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How to Apply for Social Security Benefits Online

Apply online and avoid the crowd at your local Social Security office


Senior couple at home
Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty Images
The Social Security Administration estimates that in a 20-year span between 2009 and 2029, 80 million baby boomers will become eligible for retirement—at a rate of 10,000 per day.

To head off stampedes at local Social Security offices, the Social Security Administration has developed a program that allows boomers who are ready to retire (and who have reached the minimum age of 62) to apply for Social Security benefits completely online. The program allows people to apply for Social Security benefits for themselves, or to help someone else apply for benefits.

“Social Security’s new online retirement application can be completed in as little as 15 minutes from the comfort of your home or office,” said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. “Filing online means there’s no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative."

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits Online
To complete your online Social Security benefits application, go to the main Social Security Web page: http://www.socialsecurity.gov and click on “Applying Online for Retirement Benefits.” You will be asked a brief series of questions about you and your work.

If you can't finish your Social Security benefits application in one sitting: The Social Security site allows you to save your online retirement application and return to it at a later time, without losing any of the information you entered.

If questions come up while you are completing the online Social Security benefits application: The main Social Security page includes “more info” links that you can click on to get your questions answered.

When you finish the online Social Security benefits application: Click the "Sign Now" button to submit your online application.

Anything else you'll need to do? Probably not. There are no paper forms to sign, and Social Security says that in most cases, no additional documents are required. If more information is needed, a Social Security representative will contact you.

Find More Handy Info on the Social Security Site
In addition to the online application for Social Security benefits, http://www.socialsecurity.gov includes links to:

  • Watch a "how to" demo about completing the Social Security benefits online
  • View your Social Security Earnings statement
  • Estimate your Social Security retirement benefits using the Social Security Benefits Calculator
  • Check the status of your Social Security benefits application
  • Locate a Social Security office
  • Apply for Social Security Disability benefits
  • Learn where to get answers to other Social Security questions

Have you completed the Social Security retirement benefits application online? Tell us about your experience by emailing seniorliving@aboutguide.com.

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