By Kylle’ D. McKinney
Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
Social Security touches the lives of nearly every American. Millions count on us — retirees who worked hard their whole lives, people no longer able to work due to disability, dependents, and survivors. As a member of the Rural Partners Network, we want to continue reaching out to rural communities.
We make it easy for you to access our programs and services. Our website offers a convenient way to apply online for benefits. You can apply online for:
- Retirement or Spouse’s Benefits – You must be at least 61 years and nine months in age and want your benefits to start in no more than four months. Check out our Apply for Benefits page at www.ssa.gov/retireonline for information on how to apply.
- Disability Benefits – Our disability program pays benefits to workers and certain family members who are “insured.” This means that they worked long enough – and recently enough – and paid Social Security taxes on their earnings. Start our online application at www.ssa.gov/disabilityonline to begin the process.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – SSI provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness, or people older than age 65, who have low income and resources. Visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi to begin your application online, or tell us that you want to apply or help someone else apply and we will contact you to schedule an appointment.
- Medicare – Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 and older, some people younger than 65 who have disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease. If you are not already receiving Social Security benefits, you should apply for Medicare three months before turning age 65 on our Medicare Benefits page at www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare.
- Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs – Extra Help helps pay for monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and co-payments related to Medicare prescription drug coverage. Apply at www.ssa.gov/extrahelp.
We also encourage rural community leaders to encourage people to sign up for a personal my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount. With a personal my Social Security account, you can request a replacement Social Security card, verify earnings, get future benefit estimates, and obtain benefit verification letters.
We also provide survivors benefits to widows, widowers, and dependents of eligible workers. This benefit is particularly important to young families with children. You cannot apply for survivors benefits online. Visit our website for more information at www.ssa.gov/benefits/survivors.
If you are not able to use our online services, call our National toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. We may be able to help by phone and, if an office visit is required, we can make an appointment to reduce the time waiting in an office.
We remain committed to helping maintain the well-being and protection of the people we serve—including those in rural areas. Please share this information with others in your local community.
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