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Declare your independence; go online

By: Angelo Bottoni, Your Social Security
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With Independence Day right around the corner, now is a good time to free yourself from the need to visit your local Social Security office. Go to www.socialsecurity.-gov to take care of important matters. Save yourself a trip by applying for retirement benefits online. Get started with your application at www.socialsecurity.gov/r&m2.htm. Or first, estimate your benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/calculators.htm. Have limited income and resources? Learn how to get extra help with the costs of Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage at www.social-security.gov.prescriptionhelp. Read about qualifying and applying for disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/d&s1.htm. Or qualify and apply for survivors benefits at www.socialsecurity.-gov/ww-&os2.htm. If you have Medicare coverage, you can get a replacement Medicare card by visiting www.socialsecurity.-gov/medi-info.htm. Or learn all about direct deposit – how to set it up or change your account info – by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/de-posit. You even can find fun facts such as a list of the most popular baby names at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/babynames. Social Security offers a list of online publications that will help save you time and effort. Most of the publications have been translated into Spanish, and the most popular publications have been translated into 15 different languages. You can find the translations by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/multilanguage. Also at www.socialsecurity.gov you'll find the answers to hundreds of frequently asked questions. You'll find answers to questions about Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and even Medicare. So declare your freedom from traffic jams and long waiting times. Save a trip to the office. Go to www.-socialsecurity.gov. Here are a couple of questions whose answer may be of some interest to you. Question: I need proof of my Social Security income. Can I get verification online? Answer: Some people who get Social Security or Supplemental Security Income Benefits need to get a statement of their benefit amount or other information to show proof of their income or benefits. Social Security can provide the information you need in a “proof of income letter.” When you request a proof of income letter, it will be mailed to your address in our records. You can request one online by visiting https://secure.ssa.gov/-apps6z/BEVE/main.html. Or call us at (800) 772-1213. Question: Are Social Security numbers re-assigned after a person dies? Answer: No. We do not re-assign Social Security numbers. To date, we have assigned more than 442 million Social Security numbers. And each year we assign about 5.5 million new numbers. For more information, visit our Web site at www.-socialsecurity.gov. – Angelo Bottoni is the director of the Social Security regional office in Roseville.