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It’s More Convenient Than Ever to Apply for Social Security Benefits

July 6, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 4, 2021

man and woman looking at each other and smiling You’ve worked hard your whole life, and receiving your Social Security benefits should be the icing on the cake at your retirement party. We’re working hard to make it as quick and seamless as possible for you to apply for benefits from Social Security.

Simply visit our Apply for Social Security Benefits page to get started. Through our safe and secure website, you can apply for:

  • Retirement benefits.
  • Spousal benefits.
  • Medicare.
  • Disability benefits.
  • Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs.
  • Supplemental Security Income.

You don’t have to be internet savvy to finish most of our online applications in one sitting with your computer. Or, if you prefer, we offer you the options to apply in person at your Social Security office or by telephone with one of our application representatives. Please call 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays to schedule an appointment.

You should also call us to schedule an appointment if you wish to apply for certain family benefits, including those for surviving spouses and children, divorced spouses and dependent children, and parents of beneficiaries.

After you’ve applied for benefits — whether online, by phone, or in person — you can securely and quickly check the status of a pending claim through your online my Social Security account. If you haven’t created your account yet, you can do so today.

You can also use my Social Security to view estimates of how much you would receive in retirement benefits and potential disability benefits and how much your loved ones could receive in family or survivor benefits.

We’re with you throughout life’s journey, from applying for your first job to receiving your first retirement payment. And we’re proud to help ensure a secure future for you and your loved ones.

To learn more about our programs and online services, please visit our website.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Cheryl

    when i turn 62 in the month of November do I receive payment for that month or do my benefits start in December? When would i receive my first check and can i continue to work through the end of 2017 without any penalty or must i quit working entirely to apply for benefits? Would i also be able to continue to work in 2017 as long as I am below the amount of $16,000 without losing my payment for retirement.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for contacting us Cheryl. To begin receiving reduced retirement benefits at 62, you are required to be age 62 for the entire month. For SSA purposes, individuals born on the first or second day of the month are considered age 62 for the “full” month and could be entitled to benefits for the month of their 62nd birthday. Retirement benefits are paid the month after they are due. So, for instance, if your want your benefits to begin with the month of December, you will receive your first benefit payment in January. The exact payment date is determined by your date of birth. You can still work and receive your Social Security retirement benefits at the same time. However, if you apply for benefits at age 62, and work part-time thereafter you will be considered “retired” only if your monthly earnings are $1,410 or less. For more information, visit our Retirement Planner: Getting Benefits While Working and read our publication: “How Work Affects Your Benefits”. If you have additional questions, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and talk with one of our representatives.

  2. Gina C.

    My question is I have mental and physical issues but I haven’t seen a doctor in years so how would I go about applying if I haven’t seen a doctor and I have no insurance to see a doctor. Plus I haven’t worked a full time job in a few years. So I’ve been told I can’t get SSI. NEED HELP!

    • Ray F.

      Hi Gina. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough in jobs covered by Social Security (usually within the last 10 years). The SSI program is a needs based program that gives cash assistance to disabled individuals with limited income and resources. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. However, if a person thinks that he or she meets our definition of disability, we encourage them to apply for disability benefits when they become disabled. You should not delay applying just because you do not have certain documents or lack medical reports. We will help you get them. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday if you need further assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. For more information visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page on disability. Thanks!

  3. Mimshach

    I just got my naturalization as a US citizen. During the Oath ceremony, I had a change if name. So at this point, what do I need to do?
    Should I expect a new SS card to be mailed to me automatically or I should come to the office?
    Also, if I have to come to the office, can I walk-in or only by appointment?
    Lastly, if I have to give NY proof of my naturalization, will my proof be returned to me the same day or kept until a different day.?

    • Jeff

      This will not happen automatically.

      You would want to apply for a new Social Security card, so that the Social Security Administration can update your citizenship on their records.

      Also, if you have changed your name, you will want to apply for a corrected replacement card for change of name and citizenship.

      Bring in proof of your name change, so that Social Security can change your names on their records.

      You will also need to identify yourself, this can be done with a drivers license state I.D. or passport.

      Last but not least, make sure you have your citizenship documentation, proving that you have become a U.S. Citizen.

      SSA does not make appointments, under any circumstances for someone to apply for a Social Security card. You can apply on a walk-in basis.

      If you apply by walk-in and you do not mail your documents in, Social Security will verify your documents and hand them back instantly.

      Your documents will not be out of your possession for more than a few minutes if you walk-in and apply.

      If you send in your documents by mail to get a corrected replacement card, you should expect them back in about 7 to 10 business days after you mailed them.

    • Ray F.

      Congratulations Mimshach! You will need to visit your local Social Security office or your local Social Security Card Center to update your Social Security record. Please bring with you, your Certificate of Naturalization (with the attached affidavit that reflects your legal change of name), and complete an application for a replacement card. All documents you submit must be either originals or certified copies by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. Any documents you provide will be returned to you. Some of our offices do offer walk-in appointments; however, these appointments are on a first come, first serve basis. You can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  4. Monette G.

