What do you think of when you think of dealing with the Social Security Administration? If the image that pops into your head is a pick-a-number dispenser and a crowded waiting room with cobwebs stretching between the dispirited “clients” as they wait, you're not alone. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has updated its website with some helpful features that may keep you out of the office altogether.
Do you remember where your Social Security Card is? If you're like many people, you haven't needed to use it in a while. Of course, you use your Social Security number (SSN) when applying for a job, and for collecting Social Security and other benefits. Because your SSN is such an important and unique identifier, you should never carry your Social Security card in your wallet, where loss or theft makes you vulnerable to identity theft.
You may have tucked your card away in a safe place months or years ago, and now can't find it. Luckily, if you're a resident of Michigan or a few other states, you may be able to request a new or replacement Social Security card online.
In order to do this, you will need to establish a free my Social Security account online. You will need to have a valid e-mail address and existing SSN, as well as a U.S. mailing address. You must also be at least eighteen years of age.
The account is secure, and to ensure security, you must be able to verify some information about yourself that only you would have. You cannot create an account on behalf of another person and no one else can create one for you, even if they have your written permission. If you wish to add another layer of security, you may do so if you have a cell phone with text messaging. Each time you wish to sign into your account, you will receive a text message with a security code on your phone. This ensures that it really is you trying to sign in.
In addition to requesting a replacement Social Security card, you can use your online account to check your annual Social Security statement, verifying your earnings for the year and receiving an estimate of your future Social Security benefits.
If you currently receive Social Security benefits, you can also use your account to check benefit and payment information, get a benefit verification letter, change your address and telephone number in the system, or get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S form in order to do your taxes.
The availability of these services online can be especially helpful for senior citizens who are unable to get to a local Social Security office. Those people applying for Medicaid and VA benefits will need a copy of their annual benefits statement, and may find it much easier to obtain online.
If you'd like to learn more about Social Security or other government benefits, we invite you to contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. We look forward to working with you.