This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.
Social Security Online
Social Security Update
August 2011

In This Issue:

Electronic Payment of All Benefits

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Just a reminder that electronic payments are not simply the best way to receive Federal benefits they will soon be the only way. The U.S. Department of the Treasury's new rule phases out paper checks for Federal benefit and non-tax payments by March 1, 2013. In fact, effective May 1, 2011, all new recipients of Federal benefits, including those filing for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), must receive their payments electronically unless they meet one of the very limited exceptions.

Electronic payments are safer, easier, more reliable, less costly, and good for the environment. If you have clients who still get Federal benefit checks in the mail, have them visit www.godirect.org today to sign up for direct deposit or Direct Express.

Beat the Heat Go Online

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Winter, spring, summer, or fall, doing business online is a breeze. Here are some things your clients can do online:

  • Apply for retirement, disability, or Medicare benefits;
  • Estimate future retirement benefits;
  • Change their address or direct deposit information (if already receiving benefits);
  • Apply for a replacement Medicare card;
  • Obtain a proof of income letter; and
  • Apply for Extra Help with prescription drug costs.

So tell your clients to beat the heat and go online to www.socialsecurity.gov.

Back-to-School Reminder

student with booksParents of high school students turning 18 who receive Social Security benefits have one more thing to add to the "back-to-school" checklist. To make sure those benefits continue beyond age 18, eligible students must provide to Social Security certification from school officials that they are still in high school. Otherwise, monthly Social Security benefits automatically stop when the student turns 18.

For more information about Social Security student benefits, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/schoolofficials. The website outlines how the process works with instructions on what the student and school official must do to ensure that benefits continue past the student's 18th birthday. With the appropriate certification, Social Security generally does not stop benefits until the month before the month the student turns 19, or the first month in which he or she is not a full-time high school student, whichever is earlier.

Don't forget to do your homework at www.socialsecurity.gov/schoolofficials.

Answers on the Run

mobile deviceThese days, people seem to be busier than ever. Thanks to smart phones and mobile devices, we're able to stay in the know even when we're on the run. For example, any time you have a question about Social Security, it's easy to get a quick answer using our mobile-friendly Frequently Asked Questions page. Just go to www.socialsecurity.gov/faq from your mobile device. Turn that delayed flight or wait in a grocery store line from wasted time to productive time and get answers to your Social Security questions at www.socialsecurity.gov/faq.

 

This Labor Day Find Out What Your Work Has Earned

American FlagYou and your clients have labored hard throughout the year. This Labor Day weekend may be a good time to take a look at your retirement plans.

A great starting point is Social Security's Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. The Retirement Estimator is an easy way to get an instant, personalized estimate of future retirement benefits. The Estimator uses a worker's actual earnings history to compute a benefit estimate but, for privacy purposes, we do not display the earnings. You or your clients can enter a variety of scenarios, such as different earnings amounts and retirement dates, to find out how they will change the benefit amount.

When the time comes to retire, the easiest way to apply is online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline. It can take as little as 15 minutes.

Happy Labor Day from Social Security.

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