The U.S. Social Security Administration has announced two important new changes. One is for everyone gathering forms needed to file federal, state, and local tax returns. Everyone filing a tax return, who receive Social Security benefits, needs a Social Security Benefit Statement called SSA-1099/1042S. Social Security mails these forms to all beneficiaries around January 31. Anyone whose statement hasn’t arrived by February 2 has another option available to get instant access to the needed forms to complete tax returns, with an online my Social Security account.
People will need to pay federal taxes on some benefits if total income, including Social Security and all other taxable income, is $25,000 or more, and if federal taxes are filed as an individual. Married couples filing joint returns need to pay federal taxes on income of $32,000 or more.
Anyone missing a form or needed other information can simply go online to my Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and selecting “Replacement Document” tab. View, print and save the forms immediately.
Opening an online account is safe, quick and easy. Account holders can get benefit verification letters, change address, telephone number, start or change direct deposit information and get Social Security earnings record. Simply go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount
The second change is for office hours. Effective March 16, Social Security will expand field office hours nationwide by an additional hour on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. This restores hours that were cut in the past, meaning a field office that was previously open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will remain open until 4 p.m. Offices will continue to close to the public at noon every Wednesday so employees have time to complete current work and reduce backlogs. The added hours are a result of Congress’ approval of the 2015 budget. “This expansion of office hours reaffirms our commitment to providing the people we serve the option of top-notch, face-to-face assistance in field offices even as we work to expand online services for those who prefer that flexibility,” said Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “The public expects and deserves world-class customer service and thanks to approved funding, I am pleased we will continue our tradition of exceptional service.”
In recent years, Social Security reduced public office hours due to congressional budget cuts, growing backlogs and staffing losses. The agency began recovery in fiscal year 2014 by replacing some field office staffing losses and providing overtime support to process critical work.
Many services are available online, including applying for retirement, disability and Medicare benefits, creating a my Social Security online account, replacing a Medicare card, or reporting a change of address or telephone number, at www.socialsecurity.gov. Social Security also offers assistance via a toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (Voice) and 1-800-325-0778 (TTY). Representatives are available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.
(Information provided by U. S. Social Security Administration in Bloomington and St Paul)