With St. Patrick's Day at its heart, March is a very green month. People celebrating the luck of the Irish wear green clothing, drink green beverages, and can even be found enjoying a shamrock milkshake from time to time.
We'd like to encourage you to go green in another way, too. Being environmentally friendly isn't an elusive pot of gold at the end of some rainbow -- it is something everyone can work toward with little steps. Reusing and recycling, planting a tree, and using Social Security's online services.
When you use Social Security's online services, there's no paper, printing, postage, or travel needed. Here are a few of our most popular online services:
• Try out our expanded my Social Security services, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. It's a one-stop shop to obtain a Social Security Statement for checking your earnings record or estimated future benefits, or (if you already get benefits) for checking your payment amount, changing your address and telephone number in our records, getting a benefit verification letter, and starting or changing your direct deposit information.
• Use our Retirement Estimator to get a quick and accurate estimate of your future Social Security retirement benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.
• Prepare for your retirement by visiting our Benefits Planner page. 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 at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners.
• 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.
• Apply online for Medicare benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly.
Go green with Social Security's online services this month and throughout the year. For a complete list of our online services, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.
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 email@example.com.