Online Services, Retirement

Skip the Trip! Retire Online

January 31, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

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

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Kristine H.

    I received a piece of mail dated November 15th rom SSA the day after Thanksgiving telling me that if I didn’t reply within 10 days my Social Security claim wouldn’t be processed. I want to point out that we had very bad weather for most of a week here in Haines, Alaska. Giving me a ten day window to respond is really unreasonable.

  2. Hawk H.


    I need to dis enroll from Medicare Part B as I’m still employed by a company with insurance benefits. I work overseas and would like to do this online. Is there a procedure for this?



    • Ann C.

      Hi, Hawk. To terminate your enrollment, we will help you submit a signed request for termination or Form CMS-1763. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires, when possible, a personal interview be conducted with everyone who wishes to terminate entitlement. Therefore, we do not offer form CMS-1763 online. Since you are living outside of the U.S. you can 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. Veronica C.

    I called and spoke to Javier on May 28, 2019 @ 4:36p regarding canceling my Medicare B because I am still carried by my husband’s insurance through his work. Javier said that he’ll mail CMS-1763 form for me to complete. As of todate NO form receive yet. Please help and thank you. My email is

  4. Gayle F.

    We have received 2 letters that advised the monthly payments had been adjusted. We would like to come in and talk with someone as to why.

  5. Chris P.

    I was told to get a form CMS-1763 to stop Medicare deductions, but I can’t find it on the website. Please help.

  6. APX P.

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  7. APX P.

    Fantastic post.Ne’er knew this, thank you
    for letting me know.

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  9. Pam G.

    If I am turning 70 in March do I need to apply or will benefits start automatically? In March, or sooner?

    • Kenny O.

      Hello Pam. Thank you for your question. Your benefits will NOT start automatically at age 70. You will need to apply for benefits. Remember, benefit increases no longer applies when you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking your benefits. To receive your benefits starting in March, consider applying for benefits anytime within 4 months before turning 70.
      If you need further assistance, call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will experience a shorter wait time when you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks!

  10. Linda G.

    I have been on hold for over an hour. How can I set up an appointment without coming in?

    • Ray F.

      Hello Linda. We currently do not have an online appointment scheduler. When calling our toll free number (1-800-772-1213), you will experience a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
      Keep in mind that many of our services are conveniently available anytime at our website. We encourage our customers to create a my Social Security account. With a personal my Social Security account, you can get estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, review your earnings record and much more. Thanks!

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