published Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Social Security: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month: Use online services

By Gregory Holmes
  • photo
    Gregory Holmes, district manager for Social Security

Hispanic Heritage Month began on Sept. 15, and whether you prefer communicating in English or Spanish, there are some important online services we’d like you to know about. You can find them at www.socialsecurity.gov and at our Spanish site, www.segurosocial.gov

If you are ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits now, you can do it quickly and easily on your home or office computer. The online application takes as little as 15 minutes. Once you complete the online application and “sign” it with the click of a mouse, your application is complete. In most cases, there are no documents to submit or additional paperwork to fill out. Online is the easiest way to apply, and you can do it in English or Spanish.

In addition to applying for Social Security retirement benefits, you also can apply for Medicare — in as little as 10 minutes, from start to finish.

But you can do

more than apply for benefits. You can find a lot of information and a number of online services that allow you to complete your Social Security business online, in English or Spanish. One of the most popular is our Retirement Estimator, which provides an instant, personalized estimate of your future Social Security benefits. Using the actual wages posted in your Social Security record, the Estimator will give you a good picture of what to expect in benefits. It protects your personal information by providing only retirement benefit estimates — it does not show the earnings information used to calculate the benefit estimate, nor does it reveal other identifying information. You can plug in different retirement scenarios and future wage amounts to get estimates for different situations.

If you already are entitled to Medicare and are having trouble with the cost of prescription drugs, you might qualify for Extra Help from Social Security. The Extra Help can save you as much as $4,000 each year. You can learn all about it and apply online.

Submit questions to local Social Security Director Gregory Holmes by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at dflessner@timesfreepress.com.

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