    My Brother in law Germain Emond doesn’t speak english,so he asked me to find some informations. He was receiving a security income, and his payments are discontinued since April. He was told a couple days ago through his Bank that he had to pay back payments because he is deceased since January. I am trying to communicate with The Social Security Administration Baltimore DM. I left some messages , no call back or get a new phone number which there is no answer or cannot get though. Could you give me some info to help him correct this huge mistake. If you want I can also give you some more info concerning Mr. Emond … Social security number, age, address, phone number,,,, Thank you so much
    Monette Gasse for Germain Emond

    • Jeff

      If someone is reported deceased on Social Security’s records, that person, under ANY circumstances must show up in person at any local SSA office so that they can prove they are still living.

      They would need a state I.D. , drivers license or U.S. Passport to prove their identity.

      Generally, Social Security is able to get a translator for almost any language but if you would like, you can accompany him into the local Social Security office and translate on his behalf.

      Nobody can or will fix this from Social Security by e-mail or telephone.

      This is an occasion that MUST take place at a face to face interview.

      • Ray F.

        You’re right on target Jeff! Thank you for your comment and support.

    • Ray F.

      Hi Monette. Please remember, never post personal information on social media. Also, keep in mind that Social Security records are confidential and we do not disclose information, unless we have proper authorization or consent. To correct his Social Security record, your brother in law must visit the local office as soon as possible. He will need to provide us with at least one piece of identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, employee or school identification card. You can accompany him and assist with translation. Thanks!

  5. Lesly F.

    Hi, Ray I aploy for ssi on i have an appointment for 07/20/2017 please tell please what i need to bring to my that day.

  6. Gloria S.

    I will like to express my concern abaut the poor service rendered in the Kissimmee, Florida. District office. When you call, there is no response. If you leave a message they never return the call. If you mail any document via certified mail, and time after you request status of said documents they alleged they never received them, even though you have evidence of the return receive stamped by the ssa office. If you try to personally visit the office most of the time is closed for the public.

    • John

      Offices publish the times they are open to the public. Go during that time. They do not accept photo copies.

      • Ray F.

        Our offices are open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Every Wednesday at noon, offices are closed to the public so that employees have time to complete current work and reduce backlogs. Representatives at our toll free number (1-800-772-1213), are available Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Many services are conveniently available at our website 24/7. Thanks!

    • Ray F.

      Please accept our apologies, Gloria. Our field offices are open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Every Wednesday at noon, offices are closed to the public so that employees have time to complete current work and reduce backlogs. Remember that many services are conveniently available anytime at our website. Also, individuals can create a personal my Social Security account to get general information about our programs or manage their Social Security benefits. Generally, when calling our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later during the week. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We have referred your complaint to our operations staff to follow up and to take corrective action as necessary. We appreciate your feedback, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    • Ardolfo

      This sounds just like the SSA office in Rockville, MD. And just like the SSA office in Silver Spring, MD. And just like all other SSA office!

      • Tom

        When you vote for “less government” that is precisely what you will receive. Many offices have closed and many more are severely understaffed. Sorry if somehow voters thought less government would apply to anyone else and they would be unaffected. Congress has consistently under-budgeted the agency despite your years of paying taxes for the service they refuse to provide you. This is a political problem imposed on federal agencies.

        • BJ C.

          Possibly the “government” can eliminate some of the ridiculously repetitive paperwork!

  7. Prisco E.

    I wish to inquire about the $160.00 Military Service Earnings Credit gratuitously earned by my father – Pfc. Enrique Hapa Entines. Since 16 September 1940 till, at least, 25 March 1945. He was among those who were conscripted on July 26, 1941. By US President Roosevelt Military Order. Hence, the questions: (1) Did he acquire enough earnings credit for SSA benefits for himself, his widow and his seven (7) children? (2) Since he was born before 1930, I was duly informed that he needed only Thirty (30) quarters. And because he served in the very atrocious war that resulted into a lifelong Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Thus he needed only HALF or FIFTEEN (15) quarters. Instead of the required THIRTY (30) earned quarters. May I expect a courtesy answer and proper information. Thanks and more power always for good service. Especially to WAR-Hero-Veterans’ families.

    • John

      For security reasons such answers can not be answered on this blog and for privacy reasons your father’s information can not be given to you. Have your father look into this at the closest office.

  8. William P.

    Thanks you very I apply a few years ago and things work out fine and I did it’s all line.

  9. Vera

    Question: Recently my mother (who’s 81 years old) was sent a letter from a SS office that’s a little farther than she would be able to go on her own – but yet we have a closer office that she can go to instead. The issue is that she indicates that she is “assigned” the farther office for her particular needs. Is this true? Can she be “reassigned” to a local, closer office that she can attend without chasing down 3 business lines? Please advise. Thank you!

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question Vera. Your mother can go to the nearest office and ask our representatives to assist her. She should bring the letter with her to help our agents coordinate and complete any required action, necessary for continuation of her Social Security benefits. To make an appointment or to speak to one of our agents, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  10. Ruben

    I, received a letter that I, had been approval for Disability and should wait for a second letter. As of today 6 months no letter.

    • Ray F.

      We apologize for the delay, Ruben. Unfortunately, but for security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog. Please contact your local office. If you are unable to visit the local office, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks.

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