Published in RINewsToday on January 30, 2023
Over a month ago, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) launched a redesigned website to assist beneficiaries to find what they need more easily. New pages and improvements based on public feedback will continue to be unveiled in the coming months. You may have already received an email to check out your new personal account page, though not everyone has yet.
“SSA.gov is visited by over 180 million people per year and it is one of our most important tools for providing efficient and equitable access to service,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, in a December. 6, 2022 statement announcing this redesign. “Whether providing service in person or online, our goal is to help people understand what they may qualify for and seamlessly transition them to an application process.” Improved self-service capability allows people to skip calling or visiting an office, which helps Social Security staff focus on those visitors who need in-person assistance,” she says.
Kijakazi noted that the redesign will make it easier to do business with the federal agency. “Its redesign is intended to provide a clear path to the tasks customers need to accomplish,” she said, noting that many of the most visited sections of SSA.gov are now live with a more user-friendly and task-based approach.
According to SSA, visitors to SSA.gov can use interactive tools to check eligibility for benefits. The screener is a convenient and simple way for people to learn if they might be eligible for benefits.
Beneficiaries can also save time on Social Security Number (SSN) and card online services, too. If a beneficiary loses their SSN card, they may not need a replacement. In most cases, simply knowing their SSN is enough. If a person does need a replacement card, they may be able to request a replacement online by visiting www.ssa.gov/ssnumber.
Individuals can also start an application for an updated card or request an SSN for the first time. People may never need to visit an office and, if they do need to visit an office to complete the application, they will save a lot of time by starting online.
People can also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on line by starting an application and requesting an appointment to apply for SSI benefits by just answering a few questions at www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi/.
Finally, for most benefits, people can apply online or start an application online. In many cases, there are no forms to sign. The agency will review the application and reach out with questions or for more information. Visit www.ssa.gov/onlineservices to apply for retirement, disability, or Medicare.
Many Social Security services do not require the public to take time to visit an office. Using a my Social Security account, a personalized online service, people can start or change direct deposit, or request a replacement SSA-1099. For individuals already receiving Social Security benefits, they can print or download a current Benefit Verification Letter if they need proof of their benefits.
People not yet receiving benefits can use their online account to get a personalized Social Security Statement, which provides their earnings information as well as estimates of their future benefits. The portal also includes a retirement calculator and links to information about other online services. SSA encourages people without a my Social Security account to create one today at www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. This part of the site is operational 5am to 1am, Monday through Friday – 5am to 11pm on Saturday – 8am to 11:30pm on Sunday.
One thing pandemic times have done is make us more proficient in the computer and using online services, and those who run official sites have focused on making them simpler, and easier to use.