites.

Let your family and friends know they can do much of their business with us online at www.ssa.gov. 

 

Information Regarding Economic Impact Payments for Social Security and SSI Beneficiaries with Representative Payees, and People Living in U.S. Territories

 

The Social Security Administration issued an update today about COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to certain groups of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries.  Beneficiaries who have their regular monthly payments managed for them by another person, called a representative payee, will begin receiving their EIPs from the IRS in late May.

Special rules apply to beneficiaries living in the U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  In general, the tax authority in each territory, not the IRS, will pay the EIP to eligible residents based on information the IRS will provide to the territories.  It is anticipated that beneficiaries in the territories could begin receiving their EIP in early June.

“The Social Security Administration has been working with the IRS to provide the necessary information about Social Security and SSI beneficiaries in order to automate and expedite their Economic Impact Payments,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security.  “While millions of our beneficiaries have already received their EIPs from the IRS, we continue to work hard for those beneficiaries who are awaiting their payment from the IRS.”

For additional information about payments to beneficiaries with representative payees, please refer to www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/#reppayee.

For the territories, people should contact their local tax authority with questions about these payments.  Please note their website may use the term “Economic Impact Payment” or “stimulus payment.”

The eligibility requirements and other information about the Economic Impact Payments can be found here: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center.  In addition, please continue to visit the IRS at www.irs.gov/coronavirus for the latest information.

Social Security will continue to update the agency’s COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ with additional information.

To get more Social Security news, follow the Press Office on Twitter @SSAPress.

 

Supplemental Security Income Recipients, Act Now – Go to IRS.gov – A Message from Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul

Action Needed for People Receiving SSI with Dependents and Who Do Not File Tax Returns to Receive $500 Per Child Payment

“Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who don’t file tax returns will start receiving their automatic Economic Impact Payments directly from the Treasury Department in early May.  People receiving SSI benefits who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes, and have qualifying children under age 17, however, should not wait for their automatic $1,200 individual payment.  They should immediately go to the IRS’s webpage at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Your Information section to provide their information.  SSI recipients who have dependent children and did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes need to act by Tuesday, May 5, in order to receive additional payments for their eligible children quickly. 

By taking this proactive step to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment.  If people in this group do not provide their information to the IRS soon, their payment at this time will be $1,200 only.  They would then be required to file a tax year 2020 tax return to obtain the additional $500 per eligible child.

I urge SSI recipients with qualifying children and who do not normally file taxes to take action now.  Immediately go to IRS.gov so that you will receive the full amount of the Economic Impact Payments you and your family are eligible for.

Lastly, a word of caution.  Be aware of scams related to the Economic Impact Payments. There is no fee required to receive these payments.  Don’t be fooled.

Visit the agency’s COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ for important information and updates.”

Click here to view the IRS press release about this important issue.

Social Security Combined Trust Funds Projection Remains the Same Says Board of Trustees

Projections in 2020 Report Do Not Reflect the Potential Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds.  The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2035, the same as projected last year, with 79 percent of benefits payable at that time. 

The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as last year’s estimate, with 76 percent of benefits payable at that time.  The DI Trust Fund is estimated to become depleted in 2065, extended 13 years from last year’s estimate of 2052, with 92 percent of benefits still payable.

In the 2020 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:

  • The asset reserves of the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds increased by $2.5 billion in 2019 to a total of $2.897 trillion.
  • The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income, for the first time since 1982, in 2021 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period.  As a result, asset reserves are expected to decline during 2021.  Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
  • The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2035 – the same as last year’s projection.  At that time, there would be sufficient income coming in to pay 79 percent of scheduled benefits.

“The projections in this year’s report do not reflect the potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Social Security program.  Given the uncertainty associated with these impacts, the Trustees believe it is not possible to adjust estimates accurately at this time,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security.  “The duration and severity of the pandemic will affect the estimates presented in this year’s report and the financial status of the program, particularly in the short term.”

Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:

  • Total income, including interest, to the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1.062 trillion in 2019.  ($944.5 billion from net payroll tax contributions, $36.5 billion from taxation of benefits, and $81 billion in interest)
  • Total expenditures from the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1.059 trillion in 2019.
  • Social Security paid benefits of $1.048 trillion in calendar year 2019.  There were about 64 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
  • The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 3.21 percent of taxable payroll – higher than the 2.78 percent projected in last year’s report.
  • During 2019, an estimated 178 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
  • The cost of $6.4 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2019 was a very low 0.6 percent of total expenditures.
  • The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 2.8 percent in 2019.

The Board of Trustees usually comprises six members.  Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security; Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Eugene Scalia, Secretary of Labor.  The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.

View the 2020 Trustees Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2020/.

View an infographic about the program’s long-term financial outlook at www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/social-security-long-term-financial-outlook.html.

Act Now – Go to IRS.gov – A Message from Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul

Action Needed for Social Security Beneficiaries with Dependents and Who Do Not File Tax Returns to Receive $500 Per Child Payment

 “Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who don’t file tax returns will start receiving their automatic Economic Impact Payments directly from the Treasury Department soon.  People receiving benefits who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes, and have qualifying children under age 17, however, should not wait for their automatic $1,200 individual payment.  They should immediately go to the IRS’s webpage at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here section to provide their information.  Social Security retirement, survivors, and disability insurance beneficiaries with dependent children and who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes need to act by Wednesday, April 22, in order to receive additional payments for their eligible children quickly.  SSI recipients need to take this action by later this month; a specific date will be available soon.

