Social security benefits are paid to more than 63 million Americans each month making it a major financial resource for retired and disabled Americans. While workers who have paid social security taxes automatically receive retirement benefits when they retire, disability benefits (SSDI and SSI) are paid to people with disabilities based on a medical chart review and other formalities. An applicant is eligible for disability benefits only if a physician states definitively that he/she is disabled “by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory findings.”
Social security programs are popular, though many Americans are not aware of all the benefits available. In fact, you don’t even have to visit a local social security office to apply for benefits. As a medical chart review company assisting social security attorneys, we understand that The SSA (Social Security Administration) provides online services for current as well as future social security applicants. ssa.gov is the official site of Social Security and contains a lot of information. You can do the following things online at the SSA website.
- Submit your retirement application: You can process your retirement application online within 15 minutes or even less. There is no need to sign any forms or complete any documentation.The administration will process your application and contact you if any more information is needed.
- Review your earnings history: You can verify your earnings history. The SSA could make mistakes and reviewing your earnings history will help spot any errors. It’s best that you identify any such error before claiming benefits.
- Apply for various social security benefits: You can apply for
- Retirement/spouse’s benefits
- Disability benefits
You can apply for the above at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.
- Calculate your future benefits:
- You must first create a my Social Security account to get your social security statement; check your earnings record; and see estimates of your potential benefit amounts at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
- www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator allows you to calculate your retirement benefits based on your earnings record and your retirement age.
- The SSA provides a “planners” option at www.socialsecurity.gov/ planners that will help you get a clearer understanding of the protection social security offers. You can use a benefit calculator to find out your monthly benefit amounts.
- Apply for a replacement social security card: In most states, the SSA allows you to apply for a replacement card online via your account. You can do this online provided you are 18 or older, not requesting a name change or other changes to your card, and have a valid driver’s or state-issued license. Delaware and Wisconsin insists on a driver’s license for this service. There are 16 states where this service is not yet available and these are Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.
- Apply for a benefit verification letter: Also known as “proof of income letter,” “benefits letter,” or “budget letter,” this letter provides proof that you are/are not receiving income from the SSA. When applying for a loan or mortgage, or for assisted housing or some other state or local benefits, you can request this letter online and print it as a proof of income. You can also decide what information you want included in or excluded from the final printed copy.
- Change your address and/or phone number: These changes can be done via the “My Profile” section in your social security account. This service is available for people receiving a social security benefit and those enrolled in Medicare. It is not available to those receiving a SSI or Supplemental Security income benefit and those not living in the United States.
- Start or change the direct deposit of your benefits: You can set up direct deposit for your monthly benefit check on your my Social Security account under the “My Profile” tab. You can update your direct deposit information any time and also decide when any changes will take effect. This service isn’t available to those receiving SSI, and those who have an address outside the United States.
- Check the status of your application/appeal: You can conveniently check when the SSA received your application/appeal; the date and time a hearing is scheduled; the claim and appeal location, if scheduled; and whether a decision has been made on the application/appeal.
- Report your wages: If you are a current recipient of disability benefits, you can report your wages online. This service is available to people directly receiving these benefits as well as their representative payees (including parent(s) or spouse.) However, the service is not available to those receiving retirement benefits.
- Apply for Medicare benefits: You can apply for Medicare benefits though the SSA’s website. Besides, you can also apply for the Extra Help program that could help reduce Medicare prescription drug plan costs. To qualify for Extra Help, you must have limited income and resources, and must be receiving Medicare.
- Print your SSA-1099: The SSA-1099 shows the benefits received in the previous year and is necessary before benefit recipients can complete their tax filing. You can go online and print your 1099 form directly from the source.
- Request a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for tax purposes: You can request this through your my Social Security account. Non-citizens who live outside the United States and received social security income, or beneficiaries who received and then repaid benefits in the previous year, will be given an SSA-1042S. You can log into your social security account, and select the option “Replacement Documents” to get replacements for your lost/misplaced tax forms.
- Apply for a duplicate Medicare card: This can also be done through your social security account. Go into the “Replacement Documents” tab and choose “Mail my replacement Medicare card.” Your new card will be sent via mail in about 30 days.
As providers of medical records services for social security lawyers, we understand that the SSA website is user-friendly and provides a number of useful services. The list of online services offered can be viewed at https://ssa.gov/onlineservices.
Hours of operation of the SSA website:
Monday – Friday 5:00 AM to 1:00 AM Eastern Time
Saturday – 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM Eastern Time
Sunday – 8:00 AM to 11:30 PM Eastern Time
Online services have made life simpler and more efficient. Government agencies as well as private organizations work to ensure that people can get many things done conveniently from the comfort of their home. This is a great benefit, especially for seniors and the disabled who are mostly dependent on others. Being able to do things on their own will surely give them a sense of independence.