SSA. . . Social Security In

If you live in a small Wisconsin city about 50 miles north of Milwaukee and like to play softball, the SSA might be the Sheboygan Softball Association. If your hobby is flying gliders, you probably would say SSA stands for the Soaring Society of America. And if you are into earthquake studies, SSA is the Seismological Society of America.

In the past, not everyone associated SSA with the Social Security Administration. But for years, that was our name, at least on the Internet. Our Web site address, or URL, was www.ssa.gov. But all that changed recently with the introduction of our new Internet address: www.socialsecurity.gov.

Commissioner Jo Anne B. Barnhart said it best: “It just makes sense, and is good public service, to let people reach us by the name they all know. Social Security’s programs touch the lives of nearly every person in America, from the young to the old. Our Web site, www.socialsecurity.gov, offers on-line services for children and retirees, and for people at every stage of life in between.”

Along with the new Web address, the SSA has also redesigned almost the entire site to make it even easier to read and use. That’s an impressive feat because the site was already an award winner and generally considered one of the best and most useful in government. In the past, the home page—which reflected the contents of the entire site—was organized by the programs available. You needed some idea of what you were looking for in order to navigate the Web site. But when you visit the new URL, you are guided to information you can use depending on where you are in your life—young, middle-aged, or nearing retirement—and what you’re interested in.

Information is available on subjects ranging from how to get a Social Security number to how to go back to work while receiving disability benefits. In addition, you can­:

file for retirement, disability and spouse’s benefits;

check the status of your application;

find the Social Security office closest to your home;

request a replacement Medicare card;

and so much more.

Furthermore, SSA welcomes your opinions and suggestions. The new home page has an e-mail address you can use to send your ideas and comments.