Expanded SSI Application Window for Foster Kids

Date: September 13, 2016

The transition to adulthood is one of the most important parts of life’s journey. For foster children living with a disability, it can be even more challenging. Social Security is conducting a pilot study that will let these young people apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits sooner.

Since 2010, their rules have allowed foster children to apply for this program up to 90 days before their foster care eligibility will end. This lessens the risk that these young people will experience a gap in income support while Social Security considers their application. However, in some cases the decision process lasts longer than 90 days.

On August 1, 2016, Social Security implemented a year-long pilot study doubling the SSI application window to 180 days before foster care eligibility ends. This pilot will help them assess whether the longer period significantly reduces the number of individuals experiencing gaps in income support. After a year, they will decide whether to make the policy permanent.

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What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18

Labor Community Chat

Event Date: August 31, 2016

The Social Security Administration is hosting a conference call with labor organizations on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The event will focus on retirement security for the nation’s workers. During the call we will discuss:

  • How Social Security fits into a well-rounded financial plan;
  • What’s new from Social Security’s Chief Actuary;
  • Understanding our benefit rules that affect some people who have worked in employment not covered by Social Security; and
  • How we can collaborate to educate America’s workers about the need to plan and save for the future.

Please register here to participate.

We welcome your participation in this important conversation on how to help the nation’s workforce prepare for retirement.

Update to the my Social Security Changes

Date: August 15, 2016

On July 30, 2016, Social Security began requiring new and current my Social Security account holders to sign into their account using a one-time code sent via text message. This second layer of security that requires more than a username and a password is known as “multifactor authentication.” Although we have always provided the “extra security” option to account holders, we implemented this new process to comply with the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Security of Consumer Financial Transactions.

We have a fundamental responsibility to protect the public’s personal information. However, multifactor authentication inconvenienced or restricted access to some of our account holders. We’re listening to the public’s concerns and are responding by temporarily rolling back this mandate.

As before July 30, current account holders will be able to access their secure account using only their username and password. We highly recommend the extra security text message option, but it will not be required. Now, we are developing an alternative authentication option, besides text messaging, that we will begin implementing within the next six months.

We strive to balance security and customer service options, and we want to ensure that our online services are both easy to use and secure. The my Social Security service has always featured a robust verification and authentication process, and it remains safe and secure.

We regret any inconvenience you or your clients may have experienced.

There is no requirement that you access your personal my Social Security account as a result of the steps we are taking. However, when you do access your account, we encourage you to sign up for the extra security text message option. You can access your account by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

my Social Security Changes

Date: August 5, 2016

Our my Social Security customers now have an extra layer of security. my Social Security account holders must now use their cell phone — in addition to their username and password — as another authentication factor during online registration and every sign in. When our customers register or sign in, we send them a security code that they must enter to finish the process.

We have always offered this extra security feature, but until now it has been an optional step. This new requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Any agency that provides online access to a customer’s personal information must use multifactor authentication. We take the security of the public’s information very seriously, and we are committed to employing the best technologies and standards available.

Our research shows that an overwhelming majority of American adults have cell phones and use them for texting. Because of technical and resource constraints, we are not currently able to offer alternative methods of satisfying this security requirement. However, we may consider adding more options in the future. We appreciate your patience as we work continuously to secure your online information.

For more information about the use of a cell phone with my Social Security, visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page.

Please help us spread the word about this important change. Social Security is securing today and tomorrow with critical benefits and technology to protect your personal information. We appreciate everything you do to keep the public informed about our programs and services.

Join us for a live webcast, Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning: A Focus on Women

Event Date: July 27, 2016

Join us today at 2 PM EDT for a special live webcast, Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning: A Focus on Women. The webcast is hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor and will feature speakers from the Social Security Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Administration on Community Living. Learn the essential information every woman 10 to 15 years from retirement should know about retirement planning.

Registration is required to watch the live webcast. Please register here.

Join Us for the Open Government Plan 4.0 National Conference Call

Event Date: May 3, 2016

On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at 1:00 PM EDT, Alan Lane, Executive Director for the Office of Open Government will lead a discussion of the highlights of Open Government Plan 4.0. We want to hear your thoughts on: the types of data you would like made publicly available; innovative ideas for using open government techniques; principles to help improve our services; and suggestions on other opportunities for collaboration or new initiatives we should be considering. You can review a draft outline of our Open Government Plan 4.0 here, and you can learn more information about Open Government by visiting the following site.

If you would like to join the conversation, please register online to participate here.

Ending Homelessness: Lessons Learned from the Commonwealth of Virginia

Event Date: April 28, 2016

The Social Security Administration and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness are co-hosting an event at Hampton University in Hampton, VA on Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. EDT titled “Ending Homelessness: Lessons Learned from the Commonwealth of Virginia.” The event will focus on proving better service to people experiencing homelessness. Representatives from federal agencies, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and community-based partner organizations will share successful strategies in the fight against homelessness. There will be two featured panels discussing “How to Apply Virginia’s Success in Other States/Cities” and “Bridging the Gaps in Service that Remain.” If you are available to participate in-person, please register here.