By taking this proactive step to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment.  If beneficiaries in this group do not provide their information to the IRS soon, their payment at this time will be $1,200.  People would then be required to file a tax year 2020 tax return to obtain the additional $500 per eligible child.

I urge Social Security and SSI recipients with qualifying children who do not normally file taxes to take action now.  Immediately go to IRS.gov so that you will receive the full amount of the Economic Impact Payments you and your family are eligible for.

People with Direct Express debit cards who enter information at the IRS’s website should complete all of the mandatory questions, but they may leave the bank account information section blank as Treasury already has their Direct Express information on file.

Additionally, any new beneficiaries since January 1, 2020, of either Social Security or SSI benefits, who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, will also need to go to the IRS’s Non-Filers website to enter their information as they will not receive automatic payments from Treasury.”

Social Security Modernizing its Disability Program Decades Old Rule Updated to Reflect Today’s Workforce

Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul announced a new final rule today, modernizing an agency disability rule that was introduced in 1978 and has remained unchanged.  The new regulation, “Removing the Inability to Communicate in English as an Education Category,” updates a disability rule that was more than 40 years old and did not reflect work in the modern economy.  This final rule has been in the works for a number of years and updates an antiquated policy that makes the inability to communicate in English a factor in awarding disability benefits.

“It is important that we have an up-to-date disability program,” Commissioner Saul said.  “The workforce and work opportunities have changed and outdated regulations need to be revised to reflect today’s world.”

A successful disability system must evolve and support the right decision as early in the process as possible.  Social Security’s disability rules must continue to reflect current medicine and the evolution of work.

Social Security is required to consider education to determine if someone’s medical condition prevents work, but research shows the inability to communicate in English is no longer a good measure of educational attainment or the ability to engage in work.   This rule is another important step in the agency’s efforts to modernize its disability programs.

In 2015, Social Security’s Inspector General recommended that the agency evaluate the appropriateness of this policy.  Social Security owes it to the American public to ensure that its disability programs continue to reflect the realities of the modern workplace.  This rule also supports the Administration’s longstanding focus of recognizing that individuals with disabilities can remain in the workforce.

The rule will be effective on April 27, 2020.

Who Do I contact - social security or medicare

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

Social Security offers retirement, disability, and survivors benefits.  Medicare provides health insurance. Because these services are often related, you may not know which agency to contact for help.  The list below can help you quickly figure out where to go. Please share this list with family and friends.

You can do much of your Medicare business with Social Security online.

Medicare also offers many online services where you can find out:  

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A Message about Improving Service from Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security

“Thank you for your interest in the Social Security Administration and for reading this Open Letter to the Public to learn more about what we are doing to improve service.

A Little about Me:

I have been frequently asked why, at age 73 with a loving wife of 51 years, a beautiful family, and a successful business career, I would want to take on the responsibility and stress of running a huge government organization that affects nearly every American.  My answer is simple.  I took the job as Commissioner of Social Security because I saw that this very important agency faced an increasing number of challenges.  Millions of Americans depend on SSA to do our job well, each day, no excuses—because when we don’t, people suffer.  I took the job because SSA must dramatically improve customer service for you, your loved ones, and everyone who depends on our programs.

What is My Plan?

When I speak to groups of SSA employees, to my senior managers, and to external groups including Congress, they ask what I plan to accomplish.  It is no secret that the government is full of bureaucratic processes.  There are Agency Strategic Plans, Annual Performance Plans, Budget documents for this and future years, IT strategic plans, and any number of internal organization planning documents.  I understand that these writings serve to provide direction and transparency, but I doubt most employees or members of the public read them.  I am hopeful that this letter will answer your questions in a straightforward and easy to follow way. 

My plan is rooted in common sense.  SSA has many departments and over 60,000 employees who perform millions of functions each year.  But, whether it is issuing retirement checks, processing disability claims, or providing Social Security cards, our fundamental mission is to ensure timely and accurate service for the public.  My plan is to emphasize and restore fundamental public service so that when you call us, we answer timely.  When you come to our offices, we serve you timely.  When you apply for benefits, you receive a timely answer from us and, if you are approved for benefits, you receive a timely check from us.  Some SSA employees and the three unions who represent them may suggest we simply want to push employees even harder.  I’ve run enough businesses and organizations to know that no employer gets 100% from every employee every day—there is always room to improve.  Over the past 5 months, I have met with and observed many, many SSA employees.  Let me tell you what I determined:  they care.  They are just as concerned and stressed about work piling up as I am.  They dread the feeling of coming into work knowing the public will line up and wait far too long for correct answers.  That is demoralizing.  I don’t want our excellent employees to feel beaten down or think that headquarters fails to appreciate their challenges.  By getting wait times down, we allow our employees to do their work in a better environment where they can focus on the action in front of them not the piles of work around them.

