Most people understand that at some point in their life they will have to get a social security number. It is probably the only number you'll have that is connected to everything about you. Without a social security number you won't be able to get medical treatment, work legally in the United States or even be able to make major purchases when you need them. It is the way the government and other agencies are able to identify who you are. You may have the same name as someone else but no two people have the same social security number. So, it is inevitable that at some point in time, you may have to visit the nearest social security office in order to manage your identity.

Social Security Services

The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a network of more than 1,400 offices around the country and a host of offices in US embassies throughout the world. Each of those offices is prepared to assist US citizens in managing their disability, retirement, or supplemental security income so that everyone can get their social security needs met.

You may need to contact the nearest social security office in your area if you want to take advantage of any of these social security services you qualify for. If you plan to retire soon, you can learn what is needed to claim your retirement benefits, if you have a disability you can find out what's required to file a disability claim. You can also apply for Medicare, survivor's benefits in the case of the death of a close relative, and get information on how to claim benefits if you're living outside of the U.S.

When You Need to Visit an Office

For most services offered by the SSA, there is no need to physically visit an office to get things done. You can simply go on their website and fill out applications, make requests, and get your questions answered. However, there are times when the online services are not what you need and you find that you really want to talk with someone face-to-face to get your needs met. For example, while most benefits can be applied for and handled online there are certain cases where an in-person visit is necessary; applying for survivor benefits and Supplemental Security Income are just two of them. When you're ready to start the process here are a few things you need to know.

Call the toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 ahead of time to schedule your appointment. Give them your ZIP code or location so they can determine the nearest social security office for you. Make sure that you have all the necessary documents on hand when you go. If you're applying for survivor benefits you'll need to make sure you have the death certificate with you.

Considering that the SSA has closed several offices and made numerous budget cuts it makes sense that you make the most of your time when you visit. Wait times are longer so always be completely prepared for your visit so you don't have to make repeated trips to get your business taken care of.