Promoting Retirement Security Makes Good Business Sense

Event Date: April 5, 2016

The Social Security Administration and the US Chamber of Commerce are co-hosting an event in Washington, DC on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 8:45 a.m. EDT titled “Promoting Retirement Security Makes Good Business Sense”. The event will highlight Social Security and the business community’s commitment to the American public on financial security and retirement readiness. There will be two featured panels discussing the Current State of Retirement Security and Increasing Retirement Readiness. If you are available to participate in-person, please register here. Alternatively, you can watch the live webcast! Have a question you would like to see answered on the day of the event? Post your question to @SSAOutreach using the hashtag #RETSCC.

National my Social Security Week

Event Date: April 4-13, 2016
my Social Security Week

This year, we will hold National my Social Security Week April 4 – 13, 2016, during Financial Literacy Month. Join us in getting the word out by promoting activities and events in your area.

To help raise awareness, we are providing our partners with a toolkit that includes web graphics, social media posts, web banners, and other ready-to-use content to help us spread the word about the importance of opening a my Social Security account.

Creating a my Social Security account gives workers access to their personalized Social Security Statement. As an added feature this year, we are setting aside Thursday, April 7, 2016 as Check Your Statement Day, during which time we will encourage workers to access and review their Social Security Statement and join the millions who regularly check their Statement.

You can help with this effort too, by supporting our Thunderclap campaign to rally the public and using social media to encourage workers to check their Statement every year. This is important because we base your future benefits on your recorded earnings. Your Statement can help you plan for your financial future. We encourage you to go online to my Social Security to access your Statement whenever you have a change of employment or wish to verify any changes in your benefit estimate.

This public education campaign will inspire workers to plan and save for the future. On average, Social Security replaces only about 40 percent of pre-retirement income. Yet more than a third of American workers have nothing set aside for retirement. That’s a distressing statistic!

We encourage you to review the toolkit and contact us by email to explore how you can help. Thank you in advance for helping us make this campaign a success!

National Disability Forum

Event Date: March 30, 2016

Please join us for the next National Disability Forum on March 30, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. EDT in Washington, DC. The topic of the forum is “Developing and Assessing Medical Evidence for Extreme Limitations in the Ability to Focus on Tasks. ”

The forum will address the following questions:

  • At what level do impairment-related limitation in attention, concentration, and persistence cause off-task behavior to the extent a person could not do any job in the national economy?
  • What standard tests or questionnaires already exist for assessing attention, concentration, and persistence?
  • Who should we consult to help us gauge a person’s capacity to focus on job-related tasks?
  • What does precious research tell us about employer expectations around productivity?

To register for the forum please visit https://www.research.net/r/March2016NationalDisabilityForum. To learn more about the National Disability Forum series visit www.ssa.gov/ndf/.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at oea.net.post@ssa.gov.

Closing retirement benefit loopholes

Posted: March 28, 2016

You may have heard that some of our rules about claiming retirement benefits are changing. Last November, Congress passed legislation to close loopholes that had allowed some married couples to receive higher benefits than intended. We estimate less than 0.2 percent of total Social Security retirement and survivor’s beneficiaries used these claiming strategies in 2014.

Closing these loopholes helps restore fairness and strengthens Social Security’s long-term financing. For details about the closed loopholes, visit our Social Security Matters blog post.

Please tell your members and constituents why Congress made these changes in the law. While you have their attention, you may also want to remind them about the advantages of waiting to claim retirement benefits. That hasn’t changed.

Thank you for helping us to keep the public informed!

Can’t find your card? Request a new one online!

Posted: January 28, 2016

Most people seldom need to show their Social Security card. For those who need their card and can’t find it, it’s reassuring to know they can request a replacement through the mail or by visiting their local Social Security office.

However, some of our customers now have the additional option of requesting a replacement Social Security card online. To take advantage of this new service option, you must:

  • Have or create a my Social Security account;
  • Have a valid driver’s license issued by the District of Columbia, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, or Wisconsin. (In some states, you may also be able to use a state-issued identification card. We plan to add more states in the future);
  • Be age 18 or older and a United States citizen with a domestic U.S. mailing address (this includes APO, FPO, and DPO addresses); and
  • Not be requesting a name change or any other changes to your card.

IMPORTANT: You may not always need to replace a lost or stolen card. For more information about replacing Social Security cards — and help with deciding when to show your card — see our online publication Your Social Security Number and Card.

No matter where they live, our customers can also use their personal my Social Security account to:

  • Keep track of their earnings and verify them every year; and
  • Get an estimate of their future benefits if they are still working.

