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Social Security Online
Social Security Update
June 2010
In This Issue:

With Direct Deposit, Payments Arrive No Matter What

Backlog Reduction Plan Working; More Hearing Offices Open to Handle the Work

Estimate Your Retirement Benefit Online

Let Our People Speak To Your People

With Direct Deposit, Payments Arrive No Matter What

Direct DepositeSeveral parts of the country bore the brunt of Spring flooding, while hurricane and wildfire seasons have just begun in other areas. 

As people prepare for the threat of a natural disaster, which could disrupt mail delivery and force people to evacuate, they should sign up for Direct Deposit of their payments from Social Security. With Direct Deposit, the payment will be in their account on time no matter what happens, and immediately available for use from anywhere.

Having Direct Deposit saves your clients a trip to the bank each month. It can also save them money – as many banks offer free checking accounts to people who use Direct Deposit. Direct Deposit also saves the government millions of dollars in printing and postage costs each month. Under new rules proposed by the Treasury Department, all people receiving federal payments will be required to receive Direct Deposit instead of a paper check beginning in 2013.

Learn more about direct deposit at www.socialsecurity.gov/deposit.

 

Backlog Reduction Plan Working; More Hearing Offices Open to Handle the Work

JudgeSocial Security lowered the number of pending hearings by almost 10 percent over the last 18 months.

A critical piece of Social Security’s backlog reduction plan is the capacity to hold more hearings. The agency hired 147 Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) and over 1,000 support staff in fiscal year 2009, and plans to hire an additional 226 ALJs this calendar year. The agency now has four National Hearing Centers to process hearings by video and has aggressive plans to open 14 new hearing offices, three satellite offices, and a fifth National Hearing Center by the end of the year. 

For more information about Social Security’s hearings process and backlog reduction initiatives, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/appeals.

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Estimate Your Retirement Benefit Online

Estimate Your Retirement Benefit OnlineIf there’s an over-achiever in the world of online services, Social Security’s Retirement Estimator is at the head of the class. Now celebrating its second anniversary, the Retirement Estimator stands as the most popular online service in both the public and private sectors—a position it shares with another popular service, Social Security’s online Benefit Application.

That’s according to the most recent annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which came out earlier this year.  In the ranking of online services, Social Security’s online Retirement Estimator and Benefit Application take the top spots, each with a score of 90. What is the highest ranked service in the private sector? It’s Netflix, with a score of 87, tying with Social Security’s Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs application.

Not resting on our laurels, we plan to issue a Spanish-language Retirement Estimator by the end of this calendar year.

High customer service scores are a great birthday present for the Retirement Estimator. Invite your clients to join the celebration by getting an instant, personalized estimate of future retirement benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Let Our People Speak To Your People

Let Our People Speak To Your PeopleDo the people in your organization want to know about Social Security? If so, you can request a Social Security speaker for your next large gathering. 

A Social Security representative can speak on an array of topics, such as:

  • retirement, and how to prepare;
  • pre-retirement, and how to get an estimate of future retirement benefits;
  • disability, how it can help, who is eligible, and how to apply;
  • wage reporting for small businesses and employers;
  • work incentives for people with disabilities who want to work; and
  • how Social Security can provide extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs.

Please submit your request for a speaker online at www.socialsecurity.gov/organizations.

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