Fast-Tracked Disability Process Includes 200 Conditions

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced 35 new Compassionate Allowances conditions, bringing the total number of disabling conditions that qualify for Social Security's expedited disability process to 200.

"We have achieved another milestone," said Commissioner Astrue. "Nearly 200,000 people with severe disabilities nationwide have been quickly approved, usually in less than two weeks, through the program since it began in October 2008."

For more information on the Compassionate Allowances initiative, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

Online Statement is a Planning Gift to Your Clients

Encourage your clients to go online and access their Social Security Statement. The online Statement provides estimates to help plan for retirement. It also provides estimates for disability and survivors benefits, making the Statement an important financial planning tool. In addition, people can check their earnings record; this feature is important because we base Social Security benefits on average earnings over a lifetime.

Telling your clients to check their Statement annually may be the best gift you can give them this holiday season.  Find the Statement at www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement.

Retirement Estimator Just Got Better

For several years, the Retirement Estimator has been a great way to get immediate and personalized estimates of future retirement benefits based on different retirement situations.  Earlier this month, we gave the estimate page a new look, allowing users to read their estimates at a glance, in table format!

Workers can use the Retirement Estimator to test different retirement ages, learn how to maximize retirement benefits by delaying retirement, and find out how working after retirement might affect benefits.

Check it out for yourself at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

'Tis the Season to Protect Your Identity

December is National Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness month — a time to remind people, retailers, and businesses to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers from identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that identity theft is the number one type of consumer fraud in the United States, resulting in about nine million people having their identity stolen annually. 

Protect your personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth and other identifying information, and only share it when you absolutely need to. Shred documents instead of putting them in the trash. Store the important documents, such as your Social Security Statement and card, in a safe, secure place.

Learn more by reading our publication, Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10064.html.

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