For many people, Someday is an elusive day on the far-off horizon — always close enough to see, but too distant to touch.
Perhaps Someday you plan to go skydiving. Or enter a hot dog-eating contest. Maybe Someday you plan to ride a mechanical bull. Or travel around the world. Or visit all of America’s national parks.
Someday, you may want to retire. If you are mid-career, Someday, you may need to start planning for retirement. Even if you are just now starting your career, Someday, you’re going to want to see what your future benefits will be and check your earnings for accuracy.
Well, get ready, because Someday has arrived. Open a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount, and you’ll see what we mean.
Millions of people have already opened an account, taking advantage of the benefits of my Social Security. Why are so many Americans opening accounts? Because my Social Security is fast, easy, and secure. It’s a convenient way to check your earnings record, get up-to-date, personalized estimates of retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, and access your Social Security Statement. With a my Social Security account, you can plan for your retirement and get help figuring out how to save for your future. If you already receive benefits, you can manage them online by starting or stopping your direct deposit, changing your address, and getting an instant proof-of-benefits letter.
Someone opens a new account just about every six seconds. Considering there is only one skydive every 16 seconds, opening a my Social Security is even more popular!
That elusive Someday that you thought might never come is here now. You’ll find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Football and Social Security
Good coaching and a great playbook can make all the difference in the world for a winning football team. Fail to create a sound game plan, and you’re likely to miss opportunities and fall behind.
The same is true for retirement — except you call the plays, including when to retire and how much to save. If you walk onto the retirement field without a game plan, you may have to work longer than you had hoped. You certainly don’t want to find yourself unable to have the comfortable retirement you envisioned.
You may have to call your own financial plays, but Social Security has tools to help you. We can help you decide what options might be successful in any situation you may find yourself in.
For example, how much can you expect to get from Social Security? How much more could you get if you worked a year longer? Two years? What about your spouse, if you are married? And are you saving enough in addition to your expected Social Security benefits?
By simply visiting www.socialsecurity.gov, you can get answers to all of these questions. You will find several financial planning tools, including our easy-to-use and secure Retirement Estimator. You can use it to get quick retirement estimates based upon your own earnings record. It’s like training camp for financial planning.
All you have to do is provide some information about yourself to verify who you are for security purposes — your name, Social Security number, date and place of birth, your mother’s maiden name, and an estimate of your last year’s earnings. The Retirement Estimator will then create Social Security benefit estimates based on your entire career earnings record.
The Retirement Estimator shows what you could receive in Social Security benefits if you retire at age 62, what you could receive at your full retirement age, and what you could receive if you work until age 70.
Interested in other play options, such as what will happen if you made more money in the future? Or if you want to stop work at a different age than the three we show you? You can try out alternate game plans using the Retirement Estimator if you change your mind about your initial retirement plans.
The last thing you want to do is depend on a “Hail Mary” pass when it comes to your retirement. With a good game plan, you will score a retirement touchdown.
Remember what one of football’s most accomplished and respected coaches, Vince Lombardi, said: “There’s only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything.” So give everything you have to developing the playbook for your retirement. And the best place to begin your game plan for a successful retirement is at www.socialsecurity.gov.
If your child is disabled, Social Security can help
Cancer is a terrible disease that, although sometimes beatable, can strike a blow to anyone unfortunate enough to face it. It is especially difficult to see children struck by cancer.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, designated to bring attention to the types of cancer that largely affect children. About 13,000 children under age 21 receive cancer diagnoses every year. About a quarter of them will not survive. Those who do will likely suffer with the disease for some time.
While Social Security cannot help with the cure, we can offer financial support to children with cancer — or any other severe disability.
If your child has cancer or another disabling condition, and if your family has low income and few resources, you may be able to get Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, for your child. If you are receiving retirement or disability benefits, your child may be eligible for Social Security disability insurance when he or she turns age 18 as a “Disabled Adult Child.” To receive SSI or disability insurance benefits, your child’s condition must be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or result in death.
For both Social Security and SSI, you will need to file an application for disability benefits. A good place to start is by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/disability and selecting the “Disability Starter Kit” under “Apply for Benefits.” There, you’ll find a “Child Disability Starter Kit” that includes a factsheet to answer your questions, a link to the “Child Disability Report” for you to complete, a checklist for your in-office interview with a Social Security representative, and a “Medical and School Worksheet.” A printable version of the “Child Starter Kit” is available.
Although going through the disability decision process and obtaining disability benefits may not help your child get well, the financial support can alleviate some of the stress. And the time to get started is now.
To learn more, view, print, or listen to an audio version of our publication, Benefits For Children With Disabilities by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov.pubs.
Easy way to get benefit verification
Need verification of your Social Security benefits? There’s no need to visit or call an office to get the verification you need. Simply visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
There are a number of reasons you may need written verification of your Social Security benefits. You may need to provide it to an energy assistance program or for subsidized housing. Perhaps you’re ready to make a major purchase, and you’re trying to get a loan from a bank or financial institution. Or maybe you’re applying for state benefits or moving into a new apartment or home. You can use this benefit verification letter for any reason that someone requires proof of your income.
In addition to offering proof of income, the letter is an official document that verifies your Medicare coverage, retirement or disability status, and age. If you need verification that you have applied for benefits but have not yet received a decision, it also serves as proof that you applied.
Whatever your reason, if you need verification of your income from Social Security, obtaining it is easy and convenient.
Create a my Social Security account and you can instantly get your benefit verification letter online and obtain one any time you need it. You also can use your account to manage your benefits, check your benefit amount, or change your address, phone number, and direct deposit information. Millions of people have already opened their accounts. In fact, someone opens a new my Social Security account about every six seconds!
You can also get a benefit verification letter mailed to you by calling (800) 772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). However, for most people, getting the verification online is the most convenient way to get what they need. Get your benefit verification letter by registering today for a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Stashing treasure for retirement island
Ahoy, matey! Hoist the sails and prepare to cast away — for International Talk Like a Pirate Day! The Sept. 19 holiday caught wind in its sails when Dave Barry highlighted it in his nationally syndicated column in 2002. Who wouldn’t want to run a rig and spend a day talking like a pirate?
If ye plan to find yer land legs and spend a few retirement years ashore (instead of continuing to work until yer time comes to walk the plank), then drop anchor at this website: www.socialsecurity.gov. There be gold in them webpages.
If a pirate’s life is for you, chances are ye’ve got some buried treasure waiting for ye in retirement — especially if ye paid yer Social Security tax along the way. Social Security retirement benefits serve as yer Letter of Marque when it comes to a comfortable retirement. But just how much can ye expect at the rope’s end of your career?
X marks the spot at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. Parlay with the Retirement Estimator to dig up how much you can expect in monthly retirement bounty. It’s quicker and easier than an act of piracy. Just carve in your basic information and the Retirement Estimator will have you cheering “yo ho ho!” A bit of navigation with the Retirement Estimator can help make your Retirement Island a Treasure Island.
All the doubloons ye may have thought were being hornswaggled from you during your working years were actually marooned on your retirement island. The treasure map to retirement is at www.socialsecurity.gov. Apply for benefits in minutes from the comfort of your own bunk.
Not savvy to English? You’ll find information and pubs (that’s publications, me hearties, not rum stashes) in other languages at Social Security’s Multilanguage Gateway: www.socialsecurity.gov/multilanguage.
Shiver me timbers, there be more treasures at www.socialsecurity.gov than in all the seven seas. Get yer Social Security business taken care of on International Talk Like a Pirate Day or any other day. And a hearty Arg to ye!
Denise Anderson is Social Security district manager in Alton.