As important as it is to serve you timely, we need to serve you well.  We need to evaluate how we train our employees, review their work and give feedback, and appropriately simplify our policies to be easier to implement and understand.  I have reviewed audits and noted that we consistently receive poor marks in certain areas.  You should expect that we will properly pay benefits to only the folks who are entitled to them and we should always pay them the correct amount.  That is important not only for stewardship but also to each of you who receives a check from us.  I also cannot ignore the message from significant workloads like litigation, which can occur when we do not properly apply policy.  Yes, we must address the affected cases but we must also fix the root cause.  Getting things wrong has been very costly to us.  It is time to invest in ensuring we get things right.

Part of the answer is technology.  However, before we can readily implement more efficient systems, we have to fix some core issues.  Did you know we store a beneficiary’s address in something close to 20 different systems?  If you move, we can change your address in one place but that may not change it in the others.  We are working to fix this and other problems.  Our new approach will not look at our services from our vantage point, such as using a specific system to complete a singular action we are working on in the moment.  We will look at our work from your perspective.  Meaning, if you go online and then call us and then come in to an SSA office, our employees will know that history and you don’t have to start from square one each time.

However, technology alone is not the solution.  Sure, many people like the idea of going online for convenient service and we need to modernize and meet that need.  But, many other people need a little extra help, a little more information, maybe even some reassurance from an expert.  Thus, we need a responsive workforce.  We already have people who care deeply about our mission and the public.  Now we need to have enough folks to meet the demand so that they can spend the time they need to handle each customer’s need correctly.  We need to implement additional quality checks so that we can let our employees know when they misapplied a policy or missed a key issue.  Our employees want this feedback.  We need to give our employees what they need to get you the right result.

We need to assess how we do our work, how we use technology, and how we empower our employees at SSA.  All of those things are complicated, but they are necessary to accomplish my plan for SSA.  What is the plan?  We are going to work every day to improve the public service you receive from us.  As I said, common sense. 

What happens next?

Right now, SSA’s Office of Systems is working with public and private sector experts to modernize our technology infrastructure so that we can serve you more efficiently and with greater accuracy.  At the same time, we are shifting resources to the front lines of our public service operation.  Our Office of Operations manages nearly all of our public facing services like the field offices in your communities and the National 800 Number.  It is logical and appropriate that we focus on these offices first.  Some people may believe that is a “hiring freeze” but I call it “smart hiring”—sending our resources to the front lines where you benefit most.  Dependent on our final appropriation for fiscal year 2020, we are targeting additional hiring in these public service offices, and I have already directed that SSA hire 1,100 more people to do this work.  During a time of more constrained resources, the agency closed field offices early on Wednesdays.  We are ending that practice to provide you with additional access to our services.  We are also ending a telework pilot, which was implemented without necessary controls or data collection to evaluate effectiveness or impact on public service.  I support work-life balance for SSA employees consistent with meeting our first obligation: to serve the public.  A time of workload crisis is not the time to experiment with working at home, especially for the more than 40,000 employees who staff our public facing offices. 

Modernizing technology and getting more employees back into the offices are critical first steps. We will take additional steps to chip away at our current wait times; however, the first obvious move is an infusion of resources into key offices, increasing the availability of those offices to the public, and holding all of our employees accountable.  We know how important our work is and understand the consequences of poor service. 

You will hear from me again with straightforward information about our progress.  I appreciate your patience as we work to improve our performance in service to you.”

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Changing Your Direct Deposit Information With Social Security

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

With our busy lives, it’s easy to fall into that cycle of postponing some tasks because of other priorities. This may be true for you when it comes to changing your payment method for Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, forgetting to change your payment method can lead to delayed payments.

The most convenient way to change your direct deposit information with Social Security is by creating a my Social Security account online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Once you create your account, you can update your bank information without leaving the comfort of your home. Another way to change your direct deposit is by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to make the change over the phone. If you prefer to speak to someone in-person, you can visit your local Social Security office with the necessary information.

Because we are committed to protecting your personal information, we need some form of identification to verify who you are. If you are online, we verified your identity when you initially created your my Social Security account. All you need to do is log in at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount with your secure username and password to gain access to your information.

If you call Social Security, we will ask identifying questions to ensure we are speaking to the right person. If you visit the office, you will need to bring a driver’s license or some form of ID with you. Once we have identified that you are the correct person and are authorized to make changes on the Social Security record, all we need is the routing number, account number, and type of account established. We don’t ask for a voided check, nor do we obtain verification from the bank. Therefore, you should be sure you are providing accurate information to us.

Because you may be unsure if your direct deposit change will affect your next payment, we highly recommend that you do not close the old bank account until you have seen your first Social Security deposit in the new bank account. That way, you can feel secure you will receive your benefits on time, regardless of when the change was reported to Social Security.

When you have to report changes to your direct deposit, be sure to visit us online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Social Security always strives to put you in control by providing the best experience and service no matter where, when, or how you decide to do business with us.

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5 Ways to Use Social Security Online

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

Social Security is here for you, not just when you need us financially, but when you need accurate information about our programs, retirement, and more. There are many online sources for Social Security information, but you need to make sure you’re getting the right information.

By using www.socialsecurity.gov, you know that what you’re reading and watching is approved by our experts and specifically created for you. Here are five of our resources that can offer you invaluable information.

Want access to our latest news, retirement planning tips, and helpful information? Social Security Matters is our blog at blog.socialsecurity.gov. From there, you can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, where you can watch our popular videos.

