What You Should Know About Applying For Retirement

" "Approaching and preparing for retirement can be a daunting task, but we are here to make it as easy as possible. Social Security has eliminated the forms, signatures, wait time, and appointments. We made it easy, convenient and secure. You can complete our online retirement application in as little as 15 minutes from your preferred location, at a time most convenient for you.

Before you apply, you should think about things like how you’ll receive benefits, your health, and whether anyone else in your family can get benefits on your record. Let’s go over the basics together, just to make sure you’re on the right track for retirement, when the time comes.

The age you choose to retire affects the amount of benefits you receive and when you can start receiving them. If you start them any time before your full retirement age, we’ll reduce your monthly benefit. Depending on your year of birth, your full retirement age is likely between age 66 and 67. You may start receiving benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70.

If you elect to receive benefits before you reach full retirement age, and continue to work, it can affect your benefits. Social Security has an awesome tool called the Retirement Estimator that calculates a personal estimate of how much your benefit will be at different ages and “stop work” dates. You can use it to find the best combination for your situation.

You can read about other things to consider before you make your decision about when to begin your benefits. If you’re ready to apply, you can do it online. It’s easy, convenient, and secure!


65 thoughts on “What You Should Know About Applying For Retirement

  1. I would like to know or if someone call me back concerning my first payment where SSA took168.00 dollars from me without any explanation. My number is 2252292983. I’ve gone to get SSA office several times and no explanation from SSA. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    • Could it be your Medicare Part B payment, increased because of an IRMAA adjustment? Or your Part B and Part D combined? Or did you request that income taxes be taken out? Do you have any debts in arrears like student loans?

  2. Why is it hard for the Federal US Congress to pass legislative laws to allow the sells of Medical marijuana & recreation Marijuana which will produce enough Tax Revenue to boost Social Security funds for the next 120 years.

  3. I received money from SSDI, saying it was for my retirement, this month. Am i going to receive this every month and will it affect my SSDI that i receive every month?

  4. It’s not any clearer after this posting.
    My retirement day is somewhere between 66 and 67..boy is that helpful, not.
    Does it mean either on your 66th or 67th birthday or somewhere on or between them?
    Will you screw me if I start the process at 65.5, but want to start receiving at 66?

    • I am not an expert but I have read pretty extensively on SS. Your full retirement age depends on your birthday. For anyone born in 1954 or a few years earlier, full retirement age is 66. If you were born after 1954, full retirement age starts to incrementally increase. Google “SS full retirement age” and you should be able to narrow it down by looking at your birth year.

    • You should be able to designate that you do not want benefits to start until the month you turn your full retirement age. I will be 66 in June 2020 and I plan on starting the application process in April, with the certain understanding that I do not want benefits to start any earlier than my full retirement age of 66. Make sure that is understood on your application. My understanding is that the first payment will be in the month following the birthday month, so in my case I will expect the first payment in July 2020.
      Starting the application process 6 months in advance may not be the best timing. From what I’ve read, 2-3 months ahead of the time you want to start benefits is optimal.

  5. If I choose to retire at a overseas location, for example in my case, Taiwan. How will I apply for Social Security Retire Benefit in Taiwan. Can it be done on-line as well. How about the bank account which receives the retirement check? How is it done to have SSRB check direct deposit to my bank account in Taiwan?
    Thank you.

  6. I’m on disability. I’m turning 63yrs old this December. Does my disibility turn into my retirement payment or how does this work? Is retirement a higher salary than disibility or is it the same amount?

    • Hi, Mary. Thanks for your question. When you reach full retirement age, we will automatically convert your disability benefits to retirement benefits, but the benefit amount remains the same. Therefore, you don’t have to do anything. To find out your full retirement age, please visit here. We hope this helps.

  7. Excellent Information. You are doing your best to keep everybody inform about benefits. In about 8 months I will apply for my benefits and all these information help me to make a wise decision.


  8. I started filling out retirement forms some months past but never finished or sent anything in to SS. Can I use the new online procedure to file?

    • Hi, Richard. Thanks for your question. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  9. i Would like to talk to someone about what and when is the best option for me to start social security benefits. Also what paperwork I need to bring with me to get it started my birthday is 12-31-1957

    • Hi, Teresa. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  10. I was told I could apply for my social security benefits the year I turn 66. I turn 66 September 25, 2020. Can I apply January 2020 and start receiving the benefits at that time. Do I have to wait until 9/25/20 to receive benefits?

    • Hi, Jana. Please bear in mind that the decision on when to apply for benefits is a personal one. We can only provide you with the information to help you make the best choice according to your own situation. Eligible individuals can start receiving retirement benefits as early as age 62, but if you decide to start receiving benefits after your full retirement age, it may result in larger benefits. You earn delayed retirement credits automatically when and if you delay getting your benefits up until age 70. The benefit increase no longer applies when you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits. Also, keep in mind that if you work and are full retirement age or older, the amount you make at work will not affect your Social Security benefits, no matter how much you earn. To help you plan, you can use our online calculators. Also, you can create a personal my Social Security account to verify your earnings, and get a copy of your Social Security Statement. Our system is set up to take applications four months in advance, and when you’re ready, you can apply for your benefits online. If you need further assistance call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask to speak with one of our representatives, who are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. We hope this information helps!

  11. I am 62 years old and I was presently getting paid SSI benefit till last month(Oct.) And my benefit stop.i was advised to file retirement plan.do I have any option here? Either wait till IAM at the age of 66 to retire and retain my SSI b3nefit?

