How to file for Social Security

It’s time to retire

In the United States, workers look forward to one thing, retirement. With retirement for most people comes the ability to file for Social Security benefits. These are available to people who have worked at least 10 years of eligible employment and are over the age of 62. How much you will receive each month is determined by how much you earned over your life time. For full benefits anyone born after 1929 has to be a minimum of 66 years and for some 67.

No one is going to get rich from Social Security but it is nice to know that in addition to savings, pensions and IRAs there will be something coming in every month.


Step 1

If you are at least 61 years and 9 months, go to the Social Security administration website and watch the video that explains what you need to do to file for your Social Security benefits. The video will walk you through the steps to file online.

Step 2

On the Social Security Online website under "Select Below To Apply For" click on the button that says Retirement/Medicare. This will take you to another page where you go to the section that says start the application process.

You need to tell them who you are applying for, whether or not you are are visually impaired and then that you have read about the Privacy Act Statement, Finally click apply for benefits.

This will take you to the first of four pages that you will need to fill out. It is estimated that it will take about 15 minutes to fill out the form.

Step 3

If you prefer you can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to file for Social Security benefits.

Step 4

If you want to apply you can go to your local Social Security Administration Office. You can find a list of the offices closest to you on the Social Security Online website.

Step 5

No matter which way you decide to apply, you are going to need to be able to provide certain documents to prove who you are

"Social Security card or a record of your Social Security number
"birth certificate
"proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the U.S.;
"military discharge papers if you had military service before 1968; and
"a W-2 form for last year, or your last year’s tax return if you’re self-employed.

These should all be original documents or certified copies. They must be delivered to or mailed to Social Security, They will return your original documents to you after the have photocopied them,

Things Needed
• At least 40 quarters of eligible employment
• Have reached the age of 61 and 9 months
• Proof of identity
• Social Security card
• Birth certificate
• Proof of citizenship
• W-2

Tips & Warnings
• You can apply up to four month before you become 62 years old.
• If you take early retirement, there are restrictions on how much additional money you can earn.


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