Our online calculators, such as the Retirement Estimator, the Life Expectancy Calculator, and the Early or Late Retirement Calculator, can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/calculators.

Have you lost or misplaced your Social Security card? Find out how to get a new, replacement, or corrected card at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. In fact, you may be able to quickly request a replacement card online with a my Social Security account, if you meet certain qualifications, at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Verify your annual earnings and review estimates of your future Social Security benefits when you access your Social Security Statement, one of the many services available with a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Do you have to pay taxes on Social Security benefits? How do you apply for Social Security retirement benefits? What is your full retirement age? Discover the answers to your Social Security related questions at our Frequently Asked Questions page at www.socialsecurity.gov/faq.

With so many services available online, Social Security is here for you when your schedule allows. And we’re the authority for Social Security program and benefits information. Be sure to tell friends and family about all the business they can do with us from the comfort of their home or office at www.socialsecurity.gov.

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Beware of People Pretending to be From Social Security

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

Social Security is committed to protecting your personal information. We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number (SSN) or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or internet. If you receive a call and aren’t expecting one, you must be extra careful. You can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and — if you do need more clarification — contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. Never reveal personal data to a stranger who called you.

There’s a scam going around right now. You might receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security or another agency. Calls can even display 1-800-772-1213, Social Security’s national customer service number, as the incoming number on your caller ID. In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your SSN, on file. Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from people across the country. These calls are not from Social Security.

Callers sometimes state that your SSN is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to call a phone number to resolve the issue. People should be aware that the scheme’s details may vary; however, you should avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information.

Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a very few special situations, such as when you have business pending with us, will a Social Security employee request that the person confirm personal information over the phone.

Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. If you receive these calls, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

You can also share our new “SSA Phone Scam Alert” video at http://bit.ly/2VKJ8SG

Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission. You work hard and make a conscious effort to save and plan for retirement. Scammers try to stay a step ahead of us, but with an informed public and your help, we can stop these criminals before they cause serious financial damage.

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Understanding Social Security Benefits

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

Social Security touches the lives of nearly every American, whether at the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, the onset of a disability, or the transition from work to retirement. For more than 80 years, our programs have contributed to the financial security of the elderly and the disabled. Social Security replaces a percentage of a worker’s pre-retirement income based on their lifetime earnings. The amount of your average wages that Social Security retirement benefits replaces varies depending on your earnings and when you choose to start benefits. If you start benefits after full retirement age, these percentages are higher. If you start benefits earlier, these percentages are lower. Most financial advisers say you will need about 70 percent of pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement, including your Social Security benefits, investments, and personal savings.

You can learn more about retirement benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement. Our resources and publications are easy to share with people you think might need the information.

Many people think of Social Security as just a retirement program. And it’s true that most of the people receiving benefits are retired, but others receive benefits because they’re:

  • Individuals with disabilities;
  • A spouse or child of someone who receives benefits;
  • A divorced spouse of someone getting or eligible for Social Security;
  • The spouse or child of a worker who died;
  • A divorced spouse of a worker who died; or
  • The dependent parent of a worker who died.

If you can’t work because of a physical or mental condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

Our disability rules are different from private or other government agency programs. Qualifying for disability from another agency or program doesn’t mean you will be eligible for disability benefits from us. Having a statement from your doctor saying you’re disabled doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

. We’ve made learning about our disability programs very easy at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/disability.

   Please share these resources with friends and family who might need them.

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Self Employment and Social Security

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

Many people enjoy the independence of owning and operating their own small business. If you’re a small business owner, you know that you have additional financial responsibilities when reporting your taxes. A part of this is paying into Social Security.   

Most people who pay into Social Security work for an employer. Their employer deducts Social Security taxes from their paycheck, adds a matching contribution, then sends those taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and reports the wages to Social Security. Self-employed people must do all these actions and pay their taxes directly to the IRS.

You’re self-employed if you operate a trade, business or profession, either by yourself or as a partner. You report your earnings for Social Security when you file your federal income tax return. If your net earnings are $400 or more in a year, you must report your earnings on Schedule SE, in addition to the other tax forms you must file.

You must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time to get Social Security benefits. The amount of time you need to work depends on your date of birth, but no one needs more than 10 years of work (40 credits).

In 2019, if your net earnings are $5,440 or more, you earn the yearly maximum of four credits — one credit for each $1,360 of earnings during the year. If your net earnings are less than $5,440, you still may earn credit by using an optional method described below.

We use all your earnings covered by Social Security to figure your Social Security benefit, so, report all earnings up to the maximum, as required by law.

Family members may operate a business together. For example, a husband and a wife may be partners or run a joint venture. If you operate a business together as partners, you should each report your share of the business profits as net earnings on separate self-employment returns (Schedule SE), even if you file a joint income tax return. The partners must decide the amount of net earnings each should report (for example 50 percent and 50 percent).

You can read more about being self-employed and how that affects your Social Security benefits including optional methods of reporting at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10022.pdf.

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Beware of people pretending to be from social security

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

Social Security is committed to protecting your personal information. We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number (SSN) or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or internet. If you receive a call and aren’t expecting one, you must be extra careful. You can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and — if you do need more clarification — contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. Never reveal personal data to a stranger who called you.

