Social Security is a program that was established more than 80 years ago. It’s purpose is to provide income benefits for retired people. Did you know disabled persons can also apply? Additionally, widows and surviving dependents are also eligible for benefits.
Before applying for social security, see if you qualify. Certain age requirements must be met. Also, credits or points earned for working are needed. Once these conditions have been met you can apply for benefits. The next step is to contact the Social Security Administration. You can easily open up an account online. If you prefer,you may contact your local office.
When to Begin Receiving Social Security Benefits
Have you wondered when the best time is to retire? Benefits are based entirely on income received during the years you worked. For this reason, it is important to work as long as possible. Benefits are available as long as at least 40 credits have been earned. Age is also important in knowing when to retire. If you retire early at the age of 62, your benefits will be reduced. Waiting can increase benefits by about 25 percent. Full retirement age is currently 67. However, if your health is good or you have other income, waiting until you are 70 to claim your benefits will increase the amount you receive.
Benefits of Delayed Retirement
Some people choose to delay retirement until the full retirement age. By doing this, they increase their monthly benefit. Social security benefits increase about eight percent for each year a person waits to apply. Therefore, waiting until the age of 70 will provide you with the greatest benefit.
Three Easy Ways to Apply for Benefits
There are three easy ways to apply for Social Security. The first and easiest way to apply is online. The online application saves time and is very efficient. The entire process should take no more than 15-30 minutes. Second, you can schedule an appointment to visit the local office. This is the best way if you’re not comfortable on the computer. Third, the entire process can also be handled on the phone. Call 1-800-772-1213. No matter how you apply, gather the required information ahead of time.
Retirement and Spousal Benefits Applications
In order to apply for benefits, certain guidelines must be met. A person must be at least 61 years and nine months old to apply. If you try to apply more than four months before you retire, you will not be successful. A person applying for spousal benefits must not be receiving any other benefits. These guidelines can be found on the Social Security website. If you have any questions, call your local SS office.
Gather Your Information
It is important to have all information and documents available before beginning the application process. Below is a list of documents needed before applying.
- Birth date and place of birth
- Non-citizens must provide permanent legal resident number
- Current physical address
- Marital status and spouse’s name, birth date, ss number, city, county, and state where marriage took place
- Military service information or spouse’s military information
- Employer information for the year application is made and the previous two years.
- Review ss earnings and compare to W-2 and 1099 earnings
- Record of any additional income
Once you have the required documents, the application process will be quick and easy.
Be As Accurate as Possible
Above all, be as accurate as possible when filling out the application. Pay attention to details and review your answers. Compare documents with the completed information. When applying online, you will have a chance to make changes before hitting the submit button. There is no need to mail the application. It can be easily and securely submitted online. Be sure to print the receipt and keep it with other important records.
When to Apply
At whatever age, you decide to retire, you must remember to apply 4 months before you wish to start receiving your benefit check. If you wish to retire at the age of 62, and you turn 62 in May, you will begin to receive your benefits in June although you have applied as early as February. Your benefits begin the first full month of your retirement age. However, if you were born on the first or second of the month, your benefits will begin that month. In addition, remember that there is a one month delay in your benefit check. Even though you may qualify for a full month payment in May, it will not be paid until June.
Other Important Details
After filling out the application sign and submit the document. You many be asked to submit some documents by mail. These might include proof of birth date, proof of U.S. citizenship or recent W-2’s. Having the needed documents on hand when applying will save time. Following these steps will avoid a delay in receiving benefits. It is important to save the application electronically. Make a printed copy for your records. An application number will be assigned that can be used to check on the status.