This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.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

In This Issue:

Keeping Payments Proper

improper payments Each month Social Security pays nearly $60 billion in benefits to almost 60 million beneficiaries. We are committed to making those payments timely and accurately, and we strive to protect taxpayer dollars by minimizing improper payments, which is why we made preserving the public's trust in our programs a strategic goal. We're happy to report that more than 99 percent of all Social Security payments are accurate; Supplemental Security Income payments are 91.6 percent accurate.

Efforts to prevent, detect, and collect improper payments are complex, and require knowledgeable employees to analyze the cases and make decisions. Our employees are our best defense against improper payments. That's why it is important that Congress support the critical funding President Obama requested for Social Security.

Learn more about this subject by reading Deputy Commissioner Carolyn Colvin's testimony before Congress.

Learn more about our efforts to reduce improper payments at our website.

Three Years of the Retirement Estimator

retirement estimator

It's been three years since Social Security's Retirement Estimator went online. Within months of its launch, the online application was praised as one of the highest-rated online services around, and it has consistently remained so every year.

Results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) show Social Security's online Retirement Estimator in one of the top two spots, with a score of 90. (Social Security's online benefit application took the top spot.) The ACSI is the only uniform, national, cross-industry measure of satisfaction with the quality of goods and services available in the United States. The Retirement Estimator ranks higher than the websites of any other public and private sector agencies and companies, including the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

Millions of people have used the Retirement Estimator. Please encourage your clients to try it out for a quick, personalized estimate of future retirement benefits by sending them to It's also available in Spanish, at

If It's Not .Gov, It's Not Social Security

socialsecurity.govPlease tell your clients to be careful when exploring the Internet for Social Security services.

There are websites that charge people for free Social Security services. Some of these sites, at first glance, appear to be affiliated with Social Security. But they're actually for-profit sites charging a fee for what should be free. For instance, a quick Google search on "replacing a Social Security card" brings up paid advertisements for sites that charge just to get an application for a new card—something anyone can do for free at

So tell your clients to boldly go to, and make sure they look for the ".gov" sign along the way.

Direct Deposit One Step Ahead of Hurricane Season

Go Direct

With the 2011 hurricane season under way, people still receiving paper checks from Social Security should sign up for Direct Deposit.

Direct Deposit is a secure and convenient way to receive Social Security payments, particularly when a natural disaster strikes. Having funds available in the event of a storm is critically important. Eighty-seven percent of people receiving benefits already take advantage of Direct Deposit.

As of May 1, 2011, anyone who applies for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits must receive payments electronically, and all current beneficiaries must switch to electronic payments by March 1, 2013. Why wait? Encourage your clients to sign up today at

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