Disability, Online Services, Retirement, SSI

5 Ways to Apply for Social Security Benefits Online

September 16, 2021 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: September 16, 2021

man searching internet on laptop computerWe continue to make it easier for you to access our programs and benefits. Our website offers a convenient way to apply for benefits online.

You can apply online for:

  • Retirement or Spouse’s Benefits – You must be at least 61 years and 9 months in age and want your benefits to start in no more than four months. Check out our Apply for Benefits page for information on how to apply.
  • Disability Benefits – You can use our online application to apply for disability benefits if you:
    • Are age 18 or older.
    • Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.
    • Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
    • Have not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days. If your application was recently denied, our online appeal application, is a starting point to request a review of the determination we made. Please visit our Appeal a Decision page to learn more.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – SSI is a federal income program funded by general tax revenues, and helps people who have little or no income and who are age 65 or older, blind, or have disabilities. If you meet certain requirements, you may apply online. If you are not able to apply online, call your local Social Security office to apply.
  • Medicare – Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people age 65 or older, some people younger than 65 who have disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease. If you are not already receiving Social Security benefits, you should apply for Medicare three months before turning age 65 at Medicare Benefits page.
  • Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs – People who need assistance with the cost of medications can apply for Extra Help on our website.

We also encourage you to sign up for a personal my Social Security account if you don’t have one. Using your personal my Social Security account, you can request a replacement Social Security card, verify your earnings, get future benefit estimates, and obtain benefit verification letters.

Please share this information with family and friends – and post it on social media.


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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Comments

  1. Rhonda

    I am one month short of a 10 year marriage. I am presently 68, still working and not taking any benefits yet. I believe my ex husband had higher earnings then me – but being one month short of 10 years, does that disqualify me?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Rhonda. Thanks for your question. To be eligible for divorced spouse benefits, you had to be married to your former spouse for at least 10 years and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record. For more information on how to qualify for divorced spouse benefits visit our Benefits Planner. We hope this helps. 

  2. Michael

    I am 65 yrs old US citizen living in Ghana.I filled out an online application and received a congratulatory response, a few minutes later I received a notice saying “sorry we cannot process your application online because the information you provided is different from that we have on file.”How can this be if they walked me through the online process step by step correcting me as I went along..Why not tell me the inconsisteny if it exist and make do the correction.Just thrown out with no help.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Michael. Since you are living outside of the U.S., please contact your local  Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  3. John

    It has been 5 months since I submitted my application. What can an applicant do when the representative assigned to processing your online retirement application is not able to do the job for reason unknown, and then the application disappears as if it never existed. I’ve contacted my local office and got promises of a call back from the rep after her week off, that was 3 weeks ago. I recently contacted the 800# and was advised I should call my reps office and leave another voicemail message on her extension. Is it possible that representatives are so far behind due to working from home that it is impossible to get help. What should I do now? Call my congressman or get a lawyer?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, John. We are sorry to hear about your experience. We encourage you to continue working with your local office. You can ask to speak to a manager on your next call. You can also submit feedback by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. We hope this helps.

      • John

        Thank you for your response. The email link isn’t working for me.
        It comes up as “Bad Request – Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand. Size of request header field exceeds server limit”

        I left another voicemail for my rep. If I don’t get a return call or any notification in my account by next week, I will reach out to my local office again.

  4. Earl G.

    My wife has waited until age 70 to claim SSA benefits on her record. She turns 70 in July 2022. During what month this year is the earliest she can complete her application to begin her benefits to coincide with her birthday without payment reduction.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Earl. Our system is set up to take applications four months in advance. Your wife can apply for her retirement benefits online as early as March. Remember that benefits are paid the month after they are due. So, for instance, if she wants her benefits to begin with the month of July she will receive her first benefit payment in August. We hope this helps. 

       
  5. Elaine F.

    My husband is turning 70 and has been trying for 3 months to register for full social security. Local office gave a date for call but no one called. He called was told he didn’t have an appointment. Tried on line got message couldn’t verify info. Locked out. He’s having anxiety attacks. What to do

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Elaine. We are sorry to hear that. For your husband’s security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. If he is still unable to create an account or encounters a problem with his personal my Social Security account, he can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “help desk.” To ensure he has the correct contact information for his local office, please visit our Social Security office locator page. We hope this helps.

      • Robert J.

        Can i collect on my wifes ss Has been gone ten yrs ,someone told me to cantact SS

        • Robert J.

          Can i collect on my wifes ss Has been gone ten yrs ,someone told me to cantact SS

          • Robert J.

            Can i collect on my wifes ss Has been gone ten yrs ,someone told me to cantact SS

          • Ann C.

            Hi, Robert. We are sorry to hear about your loss. You are eligible to apply for survivor benefits when you reach age 60 (age 50 or over if disabled). However, there are other factors that may affect your entitlement to these benefits. For more information, please visit our If You Are The Survivor page. We hope this helps. 

        • Ann C.

          Hi, Robert. We are sorry to hear about your loss. You may be eligible to apply for survivor benefits when you reach age 60 (age 50 or over if disabled). However, there are other factors that may affect your entitlement to these benefits. For more information, visit our If You Are The Survivor page. We hope this helps. 

  6. Ozcan A.

    İ am US citizen,retired and residing in Turkey.İ cannot sign up to My Social Security just because İ dont live in US. Every time İ have questions or issues İ have to write to US Embassy in Greece and wait for a response for weeks.This is not fair..Something should be done to treat us as US citizens.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Ozcan. We are sorry to hear that. Please submit feedback by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. We hope this helps.

  7. Char L.

    My husband is having hard time applying for SS benefits.
    He will be 65 in April 2022.
    He is in bad health and needs total care, so an office appointment is not happening.
    I have called SS Admin. several times only to be on long holds and no contact with a representative.
    I tried setting up My Social Security account but now account is suspended.
    I’m hoping he can get SS benefits before he succumbs to his illness.
    Is there any help out there?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Char. We are sorry to hear about your husband’s condition. Please be aware our call volume is higher than normal. We encourage you to continue to work with your local office. You can also call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. We hope this helps. 

  8. Emeria F.

    I was returning to saved application to complete Medicare. I received a message stating that the request can’t be processed due to information on file versus what was provided.
    I need help.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Emeria. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. If you are still unable to access your application or encounter a problem with your personal my Social Security account, please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “help desk.” We hope this helps.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Emeria. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. If you are still unable to access your application or encounter a problem with your personal my Social Security account, please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “help desk.” We hope this helps.

  9. beverly J.

    How do I know if my benefit would be more if I used my ex husbands benefits?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Beverly. Thanks for your question. If you have a personal my Social Security account, you can get an estimate of your personalized retirement benefits. To be eligible for divorced spouse benefits, you had to be married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record. For more information on how to qualify for divorced spouse benefits, visit our Benefits Planner. For specific questions about your potential benefit as a divorced spouse, please call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. We hope this helps. 

  10. Teresa T.

    I need some clarification on some retirement questions. I’ve been told that when I retire, I can receive benefits from my husband’s SS because he made a lot more than I did. Is this true? If it’s not, then where did this idea come from?

    Thanks.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Teresa. To qualify for spouse’s benefits, your spouse must be receiving retirement or disability benefits. Keep in mind that if you qualify for your own benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. Visit our Benefits Planner page for more information. We hope this helps.

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