Although filing for Social Security benefits can be done via phone or the internet at www.ssa.gov, you will more than likely have to make at least one trip in to your local Social Security office. Most cities do have one or two Social Security offices, and large cities often have several. You can enter your zip code in the space provided on the Social Security Administration's website to find your local office. You can also refer to your local telephone directory for a listing near you. They are often listed under "U.S. Government, Social Security Administration" or sometimes under "U.S. Government, Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration". If you are having trouble locating a Social Security office, try calling the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 for assistance.
Documents Needed for Filing for Social Security Benefits
The easiest and fastest way of filing for Social Security benefits is to fill out your application online and then submit all additionally necessary documents to the Social Security Administration office according to the instructions provided on your application. Remember, however, not to mail certain documents that are hard to replace, pose a security risk if lost, or take a long time to replace (such as your birth certificate or Social Security card).
If you do not feel comfortable filing for Social Security benefits online, you can go into the Social Security office closest to you and do this in person. Many people prefer this method to ensure that they submit all of the required information and to receive individual attention during the application process . Just be sure you know what documents you will need ahead of time in order to save you from making multiple trips.
If you are filing for retirement Social Security benefits you will need to submit the following to the Social Security office:
In addition, the Social Security administration requires you to provide
If you are filing for adult disability Social Security, you will need to fill out both the online application and the Adult Disability Report online. The Social Security Administration also requires you to sit for an interview. At this interview, you will be asked to provide the following information and documents:
When You Should File for Social Security Retirement Benefits
Filing for Social Security benefits for retirement is time sensitive. Your benefits will vary based on when you claim them. For example, if you claim them at age 62, your Social Security payments will not be as high as if you wait until your full retirement age, usually between age 65 and 67. To receive even larger checks, you could even wait until your 70.
If you would like to begin receiving your benefits as soon as possible, filing for Social Security benefits three months before your birthday on which you become eligible is best. By the time the Social Security office processes your claim, you will have reached the eligible age to receive your benefits. Social Security benefits never apply retroactively. In other words, you will never be able to receive benefits for the months that you were eligible but hadn't yet applied.
When You Should File for Medicare
If you are eligible for Social Security benefits, then at age 65 you are also eligible for Medicare. You should apply for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday, so as not to delay coverage. This is true even if you do not plan on filing for retirement benefits right away. For more information on filing for Medicare visit the Social Security Administration's website by clicking here or visit the United States government's Medicare website at www.medicare.gov.
Contact a qualified social security lawyer to assist in your social security disability or retirement benefits issue.