By Brian Hewitt
If you are one of the many Americans who may have to conduct business with Social Security over the holiday season, it is good to know that you can use our online services without having to worry about opening or closing times. That means you can handle your holiday shopping and planning with one less time constraint or worry — and one less “shopping line” in which to wait.
Some of the services available online at www.socialsecurity.gov include:
• Applying for retirement or disability benefits;
• Checking the status of your pending application;
• Getting an instant, personalized estimate of your future retirement benefits using the Retirement Estimator;
• Applying for extra help for Medicare prescription drug plan costs available to some beneficiaries.
If you are already a Social Security beneficiary, you can go online to change your address, phone number or your direct deposit information, get a replacement Medicare card or request a proof-of-income letter.
Social Security’s online services are available from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m. each work day, from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturdays and from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Sundays. The online services are available even on federal holidays — including Christmas and New Year’s Day — from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. So if you have business to take care of on the holiday, our online services are here for you. All times are Eastern Standard Time and some online services have extended hours. You can find the individual operating hours for different online services at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.
In addition to these interactive services, there is a wealth of information available 24 hours a day on our Web site that can help answer your questions and get you the information you need, including frequently asked questions, publications and forms, information for specific groups, news and press releases, and even videos and public service announcements.
So remember: While banks and other offices in the private sector and government are closed for the holidays, Social Security’s online office is open and ready to assist you.