Senior Life

News & information for the seniors in our community

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May the benefits be with you

By Judith Bartels, Social Security district manager in Springfield

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[May 08, 2012]  May 4 is an unofficial holiday designated by fans as Star Wars Day. Why May 4 and not the more likely May 25 (the day the original Star Wars was released)? It all comes down to a simple but catchy phrase: may the fourth be with you.

When celebrating Star Wars day, it can be easy to picture the space warriors in their original state, the way they have been captured on film. But consider this: May is also Older Americans' Month. That may be more fitting than you realize, since the heroes of Star Wars first burst into pop culture "a long time ago."

Most of the heroes and villains of Star Wars are now closing in on retirement age. Yes, Han Solo is well into retirement; Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are almost old enough to get Social Security benefits. (Sorry, Chewbacca, but you have to be human to receive Social Security benefits.)

You don't have to have the wisdom of a Jedi or the knowledge of a Droid to figure out retirement benefits. If you're planning ahead for a distant retirement, visit the Retirement Estimator to get an instant, personalized estimate of your future retirement benefits. Blast off to

If you're ready to apply now for retirement benefits, just go online. It's so easy, and you can do it faster than the Millennium Falcon can outrun Imperial fighters -- in as little as 15 minutes at

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This year's theme for Older Americans Month is "You're never too old to play." When Star Wars first came out in 1977, social networking would have seemed like space-aged ways to play, but you now can connect with Social Security on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. What's more, you can even do it from your own smartphone ...  even if it's not a Droid.

Visit and target the "Facebook" and "Twitter" icons.
This May 4, may the "fourth" be with you. And remember: the benefits will be with you ... always.

[By JUDITH BARTELS, Social Security district manager in Springfield]

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