Each May, groups and organizations around the nation join in celebrating Older Americans Month. Established in 1963, Older Americans Month provides an opportunity for our nation to recognize seniors for their many contributions and share important information to help them stay healthy and active.
This year’s theme is “Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow.” Social Security has something to help keep you safe and healthy: a suite of online services. Rather than driving or taking public transportation to a local office, you can use our secure, free online services to handle much of your Social Security business. With the amount of time you save, you’ll have more time to spend with the grandkids or have time for a brisk walk around the neighborhood or local park.
Before going for that walk, though, visit www.socialsecurity.gov. Whether you already receive benefits or you’re just starting to think about retirement, it’s a great time to open a my Social Security account.
What’s my Social Security? It’s a secure online account that allows you immediate access to your personal Social Security information. During your working years, you can use my Social Security to view your Social Security Statement to check your earnings record and see estimates of the future retirement, disability and survivor benefits you and your family may receive. Check it out at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
After you check your online Social Security Statement, be sure to visit our Retirement Estimator. Like a my Social Security account, you can use it as many times as you’d like. The Estimator lets you change variables, such as retirement date options and future earnings. You may discover that you’d rather wait another year or two before you retire to earn a higher benefit. To get instant, personalized estimates of your future benefits just go to www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.
Deciding when to retire is a personal choice and depends on a number of factors. To help, we suggest you read our online fact sheet, When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
If you’re ready to retire, the online service you’ve been waiting for is our online application for retirement benefits, which allows you to complete and submit your application in as little as 15 minutes at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline. Once you complete and submit the electronic application, in most cases, that’s it—no papers to sign or documents to provide.
Are you already receiving benefits? You can use my Social Security to immediately get your proof of benefits letter, change your address or phone number on our records, start or change your direct deposit information and check your benefit and payment information.
We encourage you to take advantage of our online services and resources, freeing up more time for activities you really enjoy. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.
(Elizabeth Gildea is Social Security manager in Ames.)