December 5, 2011

YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY Davenport, Iowa Office

By Karen Cole
Social Security District Manager
Davenport, Iowa


When the holidays come, the money goes — usually for presents and parties, greeting cards and traveling to see
family. Before you spend that last holiday buck, make sure you set some cash aside for retirement as a gift to yourself.

If you haven’t started already, now is the time to begin saving for your retirement — no matter what your age. If retirement is near, you’ll want to hop on a fast sled right away. If you’re younger and retirement seems a lifetime away, it’s still in your best interest to begin saving now — compound interest will help your retirement fund to snowball.

Don’t take our word for it. You can check out the numbers yourself. A great way to start figuring out how much you will need for retirement is to learn how much you could expect from Social Security. You can do that in minutes with Social Security’s online Retirement Estimator.

The Retirement Estimator offers an instant, personalized estimate of your future retirement benefits based on your earnings record and a few variables you enter. Try it out at

We encourage saving for retirement, but there are reasons to save for every stage of life. A great place to go for help is is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching Americans the basics about financial planning. Whether you are planning to buy a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k) plan, the resources at can help you.

Be sure to give yourself a holiday gift you deserve. Not only should you set aside some money for your retirement fund, but you should also spend some time looking at these websites and picturing your future retirement. Spend a little bit of holiday time at


More than half a million Americans experience homelessness on any given night. Nearly 20 percent of them are “chronically homeless,” meaning they are on the streets regularly.

Social Security has several programs that pay benefits to qualified individuals, including those who are homeless. These programs include retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a needs-based program for people who are blind, disabled, or age 65 or older. If you know someone who is homeless, and you want to learn more about how Social Security might help, a good place to get information is at That page includes a link to the Spotlight on Homelessness — a website designed to help the homeless apply for SSI. It’s available at The homelessness page also includes links to information on health care for the homeless, institutionalization, advocacy groups, reports on homeless outreach, and even links to other websites like the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and HUD.

You’ll find other information helpful to the homeless on For example, there is a link to our Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool, or BEST. Based on answers to various questions, this tool helps determine the benefits someone might be eligible for and gives information about how to qualify and apply. Go directly to

Tell anyone you know who is homeless or threatened with homelessness to use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool and to check out the different types of benefits and assistance they may be eligible to receive. Spread the word about the help available to the homeless.

Visit to learn more.


During the holiday season, it’s hard to walk in a public place without hearing a Christmas carol or two. One of the most popular traditional songs is “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” It’s been a holiday favorite since it was published in 1780. Here’s our take on the song: “The Twelve Sites of Social Security.”

For the first site of Social Security, we present to you: our home page, It’s the place to go for all things Social Security. Everything you could want — from online services and screening tools to publications and press releases — can be found easily from this starting place.

On the second site of Social Security, we present to you: an easy way to get or replace your Social Security card using our online application at

On the third site of Social Security, we present to you: an online application for retirement benefits that you can complete and submit in as little as 15 minutes at

On the fourth site of Social Security, we present to you: a secure, convenient way to apply for disability benefits at

On the fifth site of Social Security, we present to you: five estimates of your future Social Security benefits! Or one, or as many as you would like using different scenarios. Get instant, personalized estimates of your future benefits at

On the sixth site of Social Security, we present to you: an online application for Medicare that lets you complete an application for Medicare benefits in as little as 10 minutes, at

On the seventh site of Social Security, we present to you: Extra Help with prescription drug costs. You can learn more and apply online at

On the eighth site of Social Security, we present to you: our convenient publication library with online booklets and pamphlets on numerous subjects, at

On the ninth site of Social Security, we present to you: popular baby names. Learn about popular baby names and trends based on child Social Security card applications over the years at

On the tenth site of Social Security, we present to you: the location of your nearest Social Security office, no matter where you are, at

On the eleventh site of Social Security, we present to you: a way to get your Social Security forms online, at

On the twelfth site of Social Security, we present to you: services for people who are currently receiving benefits, like the ability to replace your Medicare card, get or change a password, request a proof of income letter, or check your Social Security information or benefits. You can do these and other things at

Get all your Social Security services and information at