Category: Social Security

How do you Apply for Social Security?

Applying for Social Security is actually easy, and you have choices when it comes to how you want to apply for benefits.

Apply online.

It seems that most everything can be done online now, and applying for your Social Security benefits is no exception.

  • Go to
  • Click on “Retirement” near the top of the page.
  • Click on the “Apply for Retirement Benefits” button under the “Apply for Retirement Benefits” heading on the next page.
  • Click on the “Start a New Application” button under the “Apply & Complete” heading on the next page.
  • Next, fill in your information.
  • Once you hit submit, your part is finished. It’s that simple! 

If the SSA has any questions about your application, someone will contact you. You can go to and sign in or create a my Social Security account to check the status of your completed application.

Apply in person.

Not everyone likes to do things online. If you prefer to apply for your benefits face-to-face with someone, you can head to your local Social Security office. Make sure to call first to schedule an appointment with an SSA representative. You’ll need to bring identifying documents with you, such as:

  • Your Social Security card
  • Your original birth certificate or other proof of birth (You may also submit a copy of your birth certificate certified by the issuing agency)
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the U.S.
  • A copy of your U.S. military service paper(s) (e.g., DD-214 - Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) if you had military service before 1968
  • A copy of your W-2 form(s) and/or self-employment tax return for last year

Apply by phone.

You can also apply over the telephone by calling 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call TTY 1-800-325-0778. An SSA representative will walk you through the application process.

You need to consider several things before applying for Social Security, so meeting with a financial planner is highly recommended. In the meantime, learning what you need to know before applying is a good first step for beginners.

Interested in learning more about Social Security? Head to the Medicare Learning Center and check out A Beginner’s Guide to Social Security. 

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