October 2, 2009

Your Social Security

ssaby Dave Hung
Social Security Assisstant District Manager, Davenport Iowa


Hurricane season is here for many parts of the country. In other areas of the nation, it’s wildfire season. As you prepare for the threat of a natural disaster in your community, put signing up for Direct Deposit at the top of your “to do” list. Doing so can eliminate the delay or non-delivery of your monthly payment if a disaster forces you from your home.

For years, Direct Deposit has been the safest, fastest and easiest way for people to receive their payments — and it still is the best way to get benefit payments for people who have a bank account. Here’s why.

Direct Deposit is safe. Your money is deposited directly into your account at your bank or other financial institution. Because it’s transferred electronically, there’s never a risk of your check being lost or stolen.

Direct Deposit is quick. You’ll get your payment faster when it’s deposited directly into your bank account. Your money is immediately available to you once it’s deposited.
Direct Deposit is convenient. No more standing in line at the bank to cash your check, or leaving your house when the weather is bad. It’s nice to know your payment is safely in your bank account instead of the mailbox when you’re out of town or, worse, displaced from your home by a disaster.

For those who don’t have a bank account, there’s Direct Express.

With Direct Express, we automatically deposit benefit payments to a person’s Direct Express card account. The card can be used to make purchases, pay bills or get cash at thousands of locations, and most services are free. To learn more or to sign up for Direct Express, visit www.fms.treas.gov/directexpresscard.

To learn more about Direct Deposit of your benefit payments, and to sign up, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/deposit. You also can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

To learn more information about Direct Express, visit www.fms.treas.gov/directexpresscard.

In the unfortunate event that you are displaced by a natural disaster, your benefits do not have to be. Your payments will be safe and secure, and arrive on time to your account with Direct Deposit or Direct Express.


These days, everyone is taking a new look at their finances — and no one is looking more closely than the millions of baby boomers who are nearing retirement age. While some boomers expected to retire at one of the traditional milestones, such as age 62, the current economy is forcing many of them to re-evaluate their plans. Many are wondering if they should work longer, or how their Social Security benefit – or their spouse’s benefit – would be affected if they continued working.

To help them find answers, Social Security has published a fact sheet called When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits. You can read it online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10147.html.

As most workers know, your choice of a retirement age — from 62 to 70 — can dramatically affect your monthly Social Security benefit amount.

If you choose to start receiving benefits early, the monthly payments will be reduced based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach your full retirement age. The rate of reduction will depend on the year you were born. The maximum reduction at age 62 will be:

  • 25 percent for people born between 1947 and 1958.
  • 30 percent for people born after 1959.

If you wait until your full retirement age, your benefits will not be reduced. And if you should choose to delay retirement, your benefit will increase up to eight percent a year from your full retirement age until age 70. However, there is no additional benefit increase after you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.

Social Security also has created several retirement planners to help you make an informed decision. Social Security has an online calculator that can provide immediate retirement benefit estimates to help you plan for your retirement. The online Retirement Estimator uses information from your own earnings record, and lets you create “what if” scenarios. You can, for example, change your “stop work” date or expected future earnings to create and compare different retirement options.

To use the Retirement Estimator, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Read When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10147.html. And for general information about Social Security, visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

Retirement decisions are unique to everyone. Make sure you are up to date with the important information you will need to make the choice that’s right for you.