My friend said … is that really true?

Today’s post stems from a handful of phone calls received last week, all starting with a variation of “My friend told me that …” and ending with “… is that really true?” All the “friendly” information was wrong.  

Where can you get accurate Social Security information? Start at the official Social Security website, www.socialsecurity.gov. The web address has .gov, standing for government. If not .gov, it is not Social Security. Be sure you are at the official site.  

The Social Security website provides several ways to find information.  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) areas are at the top and lower right of the homepage. Check FAQ’s by topic area or by typing in keywords or questions. Use the Search Social Security block at top right of the homepage. Finally, homepage links to the different programs (Retirement, Disability, Survivors, etc.) bring you to lots of information about each program. 

National SSA webinars can be viewed through the website. See the link at bottom right of the homepage. 

The website is a great source of basic information. However, except for parts of the retirement planner pages and your established my Social Security account, personal information is not there. For personal information, contact Social Security. 

By calling the Social Security national telephone number, 1-800-772-1213, you can use automated telephone services to get recorded information and conduct some business 24 hours a day. If you cannot handle your business through SSA automated services, speak to a Social Security representative between 7:00am and 7:00pm, Monday – Friday, local time.  If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call the SSA toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778. When calling, expect questions to prove who you are.

National SSA phone representatives have the same computer information available to local offices. Appointments made at the national number print at the local office based on zip code. If phoning, you are encouraged to call use the national system first. However, if you want to call or visit your local office, do so. Public hours are more limited than those of the national phone system so check them first.

The above webinar link is for national Social Security webinars. Not at that link, you might find the November 2012, Social Security (Denver Region) webcast titled “Social Security Frequently Asked Questions” interesting.  Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/denver/index.htm, in approximately 20 minutes this free webinar discusses Social Security retirement, survivors and disability program topics, how benefit amounts are determined for individuals and spouses, how to replace a Social Security card, and more. It also highlights the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) area of the Social Security website, www.socialsecurity.gov.   

Perhaps your advice giving friends would enjoy watching it with you.

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