COLUMN: Donna Harper - My Social Security

The following people may choose an Advance Designation:

o   Adults applying for benefits who do not have a representative payee.

o   Adult beneficiaries or recipients who do not have a representative payee.

o   Emancipated minors applying for benefits who do not have a representative payee.

o   Emancipated minor beneficiaries or recipients who do not have a representative payee.

If you fall into one of the above categories, you may provide and update Advance Designation information when you:

o    File a claim for benefits online.

o    Use the application available in your personal my Social Security account at

o    Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

You may also change your Advance Designation(s), including the priority order, at any time while you are still capable of making your own decisions.  In the event that you can no longer make your own decisions, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing you already chose someone you trust to manage your benefits.


On July 4, we celebrate our nation’s independence.   For nearly 85 years, our programs have helped provide financial independence.  We continue to make it easier for you to access our programs and benefits.  Today, applying online is a convenient way to apply for benefits.

You can go online to apply for:

o   Retirement or Spouse's Benefits – You must be at least 61 years and 9 months in age and want your benefits to start in no more than four months.  Apply at

o   Disability –  Apply for disability at  You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:

1.    Are age 18 or older.

2.    Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.

3.    Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.

4.    Have not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days.  If your application was recently denied, our Internet Appeal application is a starting point to request a review of the determination we made at

o   Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs – Some people need assistance with the cost of medications.  Apply for Extra Help at

o   Medicare – Medicare is federal health insurance for people 65 or older, some younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease.  If you are not already receiving benefits, you should apply within three months of turning age 65 at

o   Supplemental Security Income – SSI is a federal income program funded by general tax revenues, and it is designed to help aged, blind, and people with disabilities who have little or no income.  You may be able to apply online if you meet certain requirements.  See if you can apply online for SSI at


Harper is the manager of the Social Security Administration’s Huntington office.