April 30, 2013

YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY Rock Island, Illinois Office

By Cristina Vital
Rock Island Social Security office


Every day of the year, Americans across the nation remember friends and family members who have served and sacrificed for their country. Memorial Day is a day when we all come together to honor those who have given their lives in the defense of freedom and the principles we hold dear in this country. May is also National Military Appreciation Month. As we observe Memorial Day and Military Appreciation Month, we would like to let members of our military know how much we value what they do for our nation.

At Social Security, we offer a wide range of services for our service members. Families of fallen military heroes may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. Learn more about Social Security survivors benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/survivors.htm.

For service members who return home with injuries, Social Security is here to help. Visit our Wounded Warriors website. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. We use an expedited process for military service members who become disabled while on active military service, regardless of where the disability occurs.

The Wounded Warriors website answers a number of commonly asked questions, and shares other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of disability claims. It is important to note that benefits available through Social Security are different than those from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.

Even active duty military, who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave, should consider applying for disability benefits if they are unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay does not necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits from Social Security.

If you’ve served in the Armed Forces and you’re planning your retirement, you’ll want to read our publication, Military Service and Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10017.pdf.

You also may want to visit the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/veterans.htm.

At Social Security, we honor all those who served in the military and we remember those who died for their country.


Cinco de Mayo is May 5 — a time to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride. Why not join the celebration by visiting Social Security’s Spanish website, where you’ll find a number of useful services and a wealth of information in Spanish. Just visit www.segurosocial.gov.

Perhaps the most impressive thing you can accomplish on our website — in Spanish — is to apply for Social Security retirement benefits! You can apply quickly and easily on your personal computer. The online application takes as little as 15 minutes. Once you complete the online application and “sign” it with the click of a mouse, your application is complete. In most cases, there are no documents to submit or additional paperwork to fill out. Online is the easiest way to apply, and you can do it in English or Spanish.

In addition to applying for Social Security retirement benefits, you also can apply for Medicare in Spanish, in as little as 10 minutes, from start to finish.

If you are not ready to apply for benefits now, there are still a number of reasons to visit the Social Security website. You can find a lot of information and a number of online services that allow you to complete your Social Security business online, in English or Spanish. One of the most popular is our Retirement Estimator, which provides an instant, personalized estimate of your future Social Security benefits. Using the actual wages posted in your Social Security record, the Estimator will give you a good picture of what benefits you may receive. It protects your personal information by providing only retirement benefit estimates — it does not show the earnings information used to calculate the benefit estimate, nor does it reveal other identifying information. You can plug in different retirement scenarios and future wage amounts to get estimates for different situations. Try it out at www.socialsecurity.gov/espanol/calculador.

If you already are entitled to Medicare and are having trouble with the cost of prescription drugs, you might qualify for Extra Help from Social Security. The Extra Help can save you as much as $4,000 each year on your prescription drug costs. You can learn all about it and apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp/index_sp.htm.

On the right side of the website, under the Frequently Asked Questions, you’ll find a red envelope. Select it to receive email updates on the latest Social Security news and information. You can get your updates in English at www.socialsecurity.gov or in Spanish at www.segurosocial.gov.

Whether you prefer to do business online in Spanish or English, our website is the place for you. Visit www.segurosocial.gov or www.socialsecurity.gov during Cinco de Mayo, or anytime.