Recently there have been some changes designed to streamline the process of estimating and receiving your Social Security retirement benefits. The motivation behind these changes is to eliminate paper as much as possible in order to save the government millions of dollars
All new applicants of Social Security benefits will now be required to receive their payment via direct deposit. According to the Social Security Administration 85% of beneficiaries are already using this option. Current recipients of paper checks will need to transition to direct deposit by the year 2013.
Up until last month if you were under retirement age you received an annual estimation of future benefits in the mail three months prior to your birthday. The estimates are now available online at socialsecurity.gov/estimator. The estimator is interactive and will allow you to customize your estimates based on your past working record and estimated future income and retirement dates.
Applying for benefits
Applying for benefits can be done online eliminating the need to wait for an appointment and driving to the local Social Security office. More details can be found here.