There’s a scam going around right now. You might receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security or another agency. Calls can even display 1-800-772-1213, Social Security’s national customer service number or even a local SSA office number, as the incoming number on your caller ID. In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your SSN, on file. Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from people across the country. These calls are not from Social Security.

Callers sometimes state that your SSN is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to call a phone number to resolve the issue. People should be aware that the scheme’s details may vary; however, you should avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information.

Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a very few special situations, such as when you have business pending with us, will a Social Security employee request that the person confirm personal information over the phone.

Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. If you receive these calls, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

You can also share our new “SSA Phone Scam Alert” video at http://bit.ly/2VKJ8SG

Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission. You work hard and make a conscious effort to save and plan for retirement. Scammers try to stay a step ahead of us, but with an informed public and your help, we can stop these criminals before they cause serious financial damage.

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Sign up for Medicare and Estimate Medicare Costs

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

Affordable medical coverage is something everyone wants, especially as people age. Luckily, our nation has safeguards for workers as they get older. Millions of people rely on Medicare, and it can be part of your health insurance plan when you retire.

Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, as well as younger people who have received Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, and people with certain specific diseases. Two parts of Medicare are Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medicare Insurance). You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years.  Part B usually requires a monthly premium payment.

You can apply online for Medicare even if you are not ready to retire. Use our online application to sign up. It takes less than 10 minutes. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if we need more information. Otherwise, you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail.

You can sign up for Medicare at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/medicare.

If you don't sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment window that begins three months before the birthday that you reach age 65 and ends three months after that birthday, you'll face a 10 percent increase in your Part B premiums for every year-long period you're eligible for coverage but don't enroll. You may not have to pay the penalty if you qualify fora special enrollment period (SEP).If you are 65 or older and covered under a group health plan, either from your own or your spouse’s current employment, you may have a special enrollment period during which you can sign up for Medicare Part B. This means that you may delay enrolling in Part B without having to wait for a general enrollment period and without paying the lifetime penalty for late enrollment. Additional rules and limits apply, so if you think a special enrollment period may apply to you, read our Medicare publication at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/, and visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at Medicare.gov for more information.

Health and drug costs not covered by Medicare can have a big impact on how much you spend each year. You can also estimate Medicare costs using an online tool at https://www.medicare.gov/oopc/.

Keeping your healthcare costs down allows you to use your retirement income on other things that you can enjoy. Social Security is here to help you plan a long and happy retirement at www.socialsecurity.gov.

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April is National Social Security Month

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

It’s National Social Security Month and this year we’re highlighting some of the time-saving features of the my Social Security account. Once you create an account, you’ll see that we already have your work history and secure information to estimate what you could receive once you start collecting benefits.  With your personal my Social Security account, you can also:

o    Request a replacement Social Security card;

o    Set up or change direct deposit;

o    Get a proof of income letter;

o    Change your address;

o    Check the status of your Social Security application; and

o    Get a Social Security 1099 form (SSA-1099).

For over 80 years, Social Security has worked to meet the changing needs of the American public. Today, you can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, as well as take care of other business.

Knowledge is power. You care about your friends’ and family’s future, so encourage them to create a my Social Security account. Celebrate National Social Security Month by learning what you can do online anytime, anywhere at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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IG Warns Public About Fraudulent Phone Calls Threatening Arrest or Legal Action

Posted on  by Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

The Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is urging citizens to remain vigilant of telephone impersonation schemes that exploit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) reputation and authority.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) continues to receive reports from across the country about fraudulent phone calls from people claiming to be from SSA.  Recent reports have indicated that unknown callers are using increasingly threatening language in these calls.  The callers state, due to improper or illegal activity with a citizen’s Social Security number (SSN) or account, a citizen will be arrested or face other legal action if they fail to call a provided phone number to address the issue.  This is a scam; citizens should not engage with these calls or provide any personal information.

SSA employees do contact citizens, generally those who have ongoing business with SSA, by telephone for customer-service purposes.  However, SSA employees will neverthreaten you for information; they will not state that you face potential arrest or other legal action if you fail to provide information.  In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up.

“Unfortunately, scammers will try anything to mislead and harm innocent people, including scaring them into thinking that something is wrong with their Social Security account and they might be arrested,” Stone said.  “I encourage everyone to remain watchful of these schemes and to alert family members and friends of their prevalence.  We will continue to track these scams and warn citizens, so that they can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.”

The OIG recently warned that some of these impersonation calls have “spoofed” SSA’s national customer service phone number, displaying 1-800-772-1213 as the incoming number on caller ID.

The Acting Inspector General urges citizens to be extremely cautious, and to avoid providing information such as your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it.  If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, you should report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

For more information, please visit https://oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/scam-awareness.

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Seasonal work can empower you

By Jacqueline Weisgarber

Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

Soon after school begins in the fall, many businesses begin advertising for seasonal workers.  It’s a good way for people to make some extra income during the busy holiday season or ease back into working.

The diversity of jobs appeals to many people. Each year, companies also hire for seasonal work-from-home positions. These jobs include: customer service, sales, tech support, call center representatives, healthcare support, order taking/review, and more. Seasonal positions may help bridge employment gaps on your resume. They show proven experience and that you are ready, willing, and able to succeed. They also can help you to develop new or strengthen existing skills through training.

