Retire Online with Social Security, Quickly and Easily

January 10, 2019 • By

The idea of applying for Social Security retirement benefits might seem daunting, but it’s not. There’s no need to visit an office. You don’t have to use the phone. We have an online retirement application that you can complete in as little as 15 minutes and from the comfort of your home or office. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed.

It’s as simple as that. You can start your application.

You can apply online for retirement benefits or benefits as a spouse if you:

  • are at least 61 years and 9 months old;
  • are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record;
  • have not already applied for retirement benefits; and
  • want your benefits to start no more than 4 months in the future. (We cannot process your application if you apply for benefits more than 4 months in advance.)

You’ll have to create or sign into your my Social Security account as part of your application. If you don’t have an account yet, this is a perfect time to create one. Just as important, this is where you will be able to check your application for benefits. Like our other online services, my Social Security is available on your time and there’s no waiting in line or on the phone. You can see your entire work history going back to your first job to make sure we have all of your wages correctly tallied. Create or sign into your my Social Security account.

Are you curious about how much your retirement benefits will be? You can get an idea of what your benefits will be using our Retirement Estimator.

Social Security provides services for millions of people, but we also want to make your experience with us as simple and easy as possible. Our many online services, including retiring online, are part of that mission. You can access more by visiting our online services website.

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About the Author


Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


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  1. RKrasheD11

    thank you so much for knowing us about retirement benefits.

  2. Lachelle Elliott

    Hello .I would like to know if I can apply for my husbands retirement now because I got a letter once from and old job of his that said I can …what do I need to do so and will I get it now or would I have to waite ..he died in 2012 if he lived he’d be over I need to just apply to find out ..

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Lachelle, thanks for using our blog. If you are the widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can receive full benefits at full retirement age for survivors or reduced benefits as early as age 60. If you qualify for retirement benefits on your own record, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as early as age 62 or as late as age 70.

      Check out our Survivors Planner web page for additional details.

  3. Rene' Holladay

    I am trying to get a mortgage loan for a house I’m trying to buy. I will not receive my first SS payment until the second Wednesday of January 2021. I need a verification letter stating how much I will be receiving monthly and when it will start. I have tried to get one online and there is no access for me. I think it might be because it’s still processing. I alled and the person told me how much I will be getting and when but he said I cant get that information on paper. Why not? If SS already knows what I will be getting and when, why can’t they give me that verification letter so I can buy a house? Without that letter, the loan will fall through and I won’t be able to get a house until after the frst of 2021!!!!!! Please help me with this! Thank you

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Rene’, thanks for using our blog. Once your claim is processed, you will receive an award notice containing details regarding your benefit and payment information. You can log in to or create a my Social Security account to check the status of your application online.

      If you are unable to check your status online, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

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