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  • Antoinette Kruse

Are you ready to apply for Social Security Retirement Benefits?

Review Retirement Benefits Basics

You can start your retirement benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. If you’re preparing to apply for retirement benefits, knowing when you’re eligible to apply and how the system works are the first steps in choosing what age is right for you.

Gather Information You Need to Apply

Before applying, be ready to provide your Social Security number and information about:

  • Dates of current and previous marriages, and where you were married.

  • U.S. military service dates and branches.

  • Employer names and dates for the past two years.

  • Self-employment income and type of business.

  • Bank information to set up your direct deposit.

  • Family members who may be eligible to receive benefits on your record.

SSA will ask for certain documents needed to review and process your application. These documents may include:

  • Your original birth certificate or other proof of your age. This must be the original document or a certified copy from the issuing agency.

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship if you were not born in the U.S. and have not submitted proof for an earlier Medicare or Social Security claim. SSA must see the original document(s) or copies certified by the agency that issued them. SSA cannot accept expired, notarized, or photocopied documents.

  • A copy of your W-2 tax form(s) and/or self-employment tax return from last year. A photocopy is acceptable.

  • A copy of your U.S. military service papers if you served before 1968. A photocopy is acceptable.

Apply Online

Follow these steps to apply online:

  • To start your application, go to our Apply for Benefits page, read and agree to the Terms of Service. Click “Next.”

  • On that page, review the “Getting Ready” section to make sure you have the information you need to apply.

  • Select “Start A New Application.”

  • SSA will ask a few questions about who is filling out the application.

  • You will then sign into your my Social Security account or you will be prompted to create one.

  • Complete the application.

Apply By Phone

Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to apply by phone.

If you live in Lee County, Southwest Florida , you can call the local the local Fort Myer office at 1-888-329-5721

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