Applying for Georgia Social Security online means sharing personal information about you and your family.
How do you keep that information safe? A quick Google search may bring up any number of websites that will offer to help you apply for Social Security, but these secondary websites may not be legitimate or secure. How do you know you’re using the right website to apply?
Being careful only to apply via official sites becomes even more important when you consider the depth of personal data the Social Security Administration (SSA) seeks when you make a claim.
For instance, the SSA says you must provide these documents when you apply for disability benefits online:
- Birth certificate or other proof of birth
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States
- U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968
- W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year
- An Adult Disability Report that collects more details about your illnesses, injuries or conditions, and your work history
- Medical evidence already in your possession. This includes medical records, doctors' reports, and recent test results
- Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers' compensation-type benefits you received
The SSA will ask for a lot of personal information as your case proceeds, including your name, date of birth, and social security number; citizenship status; past benefits; information about your spouse and children; information about your employment and income; and more.
Always be suspicious of potentially fraudulent websites or others claiming to represent the SSA.
Here’s how to securely apply for Social Security in Georgia.
How Do You Keep Your Information Secure Online?
As mentioned above, you can apply for Social Security disability benefits at the SSA website. This is the most direct and safest way to apply online.
If you’re overwhelmed by the application process, doing a Google search will show you any number of websites offering to help.
Yet, it’s impossible to tell which may be legitimate based on simply looking at the Google results page.
Thus, your best bet is to stick to official pages.
Avoid unofficial ones, such as those ending in .com or .net, unless you can verify a legitimate connection to the SSA.
How can you tell which are official? To begin with, the SSA offers all the resources and information you need to apply directly on their website, SSA.gov.
Any other online source you rely on for information about applying should come from a .gov source or a reputable Georgia Social Security attorney. An example of a trustworthy source is benefits.gov, a website run by the U.S. Department of Labor since 2002.
Websites with .gov URLs are meant for government-connected entities only. They are not to be used by private individuals, firms, or corporations.
If you need additional help with your application or appeal, consider these resources, which are just a few of the many offered directly on the SSA’s official, secure website:
- A complete overview of how to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
- Detailed information regarding the benefits denial appeals process
- Access to a secure my Social Security account to check the status of your benefits
- Social Security COVID-19 updates
Avoiding Social Security Fraud in the Age of COVID-19
Normally, you could avoid Social Security scams and fraud by visiting your local Social Security field office.
However, COVID-19 risks now restrict much of the Social Security application and appeals process to distanced settings, such as online, video conference, and telephone.
The Federal Trade Commission warns of an increase in potential SSA scams bred by social distancing.
According to the FTC, here are some of the key precautions for avoiding Social Security scams:
- Don’t trust Caller ID just because it shows up as the SSA.
- The SSA will never call unexpectedly to tell you your Social Security number will be suspended, your bank accounts will be seized, your benefits are threatened, or that you must send them money.
- Don’t verify any personal information, such as your Social Security number, to an unexpected caller.
- Educate yourself about potential Social Security scammers.
The SSA can help if you think you’ve been the victim of identity theft.
You can always contact the SSA directly via telephone at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Georgia Social Security Attorneys
Experienced Social Security attorneys in the state of Georgia are aware of situations of potential fraud, and they can help you avoid becoming a victim.
Whether you’re just beginning the application process or are seeking to appeal a claim denial, the right attorney can advocate on your behalf. Our job is to use our expertise to maximize your chance of a positive outcome.
In most cases, you won’t pay an attorney’s fee upfront for your Social Security claim. In these cases, you’ll only pay if you win your claim—your lawyer will get a percentage of your initial back pay.
A lawyer can help with:
- the initial application process with the SSA
- maintaining the appropriate records and medical evidence of your disability
- navigating hearings with Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), potentially via a remote hearing
- seeking other potential avenues of appeal
- avoiding potential Social Security fraud and scams
- maximizing your chances of a positive outcome and being awarded the benefits to which you’re entitled
- navigating all COVID-19 related restrictions and changes, such as hearings by telephone, internet, video teleconference, or fax, changes to benefits, etc.
If your Supplemental Security Income claim or your Social Security Disability Insurance claim have 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) 795-7165.