Americans have been explorers long before we declared our independence on July 4, 1776.
Colonists were brave enough to venture across the seas to settle in the unknown frontier of the New World. From there, westward expansion eventually took them from the East Coast to the West.
Then came the space race, and imagined places to explore. Shows like "Star Trek" called space the final frontier. But we've since found new frontiers, such as cyberspace.
If you've used Social Security's website, then you know that cyberspace no longer is a strange, uncharted territory.
Social Security's online services are so easy to navigate, even Kirk could use them (as Patty Duke tells George Takei in one of our new public service announcements). Check them out at www.socialsecurity.gov/boldlygo.
What are some of the things you can do easily at www.socialsecurity.gov?
* Use our Retirement Estimator, www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator, to get an instant, personalized estimate of your future Social Security retirement benefits.
* Visit our Benefits Planner, www.socialsecurity.gov/planners, where you can get started right away planning for a secure retirement. You also can go here to use the disability and survivors planners to find out how much you or your family might qualify for if the need arises.
* Retire online! You can complete and submit your retirement application in as little as 15 minutes at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline.
* Apply online for disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability.
There's even more you can do at www.socialsecurity.gov.
If you're feeling adventurous and want to explore, look around our home page, read some of our publications, and take advantage of our most popular services at the left side of the screen. You even can chart a course for our frequently asked questions.
It wasn't fireworks and parades that made America what it is today.
It was our adventurous spirit, our desire to explore new places. We encourage you to explore the final frontier for your Social Security business at www.socialsecurity.gov.
Get answers to your Social Security questions each Thursday from Social Security District Director Martin Coffey. Submit questions by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org