Applying for social security benefits, like retirement or Medicare, may seem like a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. You can easily apply online, by phone at 1-800-722-1213, or by visiting your local Social Security Office. If you do choose to visit the Social Security Office, be sure to call ahead and make an appointment.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does require quite a bit of information to properly apply for retirement and/or Medicare benefits, so accurately filling out all of the required forms helps expedite the process and ensures that you are getting the benefits you deserve.

Being ready to provide the information listed below is the best thing to do to start the process off right!

Information About You:

  • Date of birth, place of birth, and your social security number
  • Name, social security number, and date of birth/age of current spouse and any former spouse. If appropriate, you should also include the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death.
  • The names of any unmarried children under 18, children 18-19 in secondary school, or children disabled before age 22
  • Your bank accounts routing number and account number
  • Your citizenship status
  • If you or anyone else has ever filed for social security benefits or Medicare on your behalf. If so, we will also ask for information on whose social security record you applied.
  • If you have used any other social security number
  • For retirement benefits, the month you want your benefits to begin
  • If you are within three months of age 65, whether you want to enroll in Medical insurance (Part B of Medicare)

Information About Your Work:

  • The name and address of your employer(s) for the current and previous year
  • The amount of money earned for the current and previous year. If filing for benefits in the months of September through December, you will also need to estimate next year's earnings.
  • A copy of your social security statement or a record of your earnings. If you do not have a statement, you can view your statement online by creating an account.
  • The enrollment and discharge dates of any active U.S. military service prior to 1968
  • Whether you became unable to work because of an illness, injury, or other condition at any time within the past 14 months. If "yes," put the date you became unable to work.
  • If you have earned social security credits under another country's social security system
  • If you qualify for a pension or annuity based on your own employment with the federal government, a state, or a local subdivision

Documents You May Need to Provide:

It may be necessary for the SSA to see certain documents in order to pay benefits. If you apply online, a list of these necessary documents will appear at the end of the application, along with instructions on how to submit them. Documents may include:

  • Original birth certificate
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or, if you weren’t born in the U.S., lawful alien status
  • A copy of your U.S. military service paper(s) if you had military service before 1968
  • A copy of your W-2 form(s) and/or self-employment tax return from last year.

It’s important to now that the SSA does accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns, or medical documents. However, they require the original document for most other records, like your birth certificate (they will return it). Even if you don't have all the documents we need, you should still submit the application and any documents you do have. You can provide the missing documents later or the SSA may be able to help you get them.

With all of this information ready to be provided to the SSA, applying for social security and Medicare benefits should be much quicker and less of a hassle. If you have any questions about applying for such benefits, the experts at LBMC EP are here to help. We are well versed in all things benefit-related, and we are more than happy to assist you with anything you may need. We also work with FEDlogic, a value add to LBMC EP PEO, for social security benefits support. Contact FEDlogic's Frank Cardenas at 615-830-4630.