This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.
Social Security Online
Social Security Update
December 2011

In This Issue:

Patty Duke Applies Online for Social Security and Medicare

Patty DukeAfter years of telling people they can apply online for Social Security in their pajamas, Patty Duke has taken her own advice. Duke, who turned 65 earlier this month, applied online for retirement and Medicare benefits from home at

“I urge my fellow baby boomers to go online to," said Duke. "If you’re not sure how to get started on the computer, ask a loved one to help you out. I did, and it was so easy.”

Watch the YouTube video of Patty Duke applying for benefits at

Facebook and Twitter Keep Us In Touch

facebook & twitterYou already get this newsletter to keep you in the know about important Social Security news and reminders. Perhaps you also subscribe to email updates, which you can do on many pages of by simply clicking “Get email updates” next to the red envelope. But how would you like to get quick tidbits of news more often? There are two ways you can.

One is to “like” us on Facebook. Simply click the Facebook icon at the top right corner of our website and then select “like.” More than 18,000 people already get these regular updates.

If you like your information snippets even shorter, you can select the Twitter icon at the top right corner of our page and click the “follow” button. Nearly 5,000 people currently follow our tweets.

Whether you prefer posts, tweets, or good old fashioned email alerts, you can find them all at

Social Security Applicants to “Sign” Release Forms Electronically

""Beginning in April, many people applying for Social Security disability benefits will be able to sign and submit the Authorization to Disclose Information to Social Security (Form SSA-827) form electronically, as the last part of the online process.

Social Security requests more than 15 million medical records each year on behalf of people applying for disability benefits. A signed SSA-827 accompanies each request. By accepting electronically signed forms, medical providers will help their patients’ claims go through faster. On average, this should reduce disability application processing time by nine days per claim.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other applicable laws permit the use of electronic signatures, and Social Security is encouraging medical providers to treat the new electronic signature the same as they would a “wet” signature on the SSA-827.

Learn more about applying for disability benefits online at

Looking Back and Looking Forward

2012 Happy New YearWe’d like to share our 2011 Performance and Accountability Report with you. The report combines the agency's annual performance report with its audited financial statements to provide full disclosure of financial and programmatic operations. It also describes Social Security's programs and organization, and how the agency benefits the public and achieves its mission.

Please look for it at

We look forward to working with you to reach our common goals in 2012. Happy New Year from all of us at Social Security.

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