By BARBARA JENSENExecutive Director of the Senior Center of Finney CountyAre you approaching retirement age? You can now apply for Social Security benefits online. Just go to www.socialsecurity.gov. It's so easy.

You can apply from home during the hours of 4 a.m. to midnight (Central Time), Monday through Friday; 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and holidays; and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. You do not have to complete the entire application in one sitting. If you need additional information you can restart later without losing any information. Your application is secure. Social Security has taken every precaution to keep your personal information safe and disclosed only to you.

Go to www.socialsecurity.gov and click on "Applying Online for Retirement Benefits." You will proceed through a series of screens asking questions about yourself, your family and your work. Once you have answered all the questions, click on "Sign Now." Your application will be sent electronically to Social Security. You can print a receipt to keep for your records. You also will be given an application number which you can use to check on the status of your application online.

Once your application is received, Social Security will review it and contact you if they need clarification or if they require additional information. They will let you know if you could receive more benefits by using a spouse's record. You will receive a letter in the mail about their decision.

If you are merely considering retirement at this time, you can use the "retirement estimator." It will calculate your estimated retirement benefit based on your estimated retirement age and when you stop working.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS meet at 8:30 a.m. The art class meets at 10 a.m. The Ambassador Singers practice at 1 p.m. The "Eat Smart, Live Long" class begins at 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Line dancing starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by STEPS at 10 a.m. A nurse is available from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge begins at 12:45 p.m.

Saturday: The pool room is open in the afternoon.

Sunday: Duplicate bridge begins at 2 p.m.

Monday: Exercises are at 8:30 a.m. STEPS begin at 10 a.m. Humdinger Band practices at 12:30 p.m. Bridge and double pinochle begin at 12:45 p.m. Nutrition Council meets at 1 p.m. The Upbeats practice at 3 p.m. Duplicate bridge is at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Pitch is played at 12:45 p.m. The Finney County Senior Citizens Association board meets at 2 p.m. The Finney County Committee on Aging, the board of directors for the Senior Center, has its monthly meeting at 3:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

April 21: Line dancing starts at 8:30 a.m. STEPS begin at 10 a.m. Completely Unraveled meets at 1 p.m. Pinochle starts at 12:45 p.m. Craig Stevens will be the band at the dance starting at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $4. Bring finger food for the break.

Upcoming events

Watch for information on these two upcoming events: ScrapBooking on April 29 and AARP Defensive Driving (aka 55 Alive) on May 4. Details next week.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Ham and beans or beef stew, stewed tomatoes, corn bread, ranger cooker.

Friday: Sausage gravy, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, biscuit, citrus fruit.

Monday: Taco salad, refried beans, tortilla chips, strawberries and peaches.

Tuesday: Sweet and sour chicken, rice, broccoli with cheese sauce, wheat roll, blueberry dessert.

April 21: Chicken-fried steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, tossed salad, wheat roll, poke cake.