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Social Security Has a Basket of Useful Offerings

June 2, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 4, 2021

people enjoying a meal outsideWho doesn’t love sharing a summer picnic with friends and family? Whether you plan one for everyone on your block or a quiet afternoon for two, you’ll need to bring a basket full of delectable goodies. When you’re sharing dishes with loved ones, whether you’re at home or away, you’ll be sure to make everyone happy with a variety of treats.

In the service of securing today and tomorrow, Social Security has a full picnic basket of services. Our table is ready to serve millions of Americans online, by phone, and in person in our network of field offices. It’s easy to pick the method that’s best for you from the comfort of your home or on the go.

The quality service you expect from us is easy, secure, and convenient to access when you go online. Signing up for a personal my Social Security account will give you a secure and efficient way to interact with us and accomplish various tasks, including estimating your future benefits or managing your current benefits. You can sign up for your own account and join the more than 25 million Americans who already conduct business with us online using my Social Security.

Another way you can contact us is toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Of course, you can also use the Social Security Office Locator to find your local field office, where you can speak with a Social Security employee face-to-face.

What true summer picnic is complete without ice cream? When it comes to great flavors, there’s vanilla, mint, chocolate chip, rocky road … who can choose just one? Likewise, Social Security offers all the different types of benefits you’ll need at any stage of your life.

Social Security has retirement benefits and the tools to help you plan for your retirement and apply for benefits online. But that’s not all. We also provide disability benefits to individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from working. If the disabled individual has dependent family members, they can also receive payments. There are also survivors benefits for widows, widowers, and deceased workers’ dependent children. When you create your personal my Social Security account, you can view your Social Security Statement to see estimates of the future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits you and your family may be eligible to receive.

It’s a great day for a picnic! Social Security is opening up its picnic basket to share our great services and benefits, and you’re invited! Visit our website today, and we’ll save you a place.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Lesly F.

    If you work and earned income and you put onto social can get early retirement at age 62 years old you don’t have to wait for full retirement.that’s my advice.

  2. JAMES D.



    • Dana O.

      This sounds like one of those scams…I would be careful, if anyone asks you to buy their products. The elderly are victims too often. I was robbed by “caregivers” when my husband returned from a hospital and rehab.
      I now say, ” After 65 lock up everything, including your checkbook and savings.”
      Don’t buy sweet promises of helping others! They sound like old fashioned con artists.

  3. ten

    Hello. Do I have to receive my social security benefits by my full retirement age of 66 & 4 months? Or, can I wait until I am 68 & 4 months? And is there a penalty if I wait past full retirement age? Thank you

    • Dana O.

      The longer you wait, the larger you retirement, that is true, but I’m not sure if you plan to work for the period you state.paying into SS will increase your retirement

      • Dana O.

        No penalty! The opposite….see above

    • Ann C.

      Hi. Thanks for your question. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding when to retire. If you choose to get benefits before your full retirement age, they will be reduced. Your full retirement age is determined by your year of birth. By delaying your benefits, you will receive a higher benefit amount, this is because your benefit increases a certain percentage if you delay receiving benefits. These increases, called delayed retirement credits, are added automatically, from the time you reach full retirement age until you decide to start receiving benefits or reach age 70. To estimate your retirement benefits and determine the best retirement age for you, visit our Retirement Planning page. Also, we advise people to file for Medicare benefits three months before age 65. You can apply online for Medicare Only even if you are not ready to retire. We hope this information helps.

  4. AUGUST C.

    Please amend the requirement of having a U.S. postal/residence address when registering to MySocialSecurity so that we American citizen retirees who have chosen and are now living back home for economic reasons (our meager pension won’t let us live anywhere in the USA). I wanna register so I can transact business with SSA via online, but the form said I gotta have a U.S. postal address/residence. Please revise that to include us living abroad. Thank you very much

    • Ray F.

      We are sorry for the inconvenience, August. You’re right, the “my Social Security” authentication system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for issuing an account. People with APO/FPO/DPO addresses can create an account overseas, but our system does not support registration and account creation for users with a foreign address yet. Remember for any assistance related to your Social Security benefits, please contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We value your thoughts and will use your suggestions to explore how we can further improve the services we offer. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

  5. Susan i.

    While this blog allows the SSA to distribute information to current and future SSA beneficiaries, the analogies to a picnic and ice cream choices is childish. It continues to propagate the belief that SSA is ALL things to ALL people; that it’s a panoply of choices coming out of a picnic basket at the behest of the Government. Yes, there are rules, which are very confusing if one is to believe the past comments on this blog, to apply for and receive benefits. Workers and their employers contribute to this program without having a choice. SSA is on a path to insolvency, although we all know Congress will never let that happen. There are hard choices to be made by all if we are to keep SSA afloat.
    Why would you continue to sell SSA like it’s a picnic?

    • AKA

      I agree with you entirely. Frequently SS posts things that are inappropriate here. And this is another waste of taxpayer funds. When you are old, disabled or widowed, it’s hardly a picnic.

      • Martha

        Your right about waste of tax dollars we support everyone that comes in our country but our government doesn’t help Americans !

