Social Security Supports Rural Communities

July 13, 2023 • By

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Last Updated: November 2, 2023

young girl climbing the fence to see cows on the farmSocial Security touches the lives of nearly every American. Millions count on us — retirees who worked hard their whole lives, people no longer able to work due to disability, dependents, and survivors. As a member of the Rural Partners Network, we want to continue reaching out to rural communities.

We make it easy for you to access our programs and services. Our website offers a convenient way to apply online for benefits.

You can apply online for:

  • Retirement or Spouse’s Benefits – You must be at least 61 years and nine months in age and want your benefits to start in no more than four months. Check out our Apply for Benefits page for information on how to apply.
  • Disability Benefits – Our disability program pays benefits to workers and certain family members who are “insured.” This means that they worked long enough – and recently enough – and paid Social Security taxes on their earnings. Start our online application to begin the process.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – SSI provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness, or people older than age 65, who have low income and resources. Visit our website to begin your application online, or tell us that you want to apply or help someone else apply and we will contact you to schedule an appointment.
  • Medicare – Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 and older, some people younger than 65 who have disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease. If you are not already receiving Social Security benefits, you should apply for Medicare 3 months before turning age 65 on our Medicare Benefits page.
  • Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs – Extra Help helps pay for monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and co-payments related to Medicare prescription drug coverage. Apply on our website.

We also encourage rural community leaders to encourage people to sign up for a personal my Social Security account. With a personal my Social Security account, you can request a replacement Social Security card, verify earnings, get future benefit estimates, and obtain benefit verification letters.

We also provide survivors benefits to widows, widowers, and dependents of eligible workers. This benefit is particularly important to young families with children. You cannot apply for survivors benefits online. Visit our website for more information.

If you are not able to use our online services, call our National toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. We may be able to help by phone and, if an office visit is required, we can make an appointment to reduce the time waiting in an office.

We remain committed to helping maintain the well-being and protection of the people we serve—including those in rural areas. Please share this information with others in your local community.

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About the Author

Nancy Berryhill, Senior Advisor, Office of Operations

Nancy Berryhill, Senior Advisor, Office of Operations


  1. Rita A.

    I’m 59 yrs old , on ssi for MS , Spinal stenosis & optic neuritis . I have a 56 yrs old sister that’s in pretty bad shape & about to loose her job . She has to use a Cain to walk or a walker . Her Doctors have been telling her , she’s only making it worse by continuing to work. She would loose everything if she was to lose her job or quit her job to get disability. She’s already on FMLA, but there’s only so long FMLA will last . Our family has been working together to help her & her husband with their bills . It’s getting to where we can’t help them much more .
    My question is ,How is a person suppose to make it , while waiting for their disability to go through. Is there some kind of program that I could tell her about. If there isn’t, there should be . Something like , a person that’s waiting for their disability to go through, get a monthly check and when their disability goes through, that’s when that person pays back the amount they received from SSI.
    Please send me any info about what I could help my sister with . Send info to my email or I can give you her email. Please help .
    Thank you

    • A.C.

      Hi, Rita Ann. We are sorry to hear about your sister’s condition and situation. She may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which she lives. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in her area and find out if she qualifies, she will need to contact her state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps.

  2. Lisa

    When is SS going to stop the WEP (windfall) deduction. Just because we work in civil service and didn’t pay into SS we lose about 30% of our benefits. The bill to change it is in Congress. Contact you rep or senator and tell everyone knows and share it all the time. If people don’t know how they are being penalized they won’t make any moves to stop this old antiquated law.

  3. Alicia W.

    in have a cognitive learning disablity and the father of my kids was suppose to be trust worthy instead he has been applying for my benefits and has taken my kids and took over my accounts as well the access to my online accounts’ refiled my taxes like we were married and has someone pretending to be me. its overwhelming me to contact agencies to stop him but im homeless no income for a year he also filed for custody and a divorce in another county that i never received notice bc i lived in another county had tpo but he false reported me for abuse parentally kidnapped my children using his deceased dads name. had non other place to seek help cause i cant get into the accounts and no one has helped so far. i have not applied for help, nor have i filed my 2022 taxes , nor have ever been married and ion do not consent to him to claim my kids . ive not seen or talk to them in a year now he wont allow me to

    • A.C.

