Online Services, Retirement

Skip the Trip! Retire Online

January 31, 2017 • By

Last Updated: August 4, 2021

woman on laptopOn this day in 1940, a 65-year-old legal secretary named Ida May Fuller became the first monthly Social Security beneficiary. A few months earlier, she had stopped by her local Social Security office in Vermont to learn how the program works. She knew she had paid into Social Security but wasn’t sure if she would get anything back out. A clerk at the office helped her apply for retirement benefits.

Today, you can skip the trip to a Social Security office and apply for retirement benefits from the comfort of home. Our Retirement Benefits web page makes it easy. Just select “Apply for Retirement Benefits” and follow the simple prompts. It takes as little as 15 minutes!

First, sign in to or sign up for your free personal my Social Security account. There, you can view and print out your Social Security Statement to verify your lifetime earnings record and get an estimate of your potential benefit amount. Then, visit our Retirement Planner for answers to your questions and help with deciding when to start receiving benefits. Use our Retirement Estimator for benefit estimates based on the earnings information we have for you in our records. You’ll also find helpful links to guide you as you complete the online application. If you need to step away, you can save your entries and continue later where you left off.

When you’re done, you’ll get a receipt that you can print and keep for your records. And by signing into your personal my Social Security account, you can check the status of your application online.

Of course, you’re welcome to apply for retirement benefits on the phone or in person if you prefer. Call 1-800-772-1213 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday to set up an appointment to visit your local Social Security office. Deaf and hard-of-hearing people can use our text telephone service at 1-800-325-0778.

Whether you apply online, over the phone, or in person, our knowledgeable staff will review your application carefully. We’ll contact you if we need more information or discover that you may be able to receive a higher benefit on another person’s work record, such as your spouse. We’ll also tell you if other family members may be able to receive benefits on your record.

In Ida May Fuller’s day, you could still ride in a rumble seat to get to your Social Security office. Now, our convenient Internet services are allowing many of our customers to ride the web to take care of their Social Security business. Aunt Ida, as her friends called her, continued to receive Social Security benefits until her death in 1975. She was 100 years old.

Social Security is with you through life’s journey, just as we were back in 1940. Giving our customers more choices is one way Social Security is securing today and tomorrow for millions — during Ida May Fuller’s time, now, and for future generations.


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Comments

  1. Pam M.

    How do I cancel part b medicare. I have a new job which has insurancw

    • Ray F.

      Hello Pam. Our policy requires a personal interview be conducted with everyone who wants to terminate their Medicare Part B benefits. Representatives at your local Social Security office will help you submit the required Form CMS-1763, “Request for Termination of Premium Hospital and /or Supplementary Medical Insurance”, or your signed request for termination, but we need to speak to you personally before we terminate your Medicare benefits to be sure that you fully understand the consequences of doing so. We do not offer Form CMS-1763 online.
      For further assistance or to make an appointment call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

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  7. Donna S.

    How far in advance of the date I wish to retire can I submit my request?

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  9. Laura M.

    I applied online and it told me my information did not match. I stood in line 1 and 1/2 hours then took a number to wait another 1 and 1/2 hours to talk to someone who told me I needed a new SS card as my name differed from Laura on my birth cert to Laurie the name I have always gone by. Got a new card and went online again and still got the same message to go in. I do not understand why people working there cannot see the exact reasons it will not let me apply online. It is a terrible waste of time without getting help. I now have to go wait for hours again. I pray I can get an employee that has the knowledge to figure out what the problem is. I fear someone else is using my number!

    • Ray F.

      We apologize for any inconvenience, Laura. If you think someone is using your number, there are several actions you can take. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page for more information on this topic. Thanks!

  10. normaholt51@gmail.com

    do i need to sign up for my social securty check if so and when my last day of working is january 5 2018 im the age 66

    • Ray F.

      Our system is set up to take applications three months in advance. When you are ready, you can apply for your benefits online at any time now. Remember that benefits are paid the month after they are due. So, for instance, if you want your benefits to begin with the month of January, you will receive your first benefit payment in February. Please visit our Social Security Retirement Planner for more information. Thanks!

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