Social Security goes online for seniors


Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Instead of long waits at a Social Security office, seniors with access to the Internet can now apply for their retirement benefits online, federal officials say.

With this new process, which started Thursday, Net-ready seniors likely will never have to stand in line to get their Social Security benefits, said William Halter, the agency’s deputy commissioner.

That’s a relief to seniors like 65-year-old Michael Park of Laurel, Md., who tried the Social Security Administration’s online application process as part of a pilot program.

Park, who admits he’s not the most computer-savvy person around, said he finished the entire process on the Web site at www.ssa.govc in about 30 minutes. If he had gone into a Social Security office instead, Park says he’s confident it would have taken hours.

"The prompts are easy, the time to fill out the online application is unrestricted, the ability to access information is much easier," he said. "It’s all there at your home in front of you and you do not have to sit and wait, even if you have an appointment, for the person who is ahead of you with the particular reviewer to finish because they forget something."

Under the new process, Halter said, seniors can go to the agency’s Web site; fill out, print, sign and mail their application and copies of their identification papers, like birth certificates; answer any questions from the Social Security Administration about their application by telephone; and then start collecting their benefits.

"For those who’d rather do this electronically, we want to have it available for them," Halter said. "For those who’d rather talk with someone on the phone, we’ll have that service channel as well, and for those folks who want the ability to walk in and talk to somebody face-to-face, we have 1,300 field offices around the country and they will continue to have that service option."

Halter said the agency did not have to hire any new employees to run the system or to answer questions.

Cathy Noe, an agency spokeswoman, said if the Internet can shave five minutes off the benefits process, it would save the agency $500,000 annually.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

FILE - A sign hangs at a Taco Bell on May 23, 2014, in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Declaring a mission to liberate "Taco Tuesday" for all, Taco Bell asked U.S. regulators Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to force Wyoming-based Taco John's to abandon its longstanding claim to the trademark. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Hepatitis A confirmed in Taco Bell worker in Everett, Lake Stevens

The health department sent out a public alert for diners at two Taco Bells on May 22 or 23.

VOLLI’s Director of Food & Beverage Kevin Aiello outside of the business on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Coming soon to Marysville: indoor pickleball, games, drinks

“We’re very confident this will be not just a hit, but a smash hit,” says co-owner Allan Jones, who is in the fun industry.

Detectives: Unresponsive baby was exposed to fentanyl at Everett hotel

An 11-month-old boy lost consciousness Tuesday afternoon. Later, the infant and a twin sibling both tested positive for fentanyl.

Cassie Franklin (left) and Nick Harper (right)
Report: No wrongdoing in Everett mayor’s romance with deputy mayor

An attorney hired by the city found no misuse of public funds. Texts between the two last year, however, were not saved on their personal phones.

Firearm discovered by TSA officers at Paine Field Thursday morning, May 11, 2023, during routine X-ray screening at the security checkpoint. (Transportation Security Administration)
3 guns caught by TSA at Paine Field this month — all loaded

Simple travel advice: Unpack before you pack to make sure there’s not a gun in your carry-on.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
To beat the rush this Memorial Day weekend, go early or late

AAA projects busy airports, ferries and roads over the holiday weekend this year, though still below pre-pandemic counts.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Troopers: DUI crash leaves 1 in critical condition in Maltby

A drunken driver, 34, was arrested after her pickup rear-ended another truck late Tuesday, injuring a Snohomish man, 28.

Housing Hope CEO Donna Moulton raises her hand in celebration of the groundbreaking of the Housing Hope Madrona Highlands on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$30M affordable housing project to start construction soon in Edmonds

Once built, dozens of families who are either homeless or in poverty will move in and receive social and work services.

A south-facing view of the proposed site for a new mental health facility on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, near 300th Street NW and 80th Avenue NW north of Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
County Council OK’s Stanwood behavioral health center

After an unsuccessful appeal to block it, the Tulalip Tribes are now on the cusp of building the 32-bed center in farmland.

Most Read