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Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced the agency is providing helpful health care information and website links to the more than three million individuals who apply each year for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. The website links take disability applicants to two U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) websites – www.healthfinder.gov where they will find information and tools to help them better understand and cope with their conditions; and www.healthfinder.gov/rxdrug where they may be able to get help paying for prescription drugs.

“This year over three million Americans will apply for disability benefits. Whether they meet the statutory test and qualify for benefits or not, almost all of them are facing difficult economic and medical challenges. One of the advantages of our fully electronic system is that our notices can provide applicants with valuable information provided by HHS that might help them make good choices faster,” Commissioner Astrue said. “Twenty five years ago, I had the experience of filing for disability benefits on behalf of my seriously ill father. It would have been a blessing to have had easy access to this kind of important information.”

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How will Electronic Records Express affect my work routines?

The fax and secure website options should integrate easily with existing work processes. If your records are already electronic, you will be able to upload files directly instead of printing. If your records are on paper, you can use the website by scanning, instead of photocopying your records or you can fax your records. 

Why is the letter with the barcode so important?

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Often employers ask to see an employee’s Social Security card. But, do you really need to see the card? Since 1936, Social Security has issued over 30 different versions of the Social Security number (SSN) card which makes it difficult to recognize a valid card. Sometimes when you ask an employee to show you their card they can’t find it. In either case, you don’t have to send them to a local Social Security office.

Consider using the free Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) which allows registered employers to quickly verify whether a person’s name and SSN match Social Security’s records. It saves you and the employee time. For more information about SSNVS visit Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information. Learn more about the New Security Features of the Social Security Card.

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Social Security Hearings Backlog Down for First Time in Decade

Productivity and Processing Times Also Improve

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced that for the first time since 1999, the agency has ended the year with fewer disability hearings pending than in the prior year.  Social Security ended fiscal year (FY) 2009 with 722,822 hearings pending compared to 760,813 hearings pending at the start of the year, a reduction of more than 37,000 cases.  Over the same period, the average processing time for these cases improved from 514 days in FY 2008 to 491 in FY 2009.

“Our backlog reduction plan is working, and progress is accelerating,” Commissioner Astrue said.  “Even in the face of a significant increase in our workloads as a result of the worst recession since the Great Depression, we have reduced the hearings backlog for nine consecutive months.  Thanks to the efforts of thousands of hardworking Social Security employees and the additional funding we received from President Obama and the Congress, we have exceeded our backlog reduction goal for this year.”

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Prompt Passage of Economic Recovery Act Payment for 2010 Needed

Law Does Not Provide for a Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment for 2010

With consumer prices down over the past year, monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for more than 57 million Americans will not automatically increase in 2010.  This will be the first year without an automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) since they went into effect in 1975.

“Social Security is doing its job helping Americans maintain their standard of living,” Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security said.  “Last year when consumer prices spiked, largely as a result of higher gas prices, beneficiaries received a 5.8 percent COLA, the largest increase since 1982.  This year, in light of the human need, we need to support President Obama’s call for us to make another $250 recovery payment for 57 million Americans.”

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Social Security Files Statement of Interest in California Lawsuit Challenging Furlough of Federally-Paid State Disability Workers

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced that the Department of Justice, on behalf of the Social Security Administration, has filed a “Statement of Interest” in Union of American Physicians and Dentists v. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, which is currently pending in a state trial court in California.  The Union of American Physicians and Dentists includes employees of the California Disability Determination Services Division (DDSD), Department of Social Services, who evaluate Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income claims.  The Federal government fully pays for the salaries and overhead costs for these employees.

“For many months we have been trying to convince California officials that furloughing DDSD employees does not save the state a single penny, and actually costs the state money.  It also unnecessarily harms their citizens with disabilities and their civil servants,” said Commissioner Astrue.  “Unfortunately, our arguments have fallen on deaf ears.  We hope our Statement of Interest will awaken state officials to the irreparable damage their furlough policy is causing.”

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Social Security Announces New Enhancements to Online Retirement Estimator

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced that the online Retirement Estimator, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator, now can provide immediate and personalized benefit estimates to people who have enrolled in Medicare but have not yet filed for Social Security benefits.  Previously, these “Medicare only” beneficiaries would need to contact a local office in order to obtain an estimate of their benefits.  Currently, about a half-million people file for Medicare each year and delay filing for Social Security benefits.

Social Security’s Retirement Estimator has been a huge success – with the agency providing over four million personalized retirement estimates to Americans since its launch last year,” Commissioner Astrue said.  “With more people delaying retirement beyond the Medicare eligibility age, it is critical that they also have access to this easy-to-use online tool.”

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Here is how you get an application for social security

Below you will find the SS-5 Form in Portable Document Format (PDF). To print the PDF version, you will need the Adobe Acrobat reader software. If you do not already have this special software, see their page on downloading and printing PDF documents.
After you download the Adobe Acrobat Reader, come back to this page and download the PDF version of the SS-5:

SS-5 in PDF Icon
SSA forms must be printed on 8 1/2″ x 11″ white paper. You must print the form with blue or black ink to be acceptable to SSA.

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What if my name changed?

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a replacement card. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell them when your name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund; and
  • Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.

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