Social security number and card

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Starting your Social Security retirement benefits is a major step on your retirement journey. This page will guide you through the process of applying for retirement benefits when you’re ready to take that step. Our online application is a convenient way to apply on your own schedule, without an appointment. You can also apply by phone or by appointment at a Social Security office.

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Before you apply, take time to review the basics, understand the process, & gather the documents you’ll need khổng lồ complete an application. We encourage you to create or sign in to lớn your personal my Social Security tài khoản to verify your earnings. Your future benefits are based on the earnings we have on your earnings record.

reviews Retirement Benefits Basics

You can start your retirement benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. If you’re preparing to apply for retirement benefits, knowing when you’re eligible khổng lồ apply và how the system works are the first steps in choosing what age is right for you. Before you submit an application, go lớn our Learn About Retirement Benefits page lớn understand:

How you qualify for Social Security benefits. How your earnings & age can affect your benefits. What you should consider in deciding when khổng lồ start receiving benefits. Retirement benefits for spouses and family members. Understand The Application Process

The retirement benefits application process follows these general steps, whether you apply online, by phone, or in person:

Gather the information & documents you need khổng lồ apply. Complete & submit your application. We review your application and liên hệ you if we need more information. We mail you a decision letter. You start receiving your retirement benefits. How Early Can I Apply?

You must be at least age 62 for the entire month to be eligible lớn receive benefits. If you were born on the first or second day of the month, you meet this requirement in the month of your 62nd birthday. If you were born on any other day of the month, you vì not meet this requirement until the following month.

You can apply up khổng lồ four months before you want your retirement benefits lớn start. For example, if you turn 62 on December 2, you can start your benefits as early as December. If you want your benefits to lớn start in December, you can apply in August. If you turn 62 any day after December 2, you are not age 62 for the entire month of December. You can start your benefits as early as January when you are 62 for the entire month. If you want your benefits to start in January, you can apply in September.

Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month they are due. If you are due benefits for the month of December, you will receive your first check in January for December.

Ready to lớn Start Medicare?

If you’ll turn 65 within three months, you can use our online application to lớn apply for Medicare and Social Security retirement benefits at the same time, or you can use it lớn apply for just Medicare. To learn more about your Medicare options, reviews our section on Medicare Benefits.

Applying As A Spouse Or Family thành viên

You may be able to lớn receive retirement benefits on your spouse or former spouse’s record. Likewise, your spouse or family member may be able khổng lồ receive benefits on your record if they qualify. Learn more about Benefits For Your Family.

Retirement Benefits For Survivors

If you are the spouse, divorced spouse, family member, or parent of a worker who has died and you are planning to apply for retirement benefits, review our Survivors Benefits page to see how Social Security survivor benefits relate to lớn your situation.

Gather Information You Need khổng lồ Apply

Before applying, be ready lớn provide your Social Security number và information about:

Dates of current và previous marriages, and where you were married. U.S. Military service dates & branches. Employer names và dates for the past two years. Self-employment income và type of business. Ngân hàng information to set up your direct deposit. Family members who may be eligible to receive benefits on your record.

We will ask for certain documents we need to nhận xét and process your application. These documents may include:

Proof of U.S. Citizenship if you were not born in the U.S. & have not submitted proof for an earlier Medicare or Social Security claim. We must see the original document(s) or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept expired, notarized, or photocopied documents.

As you prepare to lớn apply for benefits, first gather the documents listed on our Checklist for Online Medicare, Retirement và Spouses Application. Instructions on how to lớn submit your documents will appear at the kết thúc of the online application.

If applying by phone, gather the information above. We will walk you through the process on the phone.

If applying in person, ask your local Social Security office what you need to lớn bring when you hotline to schedule your appointment. They can help you if you don’t have all your documents right now.


Applying online is the easiest way to complete your application at a time that works for you, without a trip lớn the Social Security office. You can also apply by phone or at a Social Security office. This section will tell you about the different options.

Apply Online

Follow these steps lớn apply online:

On that page, reviews the “Getting Ready” section khổng lồ make sure you have the information you need to lớn apply. Select “Start A New Application.” We will ask a few questions about who is filling out the application. You will then sign into your my Social Security trương mục or you will be prompted lớn create one. Complete the application.

Watch our video, “Welcome lớn Our Online Retirement/Medicare Application,” for an overview of the process.

Tips For Using The Online Application

We’ve worked hard khổng lồ make applying online as simple as possible while also keeping your information safe.

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For security reasons, the online application gives you a warning if you leave it open and don’t bởi vì anything for 25 minutes. You can choose khổng lồ extend your time on the page if you get this warning. However, after the third warning, you must move lớn another page or your information will not be saved.

Here are more tips for using the online application:

If you get stuck on a question, you can skip khổng lồ the next question và come back later. You can save your application to finish another time if needed. Next time you sign in, go to lớn “Return to lớn a Saved Application.” You are not allowed lớn use periods, commas, or other special characters for some answers, including addresses. If you get a menhatroso.comge about this, go back & enter the information without periods or other characters.

Start your application now.

Signing The Online Application

You’ll have a chance to review your answers và make changes, if needed. Once you’ve filled everything out, we’ll ask you lớn confirm that your answers are true lớn the best of your knowledge. You can be held liable for intentionally providing false or misleading information.

The last step is lớn “sign” the online application by clicking “Submit Now.” You can check the status of your submitted application using a confirmation number we provide.

Helping Someone Else Apply Online

You may help someone else fill out their application, but you are not allowed to lớn sign it for them. Only the person applying for benefits can legally sign the application. If they are not able to lớn sign online, we will mail them a copy lớn sign. Read more about Helping Someone Apply Online.

Apply With Your Local Office

You can vày most of your business with Social Security online. If you cannot use these online services, your local Social Security office can help you apply. Although our offices are closed lớn the public, employees from those offices are assisting people by telephone. You can find the phone number for your local office by using our Field Office Locator & looking under Social Security Office Information. The toll-free “Office” number is your local office.

Apply By Phone

Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. Khổng lồ 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to apply by phone.

If You do Not Live In The U.S. Or One Of Its Territories

Contact the Federal Benefits Unit for your country of residence if you live outside the U.S. Or a U.S. Territory và wish lớn apply for retirement benefits.


Once we receive your application, we’ll reviews it and liên hệ you if we have any questions. We might request additional documents from you before we can process your application.

Look For Our Response

You’ll receive a letter in the mail with our decision. If you included information about other family members when you applied, we’ll let you know if they may be able khổng lồ receive benefits from your application.

check The Status

You can check the status of your application online using your personal my Social Security account. If you are unable to check your status online, you can điện thoại tư vấn us 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. Lớn 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Appeal A Decision

You have a right lớn appeal any decision we make about whether you’re entitled lớn benefits. You must request an appeal in writing within 60 days of receiving our decision. There are four levels of appeal:

Reconsideration by Social Security staff. A hearing before an administrative law judge. A nhận xét by Social Security’s Appeals Council. A đánh giá by the federal courts.

To learn more, visit Appeal A Decision.

Withdraw Your Application

Sometimes, life changes occur after you submit your application. You have up to 12 months khổng lồ withdraw your application, if you change your mind. You will be required to lớn repay any benefits you’ve already received. Learn more about Withdrawing Your Social Security Retirement Application.