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Discover new Social Security services online

In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. That may be a rhyme some remember from grade school when learning about Christopher Columbus and his voyage that would lead him to discover the New World.

Individuals can discover a new world of information and services at www.socialsecurity.gov.

For example, residents can apply online for Social Security retirement benefits.

Not sure whether you’re ready for retirement? Social Security can help plot the course with its online benefit planners. Perhaps the most impressive of these planners is the online retirement estimator, which can be used to get quick and accurate estimates of retirement benefits based on different scenarios. Individuals also can apply online for disability benefits and even apply online for help to pay the costs of the Medicare prescription drug program at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Information on retirement, survivors, disability, Supple-mental Security Income and Medicare are easily accessible on Social Security’s homepage at www.socialsecurity.gov. But the website offers much more. The site allows citizens to discover the entire Social Security program.

A good place to set sail into the retirement planning winds is the retirement estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. An instant, personalized estimate of the future retirement benefits can be discovered. Plug in different information, such as projected future wages or different retirement dates, to get varied benefit estimates that will help individuals decide when to draw up the anchor and venture into the seas of retirement.

Another great place on the horizon of the website is “my Social Security.” Create an online account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and obtain quick and easy access to see and update information.

Individuals can use my Social Security to get estimates regarding retirement, disability and survivors’ benefits, view earnings records and estimate the Social Security and Medicare taxes paid so far.

For those already receiving Social Security benefits, use the account to get an instant benefit verification letter, check benefit and payment information, and to address, phone number and direct deposit information changes.

Come aboard now at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

-Michael Webb is a Social Security Affairs specialist working at the Seattle office of the administration.

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