Social Security is a federal program regulated by the Social Security Administration in the interest of retirees as well as workers who are disabled or handicapped. What is the best way to apply for Social Security? There are three ways to apply, in person, online, or over the phone. Continue reading for details! The process of application for Social Security is simple provided you know the process, fit into the eligibility criteria, and have the required documentation.
When to apply – Is it better to take Social Security at 62 or 67? The age criteria for Social Security Retirement benefits is 62 years or to be more precise 61 years and 9 months. To make the maximum of the Social Security program, it is better to delay the collection of your benefits. In the coming paragraphs, we have compiled easy-to-understand info about Social Security Benefit Process like how to apply, when to apply, which is the best way to apply, what are the requirements, and much more. So, let’s get to the information!
The minimum required age for this program is 61 years and nine-month. To meet the eligibility criteria, a minimum 10-year job experience where you were eligible to earn Social Security credits is required. The minimum time you need to get started with your payments is by applying three months prior. However, if you start collecting benefits late (which is recommended) or at the retirement age which is 67, your monthly earnings will be 30% more.
Now moving to the required documentation, you need to have all the below mentioned documents ready while submitting your application:
- An original Birth Certificate or any other alternate proof of birth like a copy of your birth certificate from the Issuing Agency may also suffice.
- Citizenship status, if you are born in the US, proof of US Citizenship and if not, the legally accepted alien status.
- If you had served the Military service before the year 1968, U.S. military service paper (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty).
- One copy of the W-2 forms or self-employment tax return of the previous year.
Applying for Social Security Benefits
You can apply for the Social Security Benefits program by directly visiting the local Social Security Administration office (link is an office location finder). You can also apply online or over the phone. Let’s get to the details of each:
- Applying at local Social Security Office in Person
You may visit there or take an appointment at this number 1-800-772-1213. You need to take all the required documentation with you and visit a little before your time (highly recommended). You can locate the SSA office near you by visiting this page: https://ssofficelocation.com/
- Applying Online
You can also apply online if it is more convenient for you. Keep your documents ready, you may need to submit them at the end of the form. Here is the link you need to visit SSA Website and apply, here is the online application link for your ease: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/rib
- Applying over Phone
Applying over the phone is another convenient method and is also very helpful for the application of Survivors Benefits. Keep your documents handy, you may need to provide the info. The number you can call is mentioned here: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Application Submission and Tracking
Once you are done with this application submission, you can just wait and monitor the status of your application online. Generally, no further documentation-related formalities are required after application submission and if any info or document is required you will be contacted by the SSA Office.