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Why Social Security is Important to You

Do you know someone who needs help with prescription costs? You can help someone apply for Extra Help online

By Mario Valdez Juarez
Published on LatinoLA: October 19, 2010


Why Social Security is Important to You


It's been said before, but it's worth saying again: Social Security is the nation's most successful domestic program. It has helped America by helping Americans, one at a time.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Social Security. As you can imagine, we have quite a story to share.

We could tell you about how we help keep older Americans out of poverty. We could mention those who are helped by disability benefits and the work incentives that help those with disabilities go back to work. We could spotlight the dependent families of those left behind when a worker dies and how survivors benefits help them survive. These are all stories worth telling.
But the best stories belong to you. We recently asked Americans to share their Social Security stories with us and the response was overwhelming.

"Social Security is my lifeline," wrote one person. "It is difficult at best to live within the limit of my income, but it would be impossible without it."

"As a WWII combat veteran and a hard working man since the age of 10 being raised on a farm, without my Social Security retirement, I would spend my senior years as a homeless derelict," wrote another. "Thank God for Social Security."

Another man wrote, "When I began contributing to the Social Security fund, I was a young man and never thought that one day I would look forward to receiving my monthly check. Now it is an important day in the lives of my wife and me when our checks arrive."

Not all comments were about retirement benefits. Disability benefits also make a big difference in the lives of Americans.

"I am so grateful for Social Security Disability. I truly believe I would be dead by now if not for the help I have received," wrote one recipient.

"Disability benefits saved my life," said a veteran. "After combat service as a Corpsman with the Marines in Desert Storm, I spent 16 years in emotional turmoil. Because Social Security provided a financial safety net, I was able to obtain treatment for PTSD and will soon return to the world of the working (and the tax-paying). God bless America and God bless the Social Security Administration."

A similar sentiment came from this person: "I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world. After being placed on disability for an on-the-job injury, Social Security helped me maintain a lifestyle adequate for my family. For years, I paid into the program and complained every time I looked at my paycheck. I now see the reason for the payments. Thank God for the USA and Social Security."

These are just a few of the comments we received. Read more Social Security stories from Americans like you at www.socialsecurity.gov/75thanniversary/readstories/1.html.

Do you know someone who needs help with prescription costs?

You can help someone apply for Extra Help online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp. To help them apply by phone or get an application, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the Application for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (Form SSA-1020). Social Security representatives are available to help complete the application.

You also can visit your local Social Security office for assistance. For more information about Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). To learn more about the Medicare Savings Programs, Medicare prescription drug plans, how to enroll in a plan, or to request a copy of the Medicare & You handbook, please visit www.medicare.gov/contacts/staticpages/ships.aspx or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048).

When you call, you can request information about how to contact the Medicare beneficiary's State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). The SHIP can help the beneficiary with their Medicare prescription drug plans. You also can find the beneficiary's local SHIP contact information in the back of their Medicare handbook or obtain the information online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp.

About Mario Valdez Juarez:
Mario Valdez Juarez is a Social Security Field Representative for the
Boyle Heights Field Office.
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