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Social Security Online
Social Security Update
September 2008

In This Issue:

Social Security Gets Money to Gulf Coast Residents Ahead of Hurricane Gustav; Creates Portal for Latest Information on Agency Services

Hurricane Season Is Another Reason to "Go Direct"

Estimate Your Future Social Security Benefits Online

New Publication Can Help People Decide When to Retire

Something to Say this Grandparents Day

Social Security Gets Money to Gulf Coast Residents Ahead of Hurricane Gustav; Creates Portal for Latest Information on Agency Services

hurricaneSocial Security worked closely with the Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Postal Service to deliver nearly 400,000 paper checks, as well as one million direct deposit benefit payments, to Gulf Coast residents from Texas to Florida on August 29th and 30th, rather than on the regularly scheduled payment date of September 3rd.

"It was critically important to get Social Security payments to people all along the Gulf Coast," said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. "Delivering these checks early to residents from Texas to Florida eliminated one concern people had as they prepared for the storm." Click here to read more.

With the threat of storms like Hanna, Ike and Josephine following right behind Hurricane Gustav, Social Security has created a special portal page to keep you up-to-date on the services available to people who live in the affected areas. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/hurricane to get the latest throughout the rest of this hurricane season.

 
Hurricane Season Is Another Reason to "Go Direct"

When it comes to receiving benefit payments from Social Security, it’s best to be direct. For years, Direct Deposit has been the safest, fastest, and easiest way for people to receive their payments—and it still is the best way to get your benefit payment if you have a bank account.

To learn more or to sign up for Direct Deposit visit www.socialsecurity.gov/deposit.

Now, there’s an alternative for people who don’t have a bank account: Direct Express. Direct Express

With Direct Express we automatically deposit your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefit payment to your Direct Express card account. The card can be used to make purchases, pay bills or get cash at thousands of locations, and most services are free.

In June, the Department of Treasury began the roll-out of Direct Express and by this fall, Direct Express will be available nationwide.

Although Direct Deposit is still the best payment method for people with bank accounts, we hope you’ll encourage those who do not have bank accounts and who still receive paper checks to give Direct Express a try.

To learn more or to sign up for Direct Express visit www.fms.treas.gov/directexpresscard/

Estimate Your Future Social Security Benefits Online

Estimate your retirement benefits!Estimating your future retirement benefits is now easier than ever before at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator

The online Retirement Estimator is a personalized, convenient and secure financial planning tool that lets you calculate how much you might expect to receive in Social Security benefits when you retire.

Since it is tied to your actual Social Security earnings record, the Retirement Estimator eliminates the need for you to manually key in years of earnings information. It also is interactive and allows you to compare different retirement options by changing your “stop work” dates or expected future earnings. To protect your privacy, only your benefit estimates are provided online. The Retirement Estimator does not reveal any of your personal information, such as your address or earnings information.

Take a couple of minutes to try it out for yourself at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. Then, spread the word. Not having time is no longer an excuse—getting an estimate of your benefits is quick and easy at www.socialsecurity.gov. 

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New Publication Can Help People Decide When to Retire

When To Start Receiving Retirement BenefitsIt’s never too early to begin thinking about retirement. When you do, here’s a common question: “When’s the best time to start receiving Social Security retirement benefits?” There’s no one “best age” for everyone and, ultimately, it is your choice.

With that in mind, Social Security has published a new fact sheet to help you make an educated decision. It covers the things to consider when thinking about retiring, emphasizes that the decision depends on a number of factors and offers information on family benefits, as well as working while receiving benefits. It even includes a chart showing how monthly benefits differ based on the age someone decides to retire. 

When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits is available in English and Spanish at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10147.html.

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Something to Say this Grandparents Day

GrandparentsSeptember 7 is National Grandparents Day, and we’d like your help in encouraging people to tell their grandparents about some extra help they may be able to receive to pay their Medicare prescription drug costs. People who receive Medicare and who have limited income and resources may be eligible for extra help — available through Social Security — to pay part of their monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. The extra help could be worth up to $3,600 per year.

This September 7 have something more to say than just “Happy Grandparents Day.” Spread the word about extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs. The place to go is www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.

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