If you receive Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), special rules make it possible for people to work and still receive monthly payments. If you want to try working again, seasonal work may help you ease back into the work force. ReadWorking While Disabled at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf or visit our Ticket to Work website at https://choosework.ssa.gov for more information.

Keep in mind that you must report all earnings, including your seasonal earnings, to Social Security; however, they also count toward your future benefits. You earn Social Security credits when you work in a job and pay Social Security taxes. We use your total yearly earnings to figure your Social Security credits. You can learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10072.pdf.

You can also get Social Security retirement or survivors benefits and work at the same time. But if you’re younger than full retirement age and earn more than certain amounts, your benefits will be reduced, although not dollar for dollar. Your benefits may increase when you reach full retirement age. You can read more about working while retired at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html.

Getting back to work can empower you in a number of ways. Social Security is here for you throughout your life’s journey — at each step of your working life and beyond.

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Why social security retirement is important to women

 

 

 

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

Social Security plays an especially important role in providing economic security for women. In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. But, women face greater economic challenges in retirement. Women:

  • tend to live longer than men. A woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live, on average, until about 87, while a 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until about 84;

  • often have lower lifetime earnings than men; and
  • may reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assets than men.

 

 

Social Security offers a basic level of protection to all women. When you work, you pay taxes into the Social Security system, providing for your own benefits. In addition, your spouse’s earnings can give you Social Security coverage as well. Women who don’t work are often covered through their spouses’ work. When their spouses retire, become disabled, or die, women can receive benefits.

 

 

If you’re a worker age 18 or older, you can get a Social Security Statement online. Your Statement is a valuable tool to help you plan a secure financial future, and we recommend that you look at it each year. Your Statement provides a record of your earnings. To create an account online and review your Statement, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

 

 

If your spouse dies, you can get widow’s benefits if you’re age 60 or older. If you have a disability, you can get widow’s benefits as early as age 50. Your benefit amount will depend on your age and on the amount your deceased spouse was entitled to at the time of death. If your spouse was receiving reduced benefits, your survivor benefit will be based on that amount.

 

 

You may be eligible for widow’s benefits and Medicare before age 65 if you have a disability and are entitled to benefits. You also may be eligible for benefits if you are caring for a child who is younger than 16.

 

 

Our “People Like Me” website for women has valuable resources for people of all ages. You can access it at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/women.

 

 

To read more about how we can help you, read and share the publication What Every Woman Should Know at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10127.pdf.

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Need to change your name on your social security card?

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

Are you changing your name? If so, let Social Security know so we can update your information, send you a corrected card, and make sure you get the benefits you’ve earned. 

To change your name on your card, you must show us documents proving your legal name change and identity. If you are a U.S. citizen, you also must show us a document proving your U.S. citizenship, if it is not already in our records. You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We can’t accept photocopies or notarized copies.

To prove your legal name change, you must show one of the following documents:

  • Marriage document;
  • Divorce decree;
  • Certificate of naturalization showing a new name; or
  • Court order for a name change.

To prove your identity, you must show an unexpired document showing your name, identifying information, and photograph, such as one of the following:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued non-driver’s identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you don’t have one of those documents available, we may be able to accept your:

  • Employer identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card; or
  • U.S. military identification card.

To prove your U.S. citizenship, you must show one of the following documents:

  • U.S. birth certificate;
  • U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad;
  • U.S. passport (unexpired);
  • Certificate of Naturalization; or
  • Certificate of Citizenship.

Whatever your reason for your name change, Social Security is here to help you with the new… you! Fill out the form at www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf and follow the instructions to ensure your Social Security card is delivered in a timely manner. You can also locate your local field office at www.socialsecurity.gov/locator so you can apply for your updated card and show your required documents in person.

For complete instructions, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber, which includes information for non-citizens. And remember, if you simply need to replace a lost Social Security card, but don’t need to change your name, you can — in most states — request your replacement card online using your my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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Achieving Self-Support with Social Security

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

Work means different things to different people, but it can give you a sense of self, a community to rely on, and much-needed structure. Some people define themselves through their careers, while others enjoy the social aspect of their jobs. If you rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments and want to start working or return to work, we can help.

A plan for achieving self-support (PASS) is a plan for your future. This plan lets you use your income or resources you own to help you reach your work goals. You could set aside money to go to school and get specialized training for a job or to start a business. The job that you want should allow you to earn enough to reduce or eliminate your need for payments provided under the SSI program.

You can have a plan if:

  • You want to work;
  • You get SSI (or can qualify for SSI by having this plan) because you have a disability or are blind; and
  • You have other income and/or resources to use to get a job or start a business.

A PASS can even help you receive or keep SSI or could mean a higher payment. Under SSI rules, any income that you have may reduce your SSI payment. But, if you have an approved plan, you can use that income to pay for the items you need to reach your work goal.

We don’t count money set aside under this plan when we decide your SSI payment amount. This means you may get a higher SSI payment. However, you can’t get more than the maximum SSI payment for the state where you live. A PASS can also help you set aside money for most work expenses. With an approved plan, you can set aside money to pay expenses to reach your work goal. You can read all about what work expenses are covered and more at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-11017.pdf.

