By Robert T. Simons
Many people save time by going online to take care of everyday tasks. For example, they shop online to avoid going to crowded malls or stores. They pay bills and check their account balances online to save a trip to the bank.
It's true of Social Security business, too. You can save a lot of time by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov.
Here, you can handle much of your Social Security business quickly and securely from your home or office computer.
At the Social Security website you can -
* create a my Social Security account for quick access to your information;
* get an instant, personalized estimate of your future Social Security benefits;
* apply for retirement, disability, spouse's, and Medicare benefits;
* check the status of your benefit application;
* change your address and phone number, if you receive monthly Social Security benefits;
* sign-up for direct deposit of Social Security benefits;
* use our benefit planners to help you better understand your Social Security options as you plan for your financial future;
* request a replacement Medicare card; and
* apply for Extra Help with your Medicare prescription drug costs.
Looking for more Social Security information? Go online to find out almost anything you need to know about the Social Security program. Information is available on subjects ranging from how to get a Social Security number for a newborn to returning to work while receiving disability benefits.
Here's another tip: going online is good for the planet. It saves more than just your time - it also saves paper, emissions and energy.
If you need to reach us by phone, you can call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. We treat all calls confidentially. We can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you'll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday. We can provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day. (You can use our automated response system to tell us a new address or request a replacement Medicare card.) If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.
No matter how you choose to contact us, Social Security is here to assist you. We encourage you to give our website a try. You'll get fast, convenient service by going to www.socialsecurity.gov.