As we welcome 2021, I am hopeful for and wish everyone a prosperous, healthy, joyous, and safe year. As I reflect on those themes, the purpose of this article is to focus on the safety and security of your Social Security data and the convenience and safety of online services.
As a result of my background and as a recent volunteer with Catholic Charities of Jackson, I have found that often one is not fully aware of the safety and security features available for Social Security data. In fact, everyone is eligible to secure their data and participate in various online services.
To begin, one needs to visit www.socialsecurity.gov to establish a MySSA Account. This safe and secure process relies upon two-step authentication and ensures that no one establish a fraudulent account that would compromise data. A MySSA account is the single most important anti-fraud measure one can take. But if fraud is suspected, contact Social Security Office of Inspector General hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
A MySSA account also allows for a multitude of secure online services in three broad areas:
Review Your Information
Stay up-to-date on your account by viewing your Social Security statement to ensure that earnings are posted correctly. In addition, you can estimate retirement benefits and check application status.
Apply For Benefits
As life events change, you can apply online for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits. One can also file an appeal if those claims are denied.
Manage Your Account
Online access allows one to make address changes; set-up or change direct deposits; print proof of benefits; print a 1099; replace a Social Security card; and request a Medicare card.
I became aware how important this information is for newly naturalized citizens while volunteering with Catholic Charities, I am reminded that many citizens are not aware of the need for this secure anti-fraud feature and the convenience of these online services. This is especially important for individuals to actively manage retirement planning. Starting sooner rather than later gives one time to prepare for a comfortable retirement.
So, let's make this a safe and secure New Year by protecting one of our most important benefits! As a bonus, utilize these online services from the comfort of your home.