January 16 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - a national holiday. To some, the day means more than an observance of the birthday of the civil rights leader. It is also a day to be of service to others.
The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.
A great way to be of service to others is to help someone you know who may need assistance applying for Social Security, Medicare, or Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs. Each of these is easy to do at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.
Some people who need these benefits may not be comfortable with computers or may not even know applying online is an option. But now it's easier than ever to apply for such benefits from the convenience of a home computer at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.
For example, it's easy to apply for retirement benefits at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline. It can take as little as 15 minutes from start to finish, and once the application is electronically submitted, in most cases, there is nothing more to do.
It's even easier to apply for Medicare, for people who do not plan to begin their Social Security retirement payments yet but who do want Medicare coverage. The application takes about 10 minutes and can be found at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly.
People who already have Medicare coverage, but who have trouble meeting prescription drug costs, can apply for Extra Help online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp.
This holiday, you may want to make a trip to see the new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington D.C., or listen to a recording of a memorable speech. You can also make your Martin Luther King Day a day of service to someone who can use your help. Lead them to http://www.socialsecurity.gov. It may be easy for you, but it may be a dream come true for the person you help.
Kathy Petersen is the public affairs specialist for South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 605 Main St, Suite 201, Rapid City, SD 57701, call 1-866-354-1123 ext 23519, or e-mail email@example.com.