Online Application

You can apply for Social Security retirement benefits on the Internet at, the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) website.  You can complete the online application in a single session or start the application and finish it sometime later before sending it electronically to SSA.  When you complete the online application, you will sign it electronically by selecting "Submit Now."  You will receive an online receipt with the address of your local Social Security office.  Your receipt will also tell you how to check the status of your application.  In some situations, SSA will request additional documents, which can be either mailed or taken to your local Social Security office.  When SSA has all of the necessary information and documents, it will process your application and send you a letter about its decision in the mail.

TIP from the editor:  If SSA requests an original of your birth certificate, it is best to take it to your local Social Security office to have it copied rather than mailing it.  If you have a certified copy, you may wish to mail it.  Always keep a copy and note the date the document was sent to SSA.

The electronic application is stored in a secure database.  The Social Security Administration uses the strongest commercially available encryption to ensure that an applicant’s confidential information is secure as it travels over the Internet.

Visit the Social Security Adminitration website to learn more about applying for benefits online; view a video demonstration on how to apply online; or complete your online application for retirement benefits. 

Phone Application

Optionally, you can apply for Social Security retirement or survivors' benefits by calling SSA's national toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 or TTY number 1-800-325-0778 from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday through Friday.  You may be able to file directly over the phone without having to make an appointment or visit an office.  To file an immediate claim, individuals should have certain documents handy when calling such as their birth certificate, employer details for the current period and prior two years, and bank account information.

Personal Application

If you want to apply in person, you can call SSA’s national toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 or TTY number 1-800-325-0778 to schedule an appointment at your local Social Security office.


Edited by PLL Contributors

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Is this legal advice?

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