The plan must be in writing, and Social Security must approve it. To start, contact your local Social Security office for an application (Form SSA-545-BK). You can access this form at www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-545.html.

Your job isn’t just a source of income — it can be a vehicle to independence or a beginning to fulfilling your dreams. Let Social Security’s Plan for Achieving Self-Support help you achieve your goals.

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Workers'Compensation and CERTAIN Disability Payments May Affect Your Social Security Benefits

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

Many people working nowadays have more than one job, so it’s not uncommon for them to have several sources of income. Owning multiple small businesses, seasonal jobs, and the gig economy add to the mix — and complexity — of our modern day economy. It’s important to keep in mind that having multiple sources of income can sometimes affect your Social Security benefits.

Disability payments from private sources, such as private pensions or insurance benefits, don’t affect your Social Security disability benefits. Workers’ compensation and other public disability benefits, however, may reduce your Social Security benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits are paid to a worker because of a job-related injury or illness. These benefits may be paid by federal or state workers’ compensation agencies, employers, or by insurance companies on behalf of employers.

Public disability payments that may affect your Social Security benefits are those paid from a federal, state, or local government for disabling medical conditions that are not job-related. Examples of these are civil service disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits, and state or local government retirement benefits that are based on disability.

Some public benefits don’t affect your Social Security disability benefits. If you receive Social Security disability benefits, and one of the following types of public benefits, your Social Security benefits will not be reduced:

  • Veterans Administration benefits;
  • State and local government benefits, if Social Security taxes were deducted from your earnings; or
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

You can read more about the possible ways your benefits might be reduced at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10018.pdf.

Please be sure to report changes. If there is a change in the amount of your other disability payment, or if those benefits stop, let us know. Tell us if the amount of your workers’ compensation or public disability payment increases or decreases. Any change in the amount or frequency of these benefits is likely to affect the amount of your Social Security benefits.

An unexpected change in benefits can have unintended consequences, but not if you’re informed and have financially prepared yourself. Visit our benefits planner webpage at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners for information about your options for securing your future.

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How Social Security Defines Disability

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

Disability affects millions of Americans, in one form or another. Social Security is here to help you and your family, but there are strict criteria for meeting the definition of disability. The definition of disability under Social Security is also different than it is for other programs. We do not pay benefits for partial or short-term disability.

We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You can’t do work that you did before;
  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

This is a strict definition of disability.

Social Security is also required by law to review the current medical condition of all people receiving disability benefits to make sure they continue to have a qualifying disability. Generally, if someone’s health hasn’t improved, or if their disability still keeps them from working, they will continue to receive benefits.

To help us make our decision, we’ll first gather new information about a benefit recipient’s medical condition. We’ll ask their doctors, hospitals, and other medical sources for their medical records. We’ll ask them how their medical condition limits their activities, what their medical tests show, and what medical treatments they have been given. If we need more information, we’ll ask them to go for an examination or test for which we’ll pay.

Social Security is a support system for people who cannot work because of a disability. You can learn more about Social Security disability at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityand also by accessing our starter kits and checklists at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/disability.

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BEAT Procrastination by Changing your Direct Deposit Early

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

September 6 is National Fight Procrastination Day. With our busy lives, it is easy to fall into that cycle of constantly postponing some tasks because of other things we need to address right now. This may be true for you when it comes to changing your payment method for Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, procrastinating on reporting changes can lead to delayed payments, resulting in undue hardship with bills and living expenses. Ultimately, it’s less hassle — and less stressful — if you report a direct deposit change as soon as it occurs. 

How can you change your direct deposit information with Social Security? The most convenient way is by creating a my Social Securityaccount online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Once you create your account, you can update your bank information without leaving the comfort of your home. Another way to change your direct deposit is by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to make the change over the phone. If you prefer to speak to someone in-person, you can visit your local Social Security office with the necessary information.

What exactly will Social Security need to make the direct deposit change? Because we are committed to protecting your personal information, we need some form of identification to verify who you are. If you are online, we verified your identity when you initially created your my Social Securityaccount. All you need to do is log in at www.socialsecurity.gov/signin with your secure username and password to gain instant access to your information.

If you call Social Security, we will ask identifying questions to ensure we are speaking to the right person. If you visit the office, you will need to bring a driver’s license or some form of ID with you. Once we have identified you are the correct person and are authorized to make changes on the Social Security record, all we need is the routing number, account number, and type of account established. We don’t ask for a voided check, nor do we obtain verification from the bank. Therefore, you should be sure you are providing accurate information to us.

The day of the month you report the direct deposit change makes all the difference. Though the exact date varies each month, generally, you will need to report changes by the 15th to see the effect on the next check. When the 15th falls on the weekend or a holiday, the cutoff is usually the previous business day. For example, if you switched banks or have a new account in September, you will need to provide the new information to Social Security by September 14 to receive your next payment in the new account. If you don’t report this change to us until September 28, your next payment will go into the old account.

Because you may be unsure if your direct deposit change will affect your next payment, we highly recommend that you do not close the old bank account until you have seen your first Social Security deposit in the new bank account. That way, you can feel secure you will receive your benefits on time, regardless of when the change was reported to Social Security. Waiting until you see the deposit in your new account also gives you the extra peace of mind that we processed the change correctly.

