Three Ways to Achieve Independence with Social Security

Social Security Column

By Erin Thompson
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Toledo, OH
Guest Column

Celebrating our nation’s independence every year on July 4 is a point of joy and pride.  For more than 85 years, our programs have helped provide financial independence to millions of hardworking people.  We have three useful online tools to help you achieve the financial independence you deserve in retirement.

my Social Security – You’re in control with the many services available online through my Social Security.  Creating a secure account will help you conduct Social Security business from home or on the go.  With your personal my Social Security account, you can:

  • Request a replacement Social Security card (in one of the 45 eligible states and the District of Columbia).
  • Review your earnings history.
  • Get personalized retirement benefit estimates.
  • Check the status of your Social Security application or appeal.

If you already receive benefits, you can also:

  • Request a replacement Social Security card (in one of the 45 eligible states and the District of Columbia).
  • Get a benefit verification letter or proof of income letter.
  • Set up or change your direct deposit.
  • Change your address.
  • Request a replacement Medicare card.
  • Get a Social Security1099 form (SSA-1099).

Frequently Asked Questions – What is your full retirement age?  How do you apply for Social Security retirement benefits?  Do you have to pay taxes on Social Security benefits?  Discover the answers to your Social Security-related questions at our Frequently Asked Questions page at

Social Security’s Official Blog – Stay informed about our latest news, retirement planning tips, and other helpful information.  Our blog at features messages direct from our Commissioner, as well as information from other experts.  You can sign up to get an email each time a new blog is available so you won’t miss new postings.  From the blog, you can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, where  you can watch our informational videos.  Don’t forget to share these resources with your family and friends and encourage them to join us.

With so many services and helpful information available online, we are here for you when your schedule allows.  Be sure to tell friends and family about all they can do with us from anywhere at


Happy Birthday, Medicare! What Happens When You Turn 65

This July marks the 56th anniversary of Medicare.  Did you know you can apply for Medicare online even if you are not ready to start your retirement benefits?  Applying online can take less than 10 minutes.  There are no forms to sign and we usually require no additional documentation.  We’ll process your application and contact you if we need more information.

Knowing when to apply for Medicare is very important.  You have a limited initial enrollment period to apply.  If you miss the initial enrollment period, you may have to pay a higher monthly premium.  If you’re eligible for Medicare at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after that birthday.  Visit to apply for Medicare and find other important information.

Some Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs.  To qualify for Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.  Read our publication Understanding the Extra Help With Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for more information at The official Medicare website at offers many online services where you can find answers to these questions:

What does Medicare cover?

Where do I find forms for filing a Medicare appeal?

How can I let someone speak with Medicare on my behalf?

What do Medicare health and prescription drug plans in my area cost, and what services do they offer?

Which doctors, health care providers, and suppliers participate in Medicare?

Where can I find out more about a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) and enroll?

Where can I find a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy in my area?

Please share these helpful resources with friends and family today.