Social Security, like virtually every other aspect of our society, has been streamlined by the online revolution. From the comfort of your own home, you can arrange a direct deposit, obtain a benefit verification letter, apply for Social Security retirement, and so much more.
This technology saves us hours of running errands and waiting time. In fact, it’s difficult to think of things you can’t do online. While it’s true that the online capabilities make it easy to do everything from ordering groceries to filing your taxes, there are still things that deserve to be handled face to face.
Replacing your social security card in a state that does not allow you to apply for a new one online
Sixteen states do not take online applications for replacement social security cards.
Those states are: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.
Maybe you’ve lost your social security card, and you’re not in a hurry to replace it. You know your social security number—that should be enough, right? Don’t be so sure.
Your social security card proves who you are, and many financial institutions require a physical copy of your card to open a new account or apply for a credit card. Many schools and colleges require you to present your physical social security card during the application process. Many health insurance providers demand a copy of your physical social security card.
These are just to name a few. Keep in mind, applying for a replacement card doesn’t allow you to change any information on the card. It isn’t the process used to change your name. Additionally, you’ll need a driver’s license from the state you’re applying to.
Changing information on your social security card
If you’re changing your name, you must prove your soon-to-be former identity with a current driver license or passport. In some cases, a military or school ID may suffice. You must also provide a marriage certificate, divorce decree, certificate of naturalization, or court order approving your name change.
Though the Social Security Administration (SSA) will allow you to mail in your application and required documents without appearing in person, it’s highly inadvisable to mail these crucial documents. It is much safer to take them to a social security office in person, so you may ensure your forms don’t get lost or misplaced.
Applying for survivor benefits
Currently, the SSA doesn’t accept reports of a death or applications for survivor benefits online. In most cases, the funeral home will report the death to the SSA, but to apply for survivor benefits, you’ll need to schedule an appointment at a Social Security office.
Survivor benefits refer to Social Security benefits of a deceased person. These benefits typically go to the deceased person’s spouse, who must be over the age of 60 to receive them. However, the spouse can collect at any age if he or she is caring for the deceased’s child, if the child is under the age of 16.
Making an appeal in your cessation case
The SSA can cut off your Social Security disability benefits. Most of the time, you can request that the SSA re-examine your situation by submitting documentation that proves you are still eligible for your benefits.
The first step for this process is the form SSA-789-U4, the “Request for Reconsideration—Disability Cessation Right to Appear” document. This form allows you to opt in or out of appearing for your appeal hearing in person.
You’ll also complete forms that update your medical information and whether you plan to hire an attorney to represent you.
If you decide to attend your appeal hearing, you must be there, especially if you are representing yourself—without an attorney. If you don’t, your appeal will be dismissed and the SSA will stop disbursing your benefits.
Getting a social security number for your newborn child
Most hospitals will facilitate the application for a newborn’s social security number right after the baby is born.
If your child wasn’t born in the hospital, then you’ll have to appear at the Social Security office in person to request a Social Security number. You’ll need the child’s birth certificate and other proofs of identification to establish your identity and how you are related to the child.
If the child reaches the age of 12 and you haven’t applied for his or her Social Security number, the child has to appear at the Social Security office for an interview.
Applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is a program designed to help people with little or no income meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
You can now apply for SSI online, but only under certain conditions.
You must be between the ages of 18 and 65.
You must never have been married.
You must not be blind.
You must be a U.S. citizen.
You must never have applied for or received SSI benefits in the past.
You must apply for SSI at the same time as you file your SSI claim.
If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you’ll have to visit your local Social Security office in person to complete your application.
Applying for retirement benefits when you don’t speak English fluently
You can apply online to start receiving retirement benefits through Social Security, but the application is in English. The application isn’t long, but it is very thorough and involved. It’s designed this way intentionally so that the applicant knows fully and exactly what they’re getting into.
If you don’t speak fluent English, the application tells you how to set up an appointment at a Social Security office with someone who speaks your language. This will require you to appear in person at the Social Security office, but doing so will immensely streamline your application process.
Finding an office
Locating a Social Security office near you is easy. Simply visit the Social Security Administration’s location page and enter your zip code in the search field.
If your Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance claim has been denied, or you’re thinking about filing and don’t know where to start, Affleck & Gordon can help. We’ve been helping people in Georgia just like you for over 40 years. Sign up for a free case evaluation here, or call us (404) 373-1649.