Social Security’s many online services
There’s probably been a time in your life when you’ve wondered, “Can I do this online instead of visiting a Social Security office?” The answer is more than likely yes, and you can find more information about our online services at www.ssa.gov/onlineservices. Online, you can apply for retirement and disability benefits, appeal a decision, and do much more.
We’ve organized our Online Services webpage into four popular categories for easy navigation:
• Review Your Information. You can access your secure, personal information and earnings history to make sure everything is correct.
• Apply for Benefits. You can apply for retirement, disability and Medicare benefits without having to visit a local Social Security office.
• Manage Your Account. You can change your direct deposit information and your address, if you are receiving benefits, online.
• Find Help and Answers. You can find answers to your most frequently asked questions, as well as links to publications and other informational websites.
You can also access personalized information with your my Social Security account. This is a useful resource even if you are not receiving benefits. You can: request a replacement Social Security number or Medicare card, get personalized retirement benefit estimates, get estimates for spouse’s benefits, print proof that you do not receive benefits, check your application or appeal status and read your Social Security Statement.
If you are receiving benefits, you can: request a replacement Social Security number or Medicare card, set up or change direct deposit, print a Social Security 1099 (SSA-1099) form, opt out of mailed notices for those available online, print a benefit verification letter and change your address.
Please let your family and friends know they can do much of their business with us online at www.ssa.gov.
Q: My doctor said he thinks I’m disabled. Who decides if I meet the requirements for Social Security disability benefits?
A: We first will review your application to make sure you meet some basic requirements for Social Security disability benefits, such as whether you worked enough years to qualify. Then we will send your application to the disability determination services office in your state, often called the “DDS” or “state agency.” Your state agency completes the disability decision for us. Doctors and disability specialists in the state agency ask your doctors for information about your condition. They consider all the facts in your case. They use the medical evidence from your doctors and hospitals, clinics or institutions where you have been treated and all other information.
The state agency staff may need more medical information before they can decide if you are disabled. If more information is not available from your current medical sources, the state agency may ask you to go for a special examination. We prefer to ask your own doctor, but sometimes the exam may have to be done by someone else. Social Security will pay for the exam and for some of the related travel costs. Learn more at www.ssa.gov/disability.
Q: I have a 38-year-old son who has been disabled by cerebral palsy since birth. I plan to apply for retirement benefits. Will he be eligible for benefits as my disabled child?
A: Yes. In general, an adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because we pay it on the parent’s Social Security earnings record.
The “adult child” — including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild or stepgrandchild — must be unmarried, age 18 or older, and have a disability that started before age 22.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213 or visit www.socialsecurity.gov.