If they currently receive benefits, they can:

  • Get a letter with proof of their benefits;
  • Change their address;
  • Start or change direct deposit;
  • Get a replacement Medicare card; and
  • Get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for tax season.

It’s free, fast, and secure!

Thank you for helping us spread the word about my Social Security and this latest enhancement. By offering more choices, we’re making it easier than ever for our customers to take care of their important Social Security business.

Webinar: Small Business and Social Security: What You Need To Know

Date: January 28, 2016 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time

Join the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Social Security Administration for a webinar about services and programs for small business owners. During this webinar, small business owners will learn about:

  • Online services to help with W-2 reporting and Social Security Number Verifications;
  • How to create a free my Social Security account;
  • How to use the my Social Securityaccount new feature to apply for a replacement Social Security card online; and
  • Other programs available to you and your employees.

Tune in for some tips on how to make the most of using our services and we will answer your questions live!

Register today to attend our live web conference: http://ems7.intellor.com/index.cgi?p=702263&t=1&do=register&s=&rID=25&edID

Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act – November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016

Posted: November 2, 2015

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act started on November 1st. In 2010, just before the Affordable Care Act took effect, 49.95 million individuals had no health insurance. In fact, since the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act became law, about 16.4 million uninsured people have gained coverage, but we have a long way to go to cover millions more.

Millions of Americans count on HealthCare.gov for quality and affordable health coverage. This includes numerous individuals from constituencies we serve. Open Enrollment for 2016 coverage runs from November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016. To start the new year with coverage, individuals must sign up by December 15, 2015.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has identified segments of the populations who remain uninsured, but are eligible to receive coverage through the marketplace. Social Security is teaming up with HHS to conduct outreach events across the country to reach these uninsured populations and educate them about Social Security benefits and how to #GetCovered through HealthCare.gov.  Providing affordable health care and preventative healthcare services decreases the likelihood of long term disability and the need for Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income.

If you have any upcoming events or activities that you would like for us to participate in, complete the form at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/ask-for-a-speaker.html or contact Diandra Taylor at oea.net.post@ssa.gov.

2016 Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Announcement

Posted: October 15, 2015

Each year, Social Security calculates the automatic cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), if any, that our program beneficiaries will receive the following year. For years when there is a Social Security COLA, this adjustment is intended to keep inflation from eroding the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits.

The law does not provide for a Social Security COLA for 2016. The Social Security Act requires us to base this calculation on changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers , known as the CPI-W. Because the CPI-W has not increased, there will be no COLA for 2016.

For important details and related information concerning this announcement, please see our press release

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Issue Paper and Statistical Fact Sheets

Posted: September 3, 2015

As we commemorate Labor Day, this is a perfect time to focus attention on the disability protections that workers pay for through taxes on their earnings. We are happy to announce the release of two rich online data resources for researchers, advocates, and policymakers concerning the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Our new state SSDI fact sheets and national SSDI issue paper make it easy to see exactly how this vital safety net is safeguarding workers and their families in every community across America.

About the New Online Resources

The repository of state SSDI fact sheets includes a separate fact sheet for every U.S. state, as well as for non-state Congressional districts like Washington, D.C. and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. For each state or jurisdiction, they show:

  • How many disabled workers, children of insured workers, and spouses of insured workers are receiving SSDI benefits, and the relative sizes of these groups;
  • The average annual SSDI benefit in relation to the poverty threshold;
  • The total annual benefits for all SSDI beneficiaries; and
  • A breakdown by Congressional district showing the number of disabled workers, children of insured workers, and spouses of insured workers receiving SSDI benefits; the average monthly benefit for these groups; and the total monthly benefits for the district.

The data-packed national SSDI issue paper describes five fundamental tenets that Congress used as a basis for establishing the DI program nearly 60 years ago. The authors then go on to examine whether and to what extent today’s program adheres to these core principles. I think you will find it to be an informative and thought-provoking read, as well as a valuable research tool.

Follow our new Twitter account for advocates

Posted: June 17, 2015

Social Security’s Office of External Affairs is now on Twitter! Follow @SSAOutreach to get the latest updates on our national and regional outreach efforts. We created this new Twitter account for our partners in the advocacy community and third parties who serve the public.

Follow @SSAOutreach to:

  • Get the latest news on our events, policy updates, and Social Security services.

  • Hear from Social Security’s Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin and our senior executives about current topics

  • Get live tweets from important conferences and meetings, like our National Quarterly Advocates Conference Call coming up on June 17.

  • Find out what’s new at Social Security with communities your organization serves—such as American Indians and Alaska Natives, African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, immigrants, people with disabilities, homeless populations, same-sex couples, veterans, women, and young people.

