Social Security: 5 Things You May Not Know You Can Do Online
The Social Security Administration wants to spread the word that you can handle a number of tasks on its website — and avoid having to call the agency or visit it in person, where you are likely to run into long waits and a mountain of frustration.
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The SSA even has a page, located here, dedicated to online services that details everything you can do. It reminds Social Security beneficiaries that the agency is “constantly expanding our online services to give you freedom and control when conducting business with Social Security.”
These days, you can do everything from apply for retirement benefits to get a replacement card online. Your first step should be to set up a free my Social Security account. Once that’s done, here are five things you might not have known you can do online:
Review Your Earnings History
You can get your Social Security earnings statement by using your personal my Social Security account. The statement shows your earnings history and gives you secure access to estimates for retirement, disability and survivors benefits you and your family might be eligible for.
Apply for Medicare Benefits
If you are within three months of turning age 65 or are older but are not ready to start your monthly Social Security benefits yet, you can use the SSA’s online retirement application to sign up just for Medicare and wait to apply for retirement or spousal benefits later. The process takes less than 10 minutes and involves no signed forms or other documentation.
Set Up or Change Direct Deposit Information
One of the newer SSA online services is the ability to set up or change your direct deposit information. If you already receive Social Security benefits and have a bank account, you just need to log in to your my Social Security account.
Get Proof of Benefits
If you need proof of your Social Security benefits, you can get a Benefit Verification letter by logging into my Social Security. The letter serves as proof that you get retirement, disability, Supplemental Security Income or Medicare benefits. You can use it for loan, housing assistance, mortgage and other income verification purposes.
Appeal a Decision
If the SSA recently denied your claim for retirement benefits, disability benefits, SSI or a nonmedical related issue, you can appeal the decision online by downloading the forms here. You typically have 60 days after you receive the notice of the SSA decision to ask for any type of appeal. There are four levels of appeal:
- Hearing by an administrative law judge
- Review by the Appeals Council
- Federal Court review
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