The holiday season has arrived - a time of year that is steeped in tradition.
Different families may have different holiday traditions, but most have roots in a society or culture and thus are observed by many people. Essentially, tradition is all about passing along certain beliefs and customs from one generation to the next.
The Social Security Administration would like to suggest that you start a new tradition. No, we’re not suggesting you do away with the Christmas tree or menorah. Instead, break the tradition of trudging to an office when you need to do business with Social Security. Replace the old-fashioned way of doing business and embrace the new, easier, more convenient way - online.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to break an old tradition and make a new one. Some traditions evolve. Many of the things your parents or grandparents did in a Social Security office you can now do online.
For example, if you’re not receiving benefits, you can request your Social Security Statement or use the “Retirement Estimator” to get an accurate picture of what your future benefits will be.
You can also read or listen to our publications, find out whether you qualify for benefits - even apply for Social Security disability, retirement and spouse’s benefits online from the comfort of home.
Set up an online “my Social Security” account to get your benefit verification letter, check your information, benefits and earnings record, change your address or phone number, and start or change your direct deposit.
You also can go online to get a replacement Medicare card or appeal a medical decision made about your disability claim. You can do all this and more at www.socialsecurity.gov.
The holiday season is a time filled with family and tradition. Go ahead and enjoy the light displays and holiday music. Maybe even cut a slice of fruitcake to go with your egg nog.
But when it comes to doing business with Social Security, join the millions of people and start a new tradition: forego the sleigh ride to the office by going to www.socialsecurity.gov.
Ed Evans is a Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Seattle