October 1, 2013

YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY Davenport, Iowa Office

By Linda Clayton-Powell
Social Security District Manager
Davenport, Iowa

YOU’VE JUST STEPPED INTO… THE RETIREMENT ZONE

You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of work and earnings, but of pension and leisure. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. You unlock this door with Social Security’s Retirement Estimator and online benefit application. Next stop … the retirement zone.

That’s not exactly sticking to the original script, but some television viewers may be hearing the voice of Rod Serling ringing in their heads right now. The Twilight Zone television program first aired in 1959 and ran for five seasons — and continues to live on in reruns. The series took viewers through amazing journeys with each episode featuring characters who faced unusual or extraordinary circumstances.

If you’re nearing retirement now, it may seem an extraordinary circumstance that these days you really can do it all from the comfort of your home or office computer. Amazing but true: you can do so much online, including getting an estimate of future benefits, testing out different retirement scenarios, completing and submitting your retirement application online, and much more!

Picture a man. A man sitting at his home computer. He isn’t sure whether he should apply now, wait until he reaches full retirement age, or work a little longer and begin receiving benefits at age 70. He’s about to find out … with a visit to the Retirement Estimator. The Estimator uses his past earnings and allows him to enter variable future earnings and retirement dates to complete the picture of a retirement he’d like to live.

Imagine a woman. A woman with a laptop enjoying a hot cup of java at her favorite coffee house. She’s done with planning and has decided it’s time to take the plunge and retire. Before going to a local Social Security office as her parents and older siblings did, she visits www.socialsecurity.gov and discovers she can complete the entire application online and submit it in about 15 minutes. As in most cases, there are no papers to sign and no documents to provide. She ventures from www.socialsecurity.gov to an audio book and closes her eyes to begin enjoying her retirement.

Back when The Twilight Zone first hit television screens, the idea of testing out retirement scenarios or even completing and submitting a retirement application online would have been science fiction fodder fit for an episode of the program. Today, it is reality.

Try it out for yourself. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov and take a visit into … the retirement zone.

THIS HALLOWEEN, DON’T BE SPOOKED BY THE INTERNET

Don’t look now, but it’s Halloween! Halloween is time for kids of all ages to dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating. But it is also a time of visiting haunted houses and watching those scary horror films. Think of the movies that frightened you the most, and they usually have an element of fear of the unknown.

Doing business online may also needlessly frighten people. When it comes to Social Security, however, there is nothing to be spooked about. We take all the fear out of doing business online.

There are a number of things you can do online at www.socialsecurity.gov, and none of them should send so much as a shiver down your spine. Save yourself a trip to a Social Security office and transact your business from the comfort of your home. No need to be afraid to go online; it’s so easy and safe to do business at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Here are just a few of Social Security’s online services you can easily access from the convenience of your home or office computer:

• Apply for retirement, disability, or Medicare benefits;

• Find out what benefits you might be eligible to receive;

• Setup a my Social Security account so you can access and update your information anytime;

• Apply for Extra Help with your Medicare prescription drug costs;

• Estimate your future benefits;

• Appeal an unfavorable decision on a disability claim;

• Change your address; and

• Report employee wages.

For a complete list of our online services, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. You also can find forms, publications, answers to frequently asked questions, Social Security news, and much more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

You’ll find our online services are frighteningly easy to use. Save your fears for the monsters on television or the costumed creatures knocking at your door. Don’t be afraid to visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

Filed Under: Finance, Retirement