Though there is no longer a Social Security Administration office in Ketchikan, services are still available locally and online.
Kimberly Herrmann is a public affairs specialist with the Social Security Administration’s Seattle office. She says on Thursday afternoons, clients can drop in to the Ketchikan Job Center to speak with an agent remotely through a video relay display.
“The person is remote. It’s via Skype. You would be able to see the individual’s face. You’d be talking to them. And they’re actually stationed in the Anchorage field office.”
“They’re going to be able to only ask questions, get information, get that replacement Social Security card. And they would also be able to make appointments to apply for other benefits.”
Other services include applying for retirement, disability, supplemental security income or Medicare. Herrmann says most services are available online, and recommends using that option. She says if a person wants to discuss issues with an agent, appointments would be by phone, but…
“Sometimes with appointments, and it depends on just how busy everything is, it could be a couple of weeks or even a month or so before they get that appointment. So the quickest way for anybody to apply for a benefit is going online. And that application is received the very next day.”
Herrmann says the only service not available by phone or online is application for a first- time social security card.
“So, let’s say an individual just came into Alaska from another country, and they want to apply for a first time Social Security card. Anytime you have a first time Social Security card, it has to be an in-person interview. So they would have to go into a field office.”
Herrmann recommends signing up for a My Social Security account. Through that account, you can check your statements, change your address and phone number, change direct deposit, get replacement cards and download a benefit verification letter. Herrmann says all federal government websites end in dot-gov. If a site does not end with that extension, it is not an official government site.
The Social Security office at the Ketchikan Job Center is open Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m. The job center is located at 2030 Sea Level Drive. Herrmann will be participating in a video teleconference November 9th beginning at noon at the Ketchikan Public Library. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about services offered.
Following are helpful links and numbers:
Toll-free number for the Social Security Administration: 1-800-772-1213
SSA main website: https://www.ssa.gov/
My Social Security website: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/