The first step in fighting procrastination is increased awareness. Knowing how easy it is to report a direct deposit change, what information to report, and when, can encourage you to get in touch with Social Security at the earliest possible moment. In addition, making sure we know about a change early ensures we help make the transition as smooth as possible.

When you have to report changes, be sure to contact us or visit us online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Social Security always strives to put you in control by providing the best experience and service no matter where, when, or how you decide to do business with us.

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Working While Disabled – Social Security Can Help

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

While it may be best known for retirement, Social Security is also here to help you get back to work if you are disabled. For millions of people, work isn’t just a source of income, it’s a vital part of who they are — it gives them purpose and pride — it’s a connection to community. If you’re getting Social Security disability benefits, we have good news for you. Social Security’s work incentives and Ticket to Work programs can help you if you’re interested in working. Special rules make it possible for people receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments.

The Ticket to Work program may help you if you’d like to work. You can receive:

o    Free vocational rehabilitation;

o    Training;

o    Job referrals; and

o    Other employment support.

You can read more about working while collecting disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/work.

Work incentives include:

o    Continued cash benefits for a time while you work;

o    Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work; and

o    Help with education, training, and rehabilitation to start a new line of work.

If you’re receiving Social Security disability benefits or SSI, let us know right away when you start or stop working, or if any other change occurs that could affect your benefits.

If you returned to work, but you can’t continue working because of your medical condition, your benefits can start again — you may not have to file a new application.

You can read more about the Ticket to Work program in the publication titled “Working While Disabled: How We Can Help” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf.

 

 

Part of securing today and tomorrow is giving you the tools to create a fulfilling life. Getting back to work might be part of that. We’re here with a ticket to a secure tomorrow.

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10 powerful Ways to Use Social Security Online

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

Chances are good that you use the internet or a cell phone app every day. Social Security has you covered. We’ve created online tools to make the lives of millions of people easier. We’ve put together a top ten list of easy-to-use resources for you.

Want access to our latest news, retirement planning tips, and helpful information? Social Security Matters is our blog at blog.socialsecurity.gov. There, you can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, where you can watch our popular videos.

Our online calculators, such as the Retirement Estimator, the Life Expectancy Calculator, and the Early or Late Retirement Calculator, can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/calculators.

Apply for Social Security benefits online. This is the fastest, most convenient way to apply for retirement, spouses, disability, or Medicare benefits without visiting a local office or calling to speak to a representative; we can be found online at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits.

Lost or missing your Social Security card? Find out how to get a new, replacement, or corrected card at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. In fact, you may be able to quickly request a replacement card online with a my Social Security account, if you meet certain qualifications, at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Verify your annual earnings and review estimates of your future Social Security benefits when you access your Social Security Statement, one of the many services available with a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Do you have to pay taxes on Social Security benefits? How do you apply for Social Security retirement benefits? What is your full retirement age? Discover the answers to your Social Security related questions at our Frequently Asked Questions page at www.socialsecurity.gov/faq.

Do you own a business? The Business Services Online Suite of Services allows organizations, businesses, individuals, employers, attorneys, non-attorneys representing Social Security claimants, and third-parties to exchange information with Social Security securely over the internet. Find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/bso/services.htm.

Have you dreamed of moving abroad? Learn how Social Security makes international payments and how you can do business with us from around the world at www.socialsecurity.gov/foreign.

Are you a veteran? Are you at mid-career? Maybe you’re new to the workforce. Find out how we fulfill your needs through life’s journey on our People Like Me page at www.socialsecurity.gov/people.

If you like to read and prefer to know all the details, our publications webpage is a library of helpful information. Access it at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

We make things simple, easy to use, and beneficial. And we’re always here to help you secure today and tomorrow, www.socialsecurity.gov.

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Social Security, a Source of Independence for Millions

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

On July 4, people in communities everywhere celebrate our nation’s independence with neighbors, family, and friends. A strong community promotes independence by helping each other lead full and productive lives.

Social Security has been helping people maintain a higher quality of life and a level of independence for over 80 years. Over those decades, we’ve made it even easier for you to access the programs and benefits you might need. Now, applying online is the fastest way to get those crucial benefits.

Here are some the types of benefits you can apply for:

Retirement or Spouse's Benefits– You must be at least 61 years and 9 months old andwant your benefits to start no more than four months in the future. Apply at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline.

  • Disability– You can apply online for disability benefits or continue an application you already started. Apply for Disability at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityonline.
     
  • Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs– Many people need assistance with the cost of medications. Apply for Extra Help at www.socialsecurity.gov/i1020.
     
  • Medicare– Medicare is a national health insurance program administered by the U.S. federal government that began in 1966. You can apply online or continue an application you already started  at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline.
     
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)– SSIis a federal income program funded by general tax revenues designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income. You may be able to apply online if you meet certain requirements. See if you can apply online for SSI at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/ssi.

Social Security provides benefits for millions of people including wounded warriors and children, the chronically ill and the disabled who cannot work. Find the help you or your family need at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits.

Don’t forget, our many online services can provide you and the ones you love with lifelong independence. From replacing a lost Social Security card to estimating your benefits, you can access these powerful tools at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.

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