  • Keep up with news for appointed representatives, financial planners, health and school professionals, human resource experts, Medicare outreach organizations, representative payees, faith-based leaders, and other third parties with an interest in our programs and services.

  • Retweet items of value to your network and members.

We invite you to visit @SSAOutreach and hope you can be among our first followers.

Information on replacing your Medicare Card

Posted: June 3, 2015

We are excited to introduce the expansion of online services available through the my Social Security portal at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Medicare beneficiaries can now obtain a replacement card if they have lost, damaged, or simply need to replace it online using a my Social Security account.

The Medicare card is the most important piece of identification a beneficiary needs—it's proof that they have Medicare health insurance. Medical professionals and insurance companies need this proof to provide care and accurately calculate compensation for services.

Requesting a replacement card through a my Social Security beneficiaries have a critical piece of identification available when required by medical providers as proof of Medicare coverage. Simply access your online my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and select the “Replacement Documents” tab. Then select “Mail my replacement Medicare card.” After you request a card, it will arrive in the mail in approximately 30 days.

With a my Social Security account, our beneficiaries can also:

  • Get a letter showing what benefits they receive;
  • Change their address and phone number;
  • Start or change direct deposit of their benefit payment; and now
  • Get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for tax season

We hope that you find this information helpful, and we encourage you to share it with your members and colleagues.

Vision 2025 is Here

Posted: April 28, 2015

Embarking on its 80th Anniversary of being a key piece of the Nation’s fabric, Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, yesterday officially released Vision 2025. The vision will serve as a “North Star” to guide Social Security and show how the agency will accomplish and deliver three key priorities: superior customer experience, exceptional employees, and an innovative organization over the next decade and beyond.

Vision 2025 reflects Social Security’s full commitment—now and in the future—to offering customers choices in how they do business with us. This commitment includes sustaining a field office structure that provides face-to-face service and is responsive to members of the public who need or prefer face-to-face service.

For more information, you can access the Social Security Vision 2025 interactive website at www.socialsecurity.gov/vision2025.  While there sign up to receive automatic updates and we’ll notify you as we provide updates.

We also ask that you help us, by sharing our vision for the future, among your members, associates, and colleagues.  To do so we’ve provided the attached blog post from Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin, to use on your website blog, newsletters, or through your other social media channels. We invite you to also share on Facebook or retweet on Twitter the following posts, using #ssa2025.

We look forward to working with you to help us provide the best possible service to our customers in the coming years.

Social Security Launches New Anti-Fraud Website

Posted: February 9, 2015

Recently, Social Security launched an informative new web page that highlights the agency's many efforts in fighting fraud and protecting every worker's investment in the Social Security program. The web address is www.socialsecurity.gov/antifraudfacts.

Visitors to this site will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the hard work we do every day to fight fraud, waste, and abuse in our programs. The website includes information on the tools we use to fight fraud, spotlights some of our highly successful anti-fraud efforts, and provides materials you can use to help us spread the word that Social Security has zero tolerance for fraud.

We invite you to visit the website and use the materials to help us inform the public that Social Security takes fraud seriously and is very effective in limiting the instances of fraud.

We hope you will join us in disseminating the facts about our anti-fraud efforts as we work together to prevent the use of inaccurate information about fraud to advocate cutbacks in the disability program.

Please feel free to contact us at oea.net.post@ssa.gov with comments—or to discuss further ways that your organization can collaborate with Social Security to raise awareness about our efforts.

Replacement Form SSA-1099/1042S for Tax Purposes

Posted: February 1, 2015

With the new year comes tax season—something we all have to prepare for. Americans spend over 13 hours every year doing their taxes.  Knowing how difficult filing taxes can be, we would like to help you keep the process as simple as possible. We are excited to offer a new online service to help people who receive Social Security benefits have the information they need to file their tax returns. If your clients receive Social Security benefits, but did not receive or misplaced their SSA-1099, they can use an online my Social Security account to get an instant replacement for tax purposes. Setting up an account is easy, secure, and convenient. They just need to go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Social Security Resumes Mailing Social Security Statements

Posted: September 16, 2014

We are pleased to announce that, beginning this month, we are resuming periodic mailings of paper Social Security Statements to workers age 25 and older.  Even though most workers will receive a mailing every 5 years, we encourage everyone to create a secure my Social Security account at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount, which will allow them immediate access to their online Statement anytime.

The Statement is a valuable financial planning tool providing workers with important individualized information regarding their earnings, tax contributions, and estimates for future retirement, disability and survivors benefits.

Please read the full press release, including a statement by Social Security’s Acting Commissioner, Carolyn W. Colvin, my Social Security Account to Obtain Their Statement Online, Anytime" here.

Thank you for your continued support as we strive to keep workers informed about Social Security.  Please help us encourage all workers to sign up for a my Social Security account to regularly review their earnings record and obtain estimates of future benefits for themselves and their families.