By Maria Miranda
Look who’s over the hill! In August, we will be celebrating the 81st anniversary of Social Security. Although Social Security’s overall structure remains the same, it’s impossible to overlook the changes in the economy and advancements in technology that made it necessary to transform our programs into what they are today.
In 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, which gave birth to Social Security, (almost) as we know it today. The program was created primarily as a response to the growing rate of poverty within the elderly population. Here we are in the future, and Social Security has come a long way from 1940, when Ida May Fuller became the first person to receive a benefit check. In 2015 alone, almost 60 million people received Social Security benefits.
The number of beneficiaries is growing daily, and Social Security is developing ways to make conducting business with us easier and more secure. With several services available online, including my Social Security, you might never have to visit a field office. This is especially beneficial for the aging community or those living in remote areas, as traveling to field offices may be difficult.
Choosing when to retire is an important decision. At www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator you can get an estimate of your future benefit amount. You can use “what if” scenarios to see how your benefit amounts will change with different retirement dates and future earnings estimates.
With 37 percent of the American workforce teleworking and almost 70 percent of Americans doing most of their shopping online, we have evolved into a society of convenience. Not to be outdone, like a hip grandma, Social Security has adapted to the times. Below is a list of a few of the services currently available from the convenience of your computer. Online you can:
• Request a replacement Social Security or Medicare card
• Apply for Social Security benefits
• Get your Social Security Statement
• Appeal a decision
• Find out if you qualify for benefits
• Estimate your future benefits
• Get your SSI & Medicare verification letter
Join us in wishing Social Security a Happy 81st birthday and utilize these online services by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Maria Miranda is Social Security District Manager in Palm Springs CA