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Applying for Social Security Retirement Benefits

Details Links and Downloads

How to apply
When, where and how to apply, plus all the identification and documents you'll need.

When Your Benefits Will Start
A person who meets all other requirements for entitlement can receive benefits beginning with the first full month he or she is age 62. However, if benefits begin before age 65, they are reduced to account for the longer period over which they will be paid. 

Get an Estimate of Your Retirement Benefits
The Social Security Statement shows your Social Security earnings history and how much Social Security taxes you have paid into the program. It also estimates your future benefits and tells you how to qualify for those benefits. You can request one online using the link below:

Online Request for Social Security Statement
This service allows you to make a request for a Social Security Statement with an online form. You will receive a response to your request by U.S. mail in 2-3 weeks. The Social Security Statement will include:

  • A complete earnings and Social Security tax history
  • Estimates of retirement, survivors, and disability benefits

The service is available (Eastern Time):
Monday through Friday 7 AM - 12 Midnight

Saturday 9 AM - 4 PM

You will need:

  • Your name
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your place of birth
  • Your mother's maiden name (to help identify you)
  • Your last years' earnings and an estimate of future earnings (Optional)
  • Age at which you plan to stop work (Optional)

More Useful Information from Social Security

From other About.com Guide Sites

Social Security Benefit Resources
Links to everything you need to know about the Social Security system from Retirement Planning Guide Gregg Hanna.

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The Social Security Administration announced increases in benefits and taxes for the year 2000. Gregg Hanna has all the details.


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