      Hi, Alicia. We are sorry to hear about your situation. We take allegations of fraud very seriously. If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse of Social Security benefits, we encourage you to report it here. You may also wish to contact your local law enforcement regarding your custody concerns. We hope this helps.

    • Nunya

      Eww, they’re southerners, not Americans.

  4. Walt

    Any SSA field office that has under 10 employees should be disbanded….

  5. Tony

    The SSA still has Jim Crow era laws in place that violates the equal protection under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The SSA charges disabled beneficiaries with an alcoholism or drug addiction condition twice the amount of organizational payee fees than other disabled beneficiaries for the same service.

    The SSA logo even has seven stripes under USA representing the slave state of Maryland where the racist SSA headquarter was located. Every USA logo has red stripes under it representing the USA except for the SSA.

    • Tony

      If you shrink the SSA logo where you where you can’t read the words, it looks like Adolf Hitler.

  6. Teresa s.

    The social security board workers are stealing paid in pensions and letting somebody else use our social security numbers to steal our benefits im a victem of amanda joghnson senator gloria Johnson’s cousin amanda joghnson works at the knoxville tn office and inhumanely stole my pension right to my face and bragged they’ve done gave my pension to somebody else thats name isn’t on the paid in pension when this trash going to jail huh when am i going to get the four years of back pay they owe me huh tn gov public workers your whole families are involved down to judges district attorney families and tn trash politicians how much longer do we have to keep taking these monsters felony crimes through these gov public jobs it seems to be there is not one lae or gov worker thats not involved

    • Andrew S.

      I thank i’s outrage for the government to take your lively hood away from you and give to the be people that are encarerserataed which they don’t have the right.

  7. Jermaine G.

    I started getting ssi last November and I had been waiting on my back payment but ssa said that people who was denied 2 or3 times was the only one’s that could have back payment is that true because one ssi lady said that I was approved for my retro how can they not give me my money.

    • A.C.

      Hi, Jermaine. Thanks for visiting our blog. We are sorry to hear about your situation. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We encourage you to continue to work with your local Social Security office. You can ask to speak to a supervisor on your next call or visit. We hope this is resolved soon. 

  8. Kim

    I contracted the Coronavirus covid-19 and it totally destroyed my life I was hospitalized for over a 30 day period and had 2 surgeries due to the uglyness of covid. And almost lost my life. The virus still today haunts me every day and I’m struggling to feel normal. A hospital here in Omaha let me go hime even though I told employees I still hurt and didn’t feel well I returned to that hospital’s er and was immediately taken to surgery. This was a period of 3 hours being released. By now I could hardly breathe and was in horrible pain. 3 tubes were put surgically into my right side now. I had 18 blood clots in my right lung, staff infection, Amon is in my heart. Septic and pained I was told I would need another surgery and there was risks. I could only get surgery if and when my lungs were clot free? 10 days of immense stress pain and unable to walk and get out of bed I was taken to Bergen mercy hospital for surgery. I was cut down the right side of my body and they cut nerves in me right breast. I was told they scraped my right lung free of any septum or whatever I contracted this putrid disease at my job and I feel at such a loss of my life span now. I’m never going to be completely normal and free from covid. It’s hard just to grocery shop. I worked my entire life and raised 3 successfull kids I’m not asking for handouts here I just want what I deserve and payed into As of yet I haven’t received a dime of disability and have had Togo without any help from social security??? What am I supposed to do?

    • A.C.

      Hi, Kim. Thanks for visiting our blog. We are sorry to hear about your condition and situation. The length of time it takes to receive a decision on your disability claim can vary depending on several factors. Primarily, the nature of your disability, how quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor or other medical sources, and if your claim is randomly selected for a quality assurance review of the decision. Social Security pays disability benefits to people if they have a medical condition that has prevented them from working or is expected to prevent them from working for at least 12 months. We use the same five-step process to make a decision on each application. If you have a confirmation number from when you applied, you can check the status of your application here. For specific questions, we encourage you to work with your local Social Security officeYou may also be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps.

    • M V.

      Blame it on trump

      • jim23S

        Blame it on Biden!

