October 2, 2009

Your Social Security

ssaBy Christina Vital
Rock Island Social Security office

Get Your Benefit Verification Letter Online

Sometimes people need written verification of their benefit status or income amount from Social Security. Perhaps you’re ready to make a major purchase and you’re negotiating a loan from a bank or financial institution. Or maybe you’re applying for state benefits or moving into a new apartment or home.

Whatever your reason, Social Security makes it easy for you to get written verification you need – and you can do it online at www.socialsecurity.gov. Just look in the left column under “What you can do online, and select the “Request a Proof of Income letter” link.

The “Proof of Income” letter is sometimes called a “budget letter,” a “benefits letter,” “award letter” or a “proof of award letter.” The letter can be used as proof of your income not just for a loan, but for any third party that requires proof of your income. For example, if you get energy assistance or taxpayer subsidized housing, those asking for the verification may go online and request the verification for you. You will receive it in the mail in a few days. You can then show it to them to prove your income.

In addition to offering proof of your income, the letter is also an official document that verifies your Medicare and health insurance coverage, retirement status, disability status and age.

From the time that you complete the online request, it will take a few days for you to receive the proof of income letter in the mail. If you need one sooner, you’ll want to call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). But for many people, simply requesting the letter online and waiting for it to arrive in the mail is the most convenient way to get the proof you need. If you don’t have internet access, then ask a friend or relative to do it for you. Many libraries also provide internet access. spend time online, not in line!


Do you have Medicare coverage? Do you take prescription medication? Would you like help paying your premiums, deductibles or co-payments? If the answer to these questions is yes, then we have important money saving news for you.

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary who has not enrolled in the new Medicare Prescription Drug Program, you may do so during the open season, which begins November 15th and runs through December 31st. Anyone who has Medicare Part A hospital coverage, or Part B medical insurance coverage, is eligible for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, regardless of their income or resources. You sign up for Medicare prescription drug coverage through private insurance companies that are under contract with Medicare to provide this coverage. For information on the various prescription plans available, check out the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov, or discuss your options with a local pharmacy. Volunteers with the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) may also provide guidance. You can reach them at 1-800-548-9034. You can choose the plan that is the best coverage value for you, rather than have just a “one-size-fits-all” situation.

For those with income and resources below certain levels, there is an extra help program available to help cover the costs associated with prescription drug coverage. Changes in the law that take effect as of January 2010 mean that people who were not eligible in the past may become eligible by filing a new application. You can apply for the extra help program year round. Medicare prescription drug coverage may be available to you with no monthly premium! You may qualify for extra help paying the premiums, deductible and co-payments. This extra help – available through the Social Security Administration – could be worth thousands of dollars to you.

The Social Security Administration has an easy-to-use online application that anyone – family members, friends and caregivers – can complete. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov. To apply by phone or get an application, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020). Or go to the nearest Social Security office. Even if you do not qualify for the extra help program, it may still be a good idea to apply, since the state of illinois has other prescription assistance programs. The state programs may require Medicare beneficiaries to apply for the extra help before making a determination of eligibility for some other state programs.

To learn more about the extra help available through the Social Security Administration, visit www.socialsecurity.gov. You can actually apply for the extra help online. spend time online, not in line!