Boldly going where 2 million have gone before

As part of an ongoing effort to connect baby boomers with their Social Security benefits, ‘60s icons George Takei of “Star Trek” fame and Patty Duke have recorded a series of ads promoting the Social Security Administration’s online services.

“Won’t filing for Social Security benefits online be confusing?” Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on the beloved science-fiction series and in six subsequent feature films, asks Duke in one of eight new commercials. “It’s simple and easy,” Patty assures George. “It’s so easy, even Kirk could do it.”

(Cue William Shatner’s angry diatribe.)

But seriously, folks, “Social Security has a great website and the top-rated online services in the U.S.,” says Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue. “We now have a fun new way to get the word out. Having George join forces with Patty will help us reach the millions of people who can take advantage of this convenient way of doing business with Social Security. Boldly go to www.socialsecurity.gov to plan for your retirement and to apply online so that you too may live long and prosper.”

Aargh. Is there really no copyright infringement issue here?

The point is, those ready to retire, apply for disability benefits or delay retirement and apply only for Medicare, can do so from the comfort of their home or from any computer, the administration says; about 2 million people did so last year. And those already receiving Social Security benefits can go online to notify the agency about a change of address or phone number, to start or change direct deposit, to get a proof of income letter, or replace a lost Medicare card.

And that, apparently, is enough to make “the crankiest Klingon smile.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.