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Avoid winter’s perils by going online for business with SSI

With Old Man Winter arriving this month, cold temperatures and winter storms are a real possibility.

So it’s nice to know that in the 21st century a person can take care of most necessary business online - including Social Security.

At socialsecurity.gov, a person can handle Social Security business quickly and securely from a home or office computer, or even a tablet.

At the Social Security website people can

  • create a “My Social Security” account for quick access to information;
  • get an instant, personalized estimate of future Social Security benefits;
  • apply for retirement, disability, spouse’s and Medicare benefits;
  • check the status of a benefit application;
  • change address and phone number, if a person is receiving monthly Social Security benefits;
  • sign-up for direct deposit of Social Security benefits;
  • use the benefit planners to help better understand Social Security options during planning for the financial future;
  • request a replacement Medicare card; and
  • apply for extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs.

If a person is looking for more Social Security information, going online can help them find out almost anything they need to know about the Social Security program.

Information is available on subjects ranging from how to get a Social Security number for a newborn to returning to work while receiving disability benefits.

To reach the Social Security Administration by phone, call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. The office can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Generally, a person will have a shorter wait time if they call during the week after Tuesday. Automated information is available by phone 24 hours a day.

In addition, people can use the automated response system to report a new address or request a replacement Medicare card.

Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can call the TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

No matter how a person chooses to contact them, Social Security is available to assist. Try the website at socialsecurity.gov to get fast and convenient service.

Ed Evans is a Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Seattle

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