There are plenty of benefits to applying for Social Security online. However, there are many aspects that applicants need to be aware of. The disability professionals at Disability Associates, LLC. discuss everything you need to know about applying for Social Security online.
The Social Security Administration welcomes applications in person, over the phone and online. For those wishing to complete the process in-person, visit the local Social Security office. To do so over the phone, call (800) 772-1213. In order to apply for Social Security online, visit the SSA website here.
According to the SSA, you can apply online for retirement benefits or benefits as a spouse if you:
- are at least 61 years and 9 months old
- are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record
- have not already applied for retirement benefits
- want your benefits to start no more than 4 months in the future.
When should you apply? Based on your birthday, you have a “full” retirement age. For individuals born in or after 1960, full retirement age is 67. For those born before 1960, it will be 65 or 66, depending on the exact birthday. If you begin collecting at full retirement age, you’ll receive full benefits. However, you can also allow for your benefits to increase by 8% every year by delaying the start of collection until age 70. Alternatively, you can begin collecting as early as age 62 – meaning checks with a reduced amount, but more of them. For tips on increasing your benefits, view our previous article on the subject here.
What will you need to apply? As previously mentioned, there are many ways to apply for Social Security, however, there are several documents that need to have prepared, regardless of your application. The SSA requests the following documents, among others:
- your original birth certificate, a certified copy of it, or another proof of birth
- proof of your U.S. citizenship or your status as a legal alien
- a copy of your U.S. military service paper(s) if you served in the military before 1968
- a copy of your W-2 form(s) and/or your tax return for last year if you were self-employed
How do I apply online? Once you’re on the SSA website, click on the ‘Apply for Retirement Benefits’ section. Within each of the three steps, you’ll be prompted to:
- Make sure you meet the requirements to apply online for either retirement or Medicare.
- Gather all of the necessary information in order to complete the application process.
- Apply for benefits (may take anywhere between 10-30 minutes to complete, depending on your situation).
- Follow up with the SSA regarding any updates or questions.
- Check your application status to ensure completion.
Why should you apply online? Apart from the convenience of applying in the comfort of your own home, you’re also able to save your application and come back to it if you do so online. Applying in-person has the potential to take more time than it otherwise would online. The same goes for applying via phone.
For more information on applying for Social Security disability, contact the professionals at Disability Associates, LLC. today.