This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.

Social Security Online
Social Security Update
December 2010
In This Issue:

Social Security’s Retirement Estimator is in Spanish

Treasury Issues Final Rule on Electronic Payments

Your Clients May Qualify for New Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan

Getting Income Verification Online is Easy

Medicare General Enrollment is Near

Robert M. Ball Memorialized at Social Security Headquarters

Social Security During the Holidays

Social Security’s Retirement Estimator is in Spanish

Don FranciscoSocial Security’s most popular online service, the Retirement Estimator, is now available in Spanish at www.segurosocial.gov/calculador. The Retirement Estimator uses a person’s own Social Security earnings record to provide immediate and personalized benefit estimates. To publicize the website and the new Spanish-language service, Social Security has enlisted the help of the widely popular host of Sábado Gigante, Don Francisco.

“The Retirement Estimator is the first of our online services available in Spanish,” said Commissioner Michael J. Astrue. “But we are not stopping there. We are working to make our online retirement application and Medicare Extra Help application available in Spanish next year. Until then, visit www.segurosocial.gov to estimate your benefits and learn more about Social Security.”

Check out the Spanish-language Retirement Estimator and watch a quick video with Don Francisco now at www.segurosocial.gov/calculador.

Treasury Issues Final Rule on Electronic Payments

Go Direct LogoThe U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued a final rule to extend the safety and convenience of electronic payments to all Americans receiving Social Security and other federal benefit and non-tax payments. Under the rule, anyone applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011 will receive their payments electronically, while those already receiving paper checks will need to switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013.

“Eight in 10 federal benefit recipients already use direct deposit, and now millions of additional retirees, veterans and other Americans will also receive their money in the safest, most reliable way – electronically,” says Treasury Fiscal Assistant Secretary Richard L. Gregg. “This important change will provide significant savings to American taxpayers who will no longer incur the annual $120 million price tag associated with paper checks and will save Social Security $1 billion over the next 10 years.”

To learn more about electronic payments or to sign up, please visit www.GoDirect.org.

(Back to Top)

Your Clients May Qualify for New Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan

Your Clients May Qualify for New Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Do you have clients who find it hard to obtain insurance due to pre-existing conditions? Please let them know they may be eligible for the new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan — a program for people who have a pre-existing condition and have been without health coverage for at least six months. The program may vary depending on what state you live in.  In some states, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with the help of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Finance Center, will run the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan; other states have requested to run the program themselves. For more information, call toll-free: 1-866-717-5826 (TTY 1-866-561-1604). Or visit www.pcip.gov and select “Find Your State” to learn about eligibility and how to apply.

(Back to Top)

Getting Income Verification Online is Easy

Getting Income Verification Online is EasyIf you have a client who needs verification of income from Social Security, rest assured that obtaining it is easy and convenient. The place to go is www.socialsecurity.gov. Just look in the left column under “Top Services,” open the “Services for people currently receiving benefits” section, and select “Request a Proof of Income letter” to get a letter by mail that verifies Social Security benefit information. This letter can be used for any reason that someone requires proof of income. In addition to offering proof of income, the letter is an official document that verifies Medicare coverage, retirement or disability status, and age. Tell your clients to get their income verification at www.socialsecurity.gov

(Back to Top)

Medicare General Enrollment is Near

Medicare LogoThe general enrollment period for Medicare Part B runs from January 1 through March 31. Medicare is a medical insurance program for retired and disabled people. Some people are covered only by one type of Medicare (Part A, hospital insurance); others opt to pay extra for more coverage. Part B helps pay for doctors' fees, outpatient hospital visits, and other medical services and supplies.

In 2011, the standard premium for Part B is $115.40. Some individuals do pay more than the standard premium if they have higher income and resources, or if they enroll later than their initial enrollment period, or later than when they first become eligible. However, there are exceptions.

For more information about Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov. Or read our publication on Medicare at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10043.html.

(Back to Top)

Robert M. Ball Memorialized at Social Security Headquarters

Robert M. BallPresident Obama has signed legislation naming the Operations Building at Social Security headquarters in Baltimore the “Robert M. Ball Federal Building.” Robert Ball was the longest-serving Commissioner of Social Security, and his dedication to the agency and its programs lasted until his death in 2008.

Learn more about Robert M. Ball from an article in the Social Security Bulletin at www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v68n3/v68n3p67.html.

(Back to Top)

Social Security During the Holidays

Social Security During the Holidays If your clients must do business with Social Security during the holidays, it is possible they may experience more busy signals on the telephone and longer wait times in local offices. We encourage anyone who needs to do business with us over the busy holiday season to go online to www.socialsecurity.gov.

Happy holidays from all of us at Social Security.

Subscribe to Social Security Update today and you'll always be in the know when it comes to Social Security news. All we need is your e-mail address.

Subscribe HereSubscribe here.

(Back to Top)

Privacy Policy | Website Policies & Other Important Information | Site Map