Applying for your Social Security benefits is less of a daunting process than it may seem, especially since the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows you to apply online. Once you’ve determined the best age to apply for your situation, the actual application is fairly straightforward.
The SSA will need a few documents and some supplementary information from you in order to begin sending you your benefits. We’ll go through all the necessary documents you’ll need to have.Documents You’ll Need
When it’s time to apply for your Social Security benefits, you’ll need to have the following documents in hand:
If you can’t access any of these documents for one reason or another, don’t hold off on applying. Your local Social Security office can help you obtain certified copies or equivalent information, or you can submit them later on in the process. Delaying signing up for benefits could result in you losing benefits.
Note that the SSA can accept photocopies of some of these documents, such as your W-2 and tax returns. However, you’ll need to submit the original of other forms, such as your birth certificate.Other Information You’ll Need
If you’re married, you’ll also need to provide your spouse’s name, Social Security number (SSN), date of birth and age. You’ll also need to have the date and place of marriage, and this goes for any former spouses as well. For logistical purposes, you’ll want to indicate what month you want your benefits to begin, and you’ll need to provide your bank’s routing number and your account number.
As part of your application, you can also indicate if you would like to enroll in Medicare Part B, but you’ll have to be eligible.
You should also note in your application if:
What you do (or did) for a living may have an impact on your benefits, so you’ll need to supply the SSA with some employment information as well. This includes the name and address of your employer for both this year and last year.
You’ll also need to know how much money you earned this year, last year and potentially next year. You’ll need an estimate of next year’s income if you’re applying in September, October, November or December.
Similar to the above section, you should also indicate on your application if any of these conditions apply to you:
Most of the documents and information you’ll need for your Social Security application should be easy enough to get your hands on. If you have trouble doing so, your best bet is to visit your local Social Security office and start your application anyway. Odds are, the SSA will be able to help you track down any documents or information you don’t have. For instance, you can use Form SS-5 to order a new Social Security card.
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary info and documents, you should have no problem with your application. Then you’ll be well on your way to supplementing your retirement savings with Social Security benefits.Tips For a Successful Retirement
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