This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.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

In This Issue:

Agency Executive Wins "Service to America" Medal


Diane Braunstein received the 2011 Citizen Services Medal from the Partnership for Public Service at this month's Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals ceremony. The Heyman Medals pay tribute to outstanding public servants who have made contributions to the health, safety, and well-being of Americans.

Ms. Braunstein, now Associate Commissioner for International Programs, oversaw the development of the Compassionate Allowances program, which fast-tracks benefits for Americans with the most serious disabilities. The legacy of Ms Braunstein's work with Compassionate Allowances will expand access to disability benefits to Americans with the most severe disabilities, while reducing the backlog of disability applications as well as the burden on the private sector.

Learn more about Compassionate Allowances, and Diane Braunstein's award, by reading the press release at

January Retirees Should Apply Now

""If you or your clients are looking to retire in January 2012, now is the time to apply. The best place to apply is online at It's so easy!

In most cases, as soon as an application is submitted electronically, that's it. There are no forms to sign or paperwork to complete. In rare cases when we need additional information, Social Security will contact you. You're always first in line when you go online at

We're an online leader in Spanish, too!


Social Security is a leader in providing information and services online in both English and Spanish.

The website features more than 100 public information pamphlets, leaflets, and fact sheets in Spanish. It also allows visitors to sign-up for direct deposit, and locate their nearest Social Security office.

One of the best features of the site is the Retirement Estimator located at The Estimator allows users to receive an instant, personalized estimate of future retirement benefits in Spanish.

More exciting services are coming soon to Social Security's Spanish-language website. Stay tuned to

Open Season for Medicare Prescription Drug Program

""The next open season for enrollment in the Medicare prescription drug program will run from October 15 to December 7. Newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries, and current beneficiaries who are considering changes to their Medicare plan, should mark their calendars for October 15.

The Medicare prescription drug program is available to all Medicare beneficiaries to help with the costs of medications. Joining a Medicare prescription drug plan is voluntary, and participants pay an additional monthly premium for the coverage.

While all Medicare beneficiaries can participate in the prescription drug program, some people with limited income and resources also are eligible for Extra Help to pay for monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. The Extra Help is worth about $4,000 per year. Learn how to apply online for the Extra Help at

Learn more about Medicare at

Towards Greater Openness

""At Social Security, we are committed to transparency, participation and collaboration in our communications with the public. In support of President Obama's UN General Assembly presentation on his global Open Government Partnership Plan, we published a summary of our own efforts and achievements in this arena. In it, we describe how Social Security is sharing more data, expanding opportunities for public dialogue and participation, and using technology to collaborate in ways we could not have imagined a few years ago.

See the summary at

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