  12. I am putting together life skills training classes free to the public. I am in need of someone that can cover the basics of Social security and Disability. Is there a person that can be recommended?

    • Hi, Adam. Social Security can provide a speaker to discuss our programs, benefits, and services. We provide speakers free of charge, and they are generally available during business hours only. If you would like to request a speaker on behalf of your group, please visit here to complete the request form. All requests require at least 30 days advance notice to allow for scheduling arrangements. Please note that we are not able to fulfill all requests. Thanks for your interest in a speaker!

  13. I think that everything posted was very reasonable. But, what about this? suppose you typed a catchier title? I am not suggesting your information isn’t good, however what if you added something that makes people want more? I mean Adbot is a little plain. You should peek at Yahoo’s front page and watch how they create post titles to get people interested. You might add a video or a pic or two to grab people interested about what you’ve written. In my opinion, it could make your posts a little livelier.

    Info well used..

  14. I plan to keep working for quite a few more years. I am just trying to get set up with Social Security early concerning receiving the number that you will send me to get registered for Medicare, should I need it.
    I turn 65 this December, as you can see.

  15. How long does it take receive retiremrnt benefit.I ran into a problem. I called the national number between Nov 15 or possibly 18th. I was told I would receive call from local office within 6-7 days to set appointment and the process would usually take 4-6 weeks, consistent with my online researc. Today 12/4 I called to follow up and spoke to Matt, and for the first time, found out I could have completed enrollment on the day I called in November, with November application date, which matters. Matt guided me through the application and provided clarity on some questions due to my self-employment. Unfortunately,we were disconnected, shortly before I completed the retirement application, which leads to my concern, as I received conflicting information in my call back after disconnection, and again in a 3rd call as my completed application had somewhat “cryptic” message upon completion note today “may” be used as my application date .When I spoke to Matt he said he would find out why no call back or message left and get appointment set. This concerned because I wanted to take benefit in Dec in order to have check in Jan, and who knows when the appointment would be set and unable to get the December benefit. He assured me that, barring any unforeseen circumstance, my application would handled in a manner that would allow me to take the benefit in Dec as I so desperately need, presumably on an exception basis stemming from the lack of call back and resulting delay and essentially taking the appointment date out of the equation, presumably using the Nov date, if I
    understood the basis correctly, and no matter insofar there was no uncertainty as there was a way to make it happen. I was so relieved… that is until we were disconnected before completing and submitting” my application, at which point things went south in my 2nd call, no way to assure (barring unforseen), and same in 3rd call stemming from concern about application date. In the 3rd call, I heard for the first time, it would or could take 60, however I can see that 60 days does not conflict with 4-6 weeks in unforseen circumstance occurance. In short I am pleading to handle my application in manner that would allow me to take benefit in Dec as Matt was very knowledgeble and hard to believe he was providing false/incorrect info. I may not be correct to the basis, but there zero uncertainty that he could handle in manner that would make it happen. Please help me. Coming off two abdominal surgeries totalling 7 hrs face third for same issue, zero net income for 5 months,borrowed money from sisters, liquidated watches, books, furniture, gym set, clothes, suits, coats and whatever I can sell and continue to do so.

  16. I am in the process of applying for Partial SS and curious if the SS Dept will contact me with final approval with my benefit amount and give me the option to accept or decline my application??

    • Hi, Nora. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  17. My husband began receiving Social Security in August 2019. He applied for and was recently approved for Social Security Disability. He was 64 when he started receiving social security. His first SSD check will be paid in February. When he reaches full retirement age (66 and 2 months-born in 1955) Will his benefit change? Will he receive the full retirement amount, the disability amount, or the reduced amount he was receiving prior to the disability approval.

    • Hi, Tina. Thanks for your question. For your husband’s security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. He can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, he will have a shorter wait if he calls later in the day. He can also contact his local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  18. if your plan is to retire at 66, when is the best time to apply for your full retirement benefits? I’ll be 66 in may of this year and don’t want to be penalized for applying too early. Thank You

  19. My wife and I turn 62 this year (2020). She has transitioned from full-time nurse early in our marriage to stay-at-home mom for many years to now part-time employee. For many years of my career, I earned the max taxable by SS. Her SS income at full retirement is approx $1,000/month, while mine is something like $3,000/month. This means her spousal income (50% of mine) would be 50% higher than her own benefit, or about $1,500/month. Here’s my question. Can my wife apply to receive her own retirement benefit from her own earnings history when she turns 62 while I continue working to full retirement, and then can she switch without issue or penalty to higher spousal income tied to mine when I retire five years later?

    • Hi, Jim. Thanks for your questions. For your wife to qualify for spouse’s benefits, you must be receiving retirement or disability benefits. Also, when she qualifies for Social Security benefits on her own record, we pay that amount first. But if she also qualifies for a higher amount as a spouse, she’ll get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. Keep in mind if a person begins to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits the person may qualify. Visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information. We hope this helps.

  20. My wife started receiving a retirement benefits last year with no withholding tax. Appreciate if you can guide us how to change the status to have the benefits withheld with tax. We don’t want to face a financial burden with IRS during tax season because of this.Thank you!

  21. A applied for retirement benefits on 12/18/19 and as of yet haven’t received confirmation. My wife applied 2 weeks ago and already received her confirmation letter. What is going on? Please reply via e-mail if possible. Thanks

  22. I just finished today my application for benefits and submitted it online. Since I don’t have printed at home, I was not able to print a copy of the summary that needed to be filed. How do I get a copy? Thanks for your help.

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