Boomer benefits available

Freedom New Mexico

Social Security offices nationwide are bracing for the first round of baby boomers to hit retirement age.

Local Social Security officials are urging individuals to utilize the Internet to file their application.

“Staffing levels are at an all-time low,” Social Security District Manager Tony Romero said. “So, we are really pushing the E-Services that are available.”

Romero said E-Services include the ability to file for benefits, replace lost or stolen Medicare cards and request a proof of income letter. “It’s (the Web site) very user-friendly,” Romero said.

Romero, who oversees offices in five surrounding counties, said there are 6,767 baby boomers in Curry County and 2,611 in Roosevelt County. Romero said 4,887 people are nearing retirement age this year in Curry County while 1,875 are eligible for benefits in Roosevelt County.

A baby boomer is anyone born between 1946 and 1964. Romero said 10 years of work must have been completed to be eligible for benefits.

For those eligible, Romero suggested completing the retirement application about three months before the planned retirement date. “Each person has an option of how they want to complete their retirement or disability application,” Romero said. “They can follow the traditional route of coming into an office or they can go online.”

Romero said the local Social Security branch plans to have a booth from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Peanut Festival in Portales. “We will be there to provide information about what is available via the Internet,” Romero said.

How to file for benefits
l Visit the local Security Office at 1208 Arcineiga Dr. in Clovis.
l Call 1-800-772-1213
l Go online to www.socialsecurity.gov
By the numbers
62 — the earliest age a person can start receiving Social Security benefits.
65 — the age full retirement benefits begin.
Source: Social Security department