  9. Richard R.

    I’m homeless and have been harassed by the Brookside police department and have a pending lawsuit. Now I’m living homeless in Homewood Alabama and I’m being harassed and intimidated every where I go. Every time I go to Walmart on lakeshore I’m harassed, every gasstation store I go to police and employees harassed me telling me to drop the lawsuit. I’m antagonize every where I go getting threats. There’s a campaign to get me put in jail and I avoid everything. I have in the past while struggling with addiction committed thefts in Homewood. I don’t trust the local police departments anymore. Just wanted to put what is going on in records. Thanks.

    • Beth M.

      It sounds like you need to find a different town/city to stay in until your lawsuit is settled. That way they can’t keep harassing you or setting you up for anything. The last thing you need to do is wander around there a have something minor completely ruin your lawsuit and let them win!!!

      • Sheila R.

        Great comment!!! There are so many homeless people these days and not nearly enough is being done to help them. Shelters are full and many are forced to live on the streets in inclement weather. They go into places to use the restroom and clean up, but the businesses call the cops on them and make them leave. Many people are families vets, and sick people and they are targeted. It is just sad to see how they are treated.

    • Cindy

      I got a question I wanted to know that if a person collects ssi and ssa, and they was to get married and the other person is retired would the first person lose there benefits and would they be able to collect on the spouses

      • A.C.

        Hi, Cindy. Thanks for your question.  If you receive retirement or Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, your marriage will not affect your benefit. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), widow or widower’s benefits, your marriage may affect your benefit. To learn more about how marriage affects benefits, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  10. MajJohn

    The service provided to the rural community is no different than any other community.

    • Anonymous

      For all those Social Security and disability payroll taxes that you and your employer paid in for the future benefit that you may need it one day whether it’s retirement or disability. That was required to be paid by every corporation in a time limit or pay fines for. all those years you worked 35 or 40 years and all those years that Social Security earn interest on that money…. Well, you can just forget trying to collect disability and to get your money back it’s taking three years denial after denial appeal after peel an attorney finally winning my case favorable decision in April and this is July and I still haven’t received a dime three years to the hearing it destroyed my credit, it has me in collections. I’ve almost lost my house. I haven’t been able to go anywhere because I have no money for fuel. Social Security administration, in their lack of ability to work in a timely manner like they expect employers to, actually contributed to furthering my illnesses and making me more sick from the stress. I drained my savings. I drain my 401(k) trying to survive and hold on my house of 30 years. It’s ridiculous and now I’m waiting for going on three months for my award letter, and the back payments, and to begin monthly payments, while I fall behind on my mortgage again, supposedly my account already tagged as critical doesn’t seem to be in a damn thing to anybody in the office!! so be forewarned, get your lawyer upfront! Contact your local Congressman’s office and let them know about any delays because that’s the only way anything will change with Social Security administration. A recent article I read that a lawyer actually investigated and put together the statistics that somewhere in the range of 1800 people died while waiting to receive their permanent disability benefits something like 3800 people lost their homes and something like the same range filed bankruptcy. So while they’re being critical of our medical conditions and amplifying them to a new level from the stress of waiting and trying to hold onto your world, their shuffling your paperwork from desk to desk.
      There’s no excuse for it first of all I paid into this account and I’m entitled to my money and I should not have to wait just like they did not allow us to wait to send the taxes in. People should not be dying waiting for their disability check that is insane. And people should definitely not have to lose their homes, or be struggling financially, or homeless as a result of Social Security administration’s lack of ability to work in a timely manner.
      Hire people and quit making excuses have some business managers walk through your offices and see everybody sitting around chitchatting instead of working like everybody that walks in that office is a dirt bag people are struggling. It’s a bad time on the planet. I have been suicidal, waiting, struggling with people, threatening to sue me and take my home and take me to court I have no furnace I have no air-conditioning. I have no refrigerator that works anymore because I have no money to pay for those things so it’s cold showers. Thank God it’s hot outside and no air-conditioning because the furnace is broken so we’re struggling with the heat now this is been going on for over a year. I have vehicles that are not registered. I have 2019 tax return I owe money on that I cannot pay so one government entity is delaying the payment to two other government entities.
      Somebody needs to do something
      soon to fix this issue

      • Jane D.

        Hopefully they won’t penalize you for leaving this blog, criticizing them for their lack of empathy, lack of social emotional skills, and lack of work ethic. I wish you well. Hope and healing to you 🙏

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