You can apply for Social Security retirement benefits over the phone or in person. Here's how to apply and what you'll need when you do.
Difficulty Level: Average Time Required: 1 hour
- Call Social Security at toll-free 1-800-772-1213. They will make an appointment to take your application over the phone or at your closest Social Security office.
- The deaf or hard of hearing can call their TTY number: 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday - Friday
- The following information will be required when you apply:
- Your Social Security number
- Your birth certificate
- Your W-2 form or self-employment tax return for last year
- Your military discharge papers, if applicable
- Your spouse's Social Security number and birth certificate if he or she is applying, as well
- Your children's Social Security number(s) and birth certificate(s), if applying for children's benefits
- Proof of US citizenship or lawful alien status, ONLY IF you were not born in the U.S.
- Name of your bank and account number for direct deposit of benefits
- Submit original documents or copies certified by the issuing office. All documents will be returned to you.
- Benefits should start with the first full month after you reach age 62 or 65. (See Related Features for more details.)
- View Related Features (below) for more information.
- Even if you plan to continue working, you should still sign-up for Medicare 3 months before age 65.
- Social Security can send you a "Social Security Statement" showing your estimated future benefits and how to apply for them. (See Related Features for more details.)
- Time Required depends on availability of your required proof of
identification and other documents.