Applying for Social Security Benefits

When Should I Apply? Approximately three months before you want the benefits to begin, this allows the SSA time to file the paperwork and get things in order.

How Can I Apply? There are three ways:

  1. Online: It’s easy to apply through the SSA website, or,
  2. Telephone: 1-800-772-1213, they can take your application over the phone or,
  3. In Person: You can go into an SSA office to fill out and submit your application. To schedule something, you can call 1-800-772-1213.

What Information Will You Need?

  • your Social Security number
  • your birth certificate
  • your W-2 forms or self-employment tax return for last year
  • your military discharge papers if you had military service
  • your spouse’s birth certificate and Social Security number if he or she is applying for benefits;
  • children’s birth certificates and Social Security numbers, if applying for children’s benefits;
  • proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you (or a spouse or child is applying for benefits) were not born in the U.S.; and
  • the name of your bank and your account number so your benefits can be directly deposited into your account.

They will want a certified copy of your documents or the original, I recommend sending in certified copies because you don’t want to have your originals lost in the mail (especially documents like your birth certificate).

That’s it!