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Not Your Parents’ Retirement

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - Americans nearing retirement age are living healthier,  working longer and playing harder than any past generation.

Let’s face  it, this is not your parents’ retirement plan. In fact, even how  to apply for retirement benefits has changed and for the better.

Instead of waiting in line to apply in a busy government office, more and  more people are applying for retirement benefits from the comfort of their  home using Social Security’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov.

About half of all retirement applications received by Social Security each  month are online. Already, millions of people have taken advantage of this  easy, secure and convenient way of applying.

Applying Online for Benefits

Applying online is convenient and will save you time and stress. The  application is easy to use and can take as little as 15 minutes to complete.  You can save your work at any point in the process and finish at a later time  without having to start over.

The application also offers:

• “More Information” links to guide you through the  process;

• A printable receipt for record-keeping; and

• A confirmation number to check the application status at any time.

Getting Started

Before applying, anyone thinking about retiring should make an informed  decision based on a number of factors, such as current cash needs, health and  family longevity, whether to work in retirement and future financial  obligations. It’s important to know that you can begin Social Security  benefits as early as age 62, but the amount is reduced if received before   “full retirement age.” Right now, the full retirement age is 66, but  it will reach age 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

Social Security offers online tools to help you understand your retirement  options. The Retirement Estimator (www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator),  for example, gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings  record and allows you to customize your estimate by changing your   “stop-work” age and future earnings.

Another tool to help you plan for retirement is a my Social Security account. If you are not yet receiving  benefits, you can create an online my Social Security account to access your Social Security Statement. The Statement includes your lifetime  earnings record, as well as estimates of potential retirement, disability and  survivors’ benefits. You can register for a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

It’s never too early to start retirement planning. If you are ready  to hang up your briefcase or tool set, the journey is now a lot easier. Join  the millions of Americans who are applying for retirement benefits the fast,  convenient, secure and stress-free way: online. To learn more, go to www.socialsecurity.gov.