        • LESLY F.

          I am not agree with your comment everyone have to work to you deserve from social security administration.and also we the people.

      • 2Cubsmomma

        I’m young, disabled AND widowed with 2 young children!! It’s NOT a picnic, we couldn’t afford the food! Do you know that you can only collect on yours & your deceased spouses earnings once you reach retirement? Why would I need it then when I’d only have MY mouth to feed?? Something hinky is going on here….

    • Maria L.

      Maybe it is best to check out SSA’s history and maybe it is best the government has not provided Social Security benefits for the retired, disabled and survivors? It is not perfect because people are not perfect. Furthermore, there are people who take advantage of the system so if you know if there is someone who is misusing or defrauding American tax dollars, please report it.

  6. Dave B.

    Why does Social Security Administration deny fully earned Retirement benefits to a 72-year old, who was unable to repay the full balance on his student loan debt over 30-years ago? The Department of Education has other methods to collect delinquent debt. They should NOT be taking it from Social Security Retirement benefits. FYI: The Supreme Court ruled against retirees on this issue in 1991. This policy should be reviewed by a current Congress for fairness to retirees. Until then, I see NO reason for anyone to willingly contribute to Social Security as a means to have future retirement income.

    • AKA

      So you’ve been stiffing the government out of repaying your legal debt for over 30 years. Now you’re whining because you have to pay it back? I hope they charge you interest. And that is what’s fair!

    • John

      A deadbeat for over 30 years! What would be unfair is to allow you to skate and make others have to pay. Enjoy your picnic.

    • Bill B.

      Bills are to be paid and not deleted.

      • J. B.

        To AKA, et al: these are remarkably cruel responses. Student loans should have been taken out of his tax refunds, paychecks, etc. decades ago, when he was young enough to acquire 2nd or even 3rd jobs. Perhaps he would have had a better chance to repay the money. Now he’s on a fixed income, and who knows what he’s left with after these ancient debts are carved out of his legitimate, hard-earned retirement check.
        Obama was forward-thinking enough to offer forgiveness programs for this kind of debt: our economy, our culture, our educated voting citizens, AND our ability to compete in a global economy (to name only a few benefits)–our nation, any nation, is markedly improved by the results of higher education. Soon it will be as vital as a high school diploma once was. The beneficial nature of education will always outweigh the cost of obtaining that very education.
        Why not ask instead why it took them so long to find him and his deserved benefits after working all his life. I have friends in their thirties who are chased down by the equivalent of private investigators. Jobs are hardly plentiful in many fields. And, so, many of these college graduates have had no choice but to join the largest, yet rarely mentioned ranks: the working poor.
        I guess we feel their checks should be garnished as well? As a woman in her late forties very unhappily unable to work but fortunate enough to receive SSDI, I can assure you that resources are too scarce to take any more benefits or funds from people who are already well under the poverty line. The food banks in my area, a technology triangle of significant wealth and significant poverty, are wringing their hands as they watch their funding disappear and their food supplies dwindle.
        It’s very strange how people in great need are essentially invisible to so many. No one should forget the documented fact that every American is merely three unpredictable events away from living an unthinkably hard and desperate life.
        I haven’t meant to bore anyone, but the three of you startled and shocked me.
        So there’s some money that’s gone unpaid. Last I read, about 3/4 of our taxes are allocated to defense. We’ve amassed world-ending weapons to the point of insane redundancy; meanwhile, we sent troops into combat with faulty armor or with none at all, their own families desperately purchasing and sending them such things.
        The allocation of funds from the taxes we pay makes little to no sense to me. So beyond a tired “slippery slope” rant, I doubt many of us noticed, much less lost a wink of sleep over one man’s inability to pay a 30-year-old debt.
        Without knowing how much he receives from his retirement, and no sane person would have said it, AND without knowing the percentage of his benefits they intend to take … how can you show not only a complete lack of compassion, but instead cheer for circumstances that may break him?
        There is ample and unending suffering occurring in every nook of this world. I struggle every month to keep the power on, afford my prescriptions (which I can’t), and keep *something* left in the cabinets or fridge until I am only 4-5 days away from my check (again, I try but can’t). And I’m still not even close, in any way that matters, to the levels of struggle taking place everywhere in this world.
        Your three individual responses so confounded my sense of right and wrong, I could not only NOT respond; I couldn’t even keep my response short.
        I genuinely wish you three the best future possible, as I would anyone.
        And to the gentleman with the ancient debt, I honestly hope for any computer glitch that might delete this entire situation for you. There is little I find fair in the story you shared. I wouldn’t have commented, but to then see people actually wanting to vilify you … I was extremely agitated and thus felt forced to comment, at length. I wish you the best of luck in all that’s meaningful to you.

  7. Lesly F.


  8. M. G.

    The web site is very impressive and easy to use.

    • Ray F.

      We appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Edward M.

    Thank you

    • Ray F.

      Thank you! We’re pleased we can help.

  10. Fran

    The SS Rep was very kind and helpful when I called to report my mother’s passing. The SS agency has improved immensely

Comments are closed.