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December 21, 2013

Social Security: A new look at the Christmas classics, and Social Security

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The Daily Star

---- — The weather outside may be frightful, but Social Security’s always in season, and you can do some Social Security business without venturing out into the cold, but more about that later. 

It is no doubt my favorite time of year — time to search through my father’s fantastic articles of Christmas Past and share one with all of you. Over the past few years, I’ve shared the stories of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “The Grinch,” and “Frosty the Snowman.” This year I am going to share an article originally published in 1993 in which he wrote once again about our family’s love of holiday classics:

Most everyone establishes traditions surrounding the holiday season, and I’m no exception. So tonight while the rest of my family gets together to share holiday cheer, my father and I will be watching several of our favorite Christmas movies. I’ve seen these movies dozens of times, but since I started working for Social Security, I seem to see them in a different light.

Let me give you an example. “Miracle on 34th Street” is a wonderful movie. I’m sure you know the story. It’s about an older gentleman who claims to be the real Santa Claus, and eventually has to prove it in court. But now during the courtroom scene, all I can think about is who might be a good representative payee for his Social Security checks if he is found to be incompetent.

And who could forget the scene in “A Christmas Carol” when the gentlemen from the local charities ask Scrooge to give to the poor to make their Christmas a little brighter. He replies, “Are there no workhouses, are there no prisons? I support those establishments.” I can’t help but wonder how Dickens would have written it today. 

Maybe Scrooge would have replied, “What’s happened to Social Security, has it run out of money?”

But my favorite has to be the scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” when Jimmy Stewart stands on the bridge getting ready to jump. (You remember, just before he meets Clarence, his guardian angel.) A great scene, no doubt, but I find myself doing a quick calculation of what Donna Reed and the kids might expect to receive in Social Security survivor benefits.

Maybe I need a vacation. Have a happy holiday.

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Thanks, Dad. And whether your family tradition involves watching the classic movies or the remakes, remember that the way we do business with Social Security also has changed with the times. Today, you can do so much online at www.socialsecurity.gov, and we even have a mobile app, a Facebook page and we’re on Twitter and Pinterest.

So, while the snow is falling and the wind is howling, you can always stay safe and warm and do you Social Security business online at www.socialsecurity.gov. You can handle much of your Social Security business quickly and securely from your home or office computer, or your tablet. At the Social Security website, you can:

• create a “my Social Security” account for quick access to your information;

• get an instant, personalized estimate of your future Social Security benefits;

• apply for retirement, disability, spouse’s, and Medicare benefits;

• check the status of your benefit application;

• change your address and phone number, if you receive monthly Social Security benefits;

• sign up for direct deposit of Social Security benefits;

• use our benefit planners to help you better understand your Social Security options as you plan for your financial future;

• request a replacement Medicare card; and

• apply for Extra Help with your Medicare prescription drug costs.

And most importantly, have a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.

Tracey W. Text ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Solid$ID/NothingText ColorText Color$ID/NothingText ColorText ColorMarmet is district manager of the Oneonta office of the Social Security Administration. Other ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/seniorscene.