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How to Easily Apply For Social Security and Receive the Most Benefits

Social Security is a very important part of any person’s retirement. Without it, you won’t have any income when you retire. But getting these benefits is not possible unless you apply, so let’s learn the different ways you can apply for Social Security.

There are a few different ways that you can apply for Social Security benefit. Some ways may be easier than others for some, so that’s why we will discuss all of the ways you can apply. You can choose the method that works best for you. Here are some of the most common ways to apply:

  • Online
  • Over the telephone
  • In person

Applying online is one of the easiest ways to apply for Social Security. All you have to do to apply online is fill out the online application on the SSA’s website and send it in.

This application can also be used for Medicare as well.

When To Apply

Before you apply, however, you need to consider when the best time is for you to begin receiving your social security benefits. First, you must determine your full retirement age. Basically, what this means is that this is the age at which you are eligible to receive your full benefits.

For example, if you were born in 1937 or sooner, then the age is 65 for full benefits. Jump ahead to 1940 and the age is 65 and 6 months.If you were born between the years of 1943 and 1954, the age is 66. You get the picture. The later you were born, the higher the age for full social security benefits.

Increase Your Benefits

The best way to increase the amount of your monthly benefit is to hold off applying for as long as possible. Although eligible to apply at age 62, if you can wait, say until you are 64, your benefit check will increase. For every year that you delay, your benefit will increase by approximately 8%.

However, if you start collecting early at age 62, you will obviously receive more checks, although at a lower amount. Consequently, the decision is up to you based on your financial circumstances.

Applying By Phone

Another simple way to apply for Social Security Benefits is to simply call and sign up over the phone. There are two separate numbers that you can call when applying for Social Security. The first number is 1-800-772-1213. The second number is for those that can’t hear that well or are deaf. That number is 1-800-325-0778.

Applying In Person

Applying in person ensures that everything is correct, and that there is no miscommunication. There is nothing like human-to-human contact. All you have to do to apply in person is call your local Social Security office and make an appointment to come in. This will ensure that you aren’t waiting for a long time and that your application is processed correctly

Applying Outside of the U.S

You can also apply if you are currently residing outside of the U.S. All you have to do is go to the nearest U.S Embassy and ask to apply for Social Security, of course, you must be a U.S citizen to do so.

What Are the Requirements?

It is important to learn the requirements for receiving Social Security benefits so that you aren’t wasting your time with an application when you don’t even meet the requirements. Here are the basic requirements:

  • In order to sign up for Social Security, you must be at least 61 years and 9 months old.
  • In order to get the benefits immediately, you must be 62 years of age.
  • Apply less than 4 months before the benefits start date.

As you can see, the requirements for applying to Social Security are uncomplicated and pretty basic.

Understanding the Benefit Process

The benefits process is very simple when it comes to Social Security. Your first benefits will come one month after the sign-up, so you always get the benefits from the previous month.

What Information Is Needed to Apply?

When you apply for Social Security benefits, there may be some information that is required of you. This is to make sure that everything adds up and that you are eligible for the benefits. Here is the information you will need:

  • Your personal Social Security card
  • Your birth certificate
  • Proof that you are a U.S citizen
  • Your tax information from the previous year.

If you don’t have all the necessary information to sign up, this should not hold you back. You can still apply with the information that you do have and you can always send in the other information at a later time. The Social Security office may even help you to obtain that information.

When you sign up for Social Security, it is important that you bring your banking information so that you can sign up for Direct Deposit. You will need your bank routing number as well as the checking account number. Both of these numbers are found at the bottom of your personal check. This is the best way to receive the benefits because it is automatically added to your account.

Choosing a Benefits Program

There are several different types of benefits programs that you can sign up for when applying. It is important that you choose the benefits program that best fits your needs, here are the different types of benefits available:

  • Retirement benefits
  • Medicare
  • Spouse benefits
  • Child benefits

In order to get the best benefits available, it is important that you don’t delay signing up for Social Security. If you do wait there is no guarantee that you will be able to get all of the benefits that you would if you were to sign up as soon as you are eligible.

How to Apply

It’s a common misconception that the application process for benefits is complicated. There are a few things to remember when applying for Social Security benefits. Here are the most important pointers:

  • The application process is not that difficult, and if you take it to step by step, it will go well;
  • You need to know what entitlements you may be eligible for before you fill out your application form; and
  • You’re required to provide your SSN on the form, so make sure it is correct.

Online or In Person?

With so many benefits to choose from, it is understandable that you would be confused about which one to apply for. An important thing to know is that you should decide which benefits you want before starting the application process. You can easily check whether online or in-person applications are best by considering a few things:

  • The application process and amount of paperwork you need to complete each option
  • The cost and if it’s cheaper; and
  • More information on how long it’ll take you before your benefits are paid out.

How Long Does it Take?

The process of filling out an application to receiving payment on your benefits depends on various things. Social Security uses many forms and paperwork, and there is no way to tell exactly how long it will take you to receive your payments. This said, here are some things that will tell you how long you’ll have to wait:

  • How long it takes the agency to verify your work records;
  • How fast the agency will process and verify them; and
  • How many people are applying for benefits at that time.

When to Apply?

When you want to receive your benefits as soon as possible, the best time to fill out the application form is at least two months before you need them. For example, suppose your retirement date is May 1, 2011, and you want to get your Social Security benefits by January 1, 2012.

In that case, it’s best to apply for benefits in November or December 2010. Applying immediately is also an option if you don’t want to wait that long. You should start applying at least three months before your retirement date; however, as stated above, there are no guarantees.

Best Month For Applying

The month you apply for these benefits will not affect the time to receive your money. However, as stated above, you may want to apply at least three months before you retire. The time to receive your benefits will depend on how fast the agency processes and verifies all the paperwork you submit.

What Paperwork Do I Need?

You’ll need the following when you apply for Social Security:

  • Your application form;
  • A photo ID and a document proving you’re a U.S. citizen; and
  • Proof of your United States citizenship.

You may also require:

  • Proof of your work record; and
  • Medical evidence that proves your disability is permanent. (Click here for more information on how to apply for disability.

Benefits of Social Security

If you qualify for Social Security benefits, you can pay a portion of your monthly income toward quality of life. As stated in the previous question, several benefits depend on how long the agency takes to verify your work records. These include:

  • Out-of-pocket payments;
  • Medical insurance; and
  • Retirement benefits.

By using the tips provided in this article, you should have no problems getting the best benefits available from social security and getting your benefits quickly. You can also use services such as a social security benefit calculators so you can know just how much you should expect to get.