published Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Social Security: How to apply online for Social Security

By Gregory Holmes
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    Gregory Holmes, district manager for Social Security

Q. Can I apply online for retirement benefits?

A. Yes. In fact, almost half of all individuals apply for retirement benefits online. Join the millions of Americans who have saved a trip to a Social Security office and applied the quickest and easiest way—online. In as little as 15 minutes you can submit your application electronically. In most cases, once you’ve submitted your application, you’re done and there are no forms to sign or documents to send in. If we do need more information to process your application, a representative will contact you. For more information about applying online, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Q. If I go back to work, will I automatically lose my Social Security disability benefits?

A. No. Social Security has several work incentive programs to help people who want to work. You may be able to receive monthly benefits and continue your health care coverage during a trial work period. For information about Social Security’s work incentives and how they can help you return to work, you should:

• Visit our special work site at www.socialsecurity.gov/work.

• See the Red Book on work incentives at www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook.

• Check out our publications at www.social security.gov/pubs and type “work” in the search box.

Q. I am receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Can my children receive dependent’s benefits based on my benefits?

A. No. SSI benefits are based on the needs of one individual and are paid only to the qualifying person. Disabled children are potentially eligible for SSI, but there are no spouse’s, dependent children’s, or survivors benefits payable as there are with Social Security benefits. For more information, see our publication, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Simply type the title of the publication in the publication search box on the left side of the page. You also may want to read Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI), available at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/text-understanding-ssi.htm.

Gregory Holmes is the district director for the Social Security office in Chattanooga. If you have Social Security questions, email them to dflessner@timesfreepress.com.

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