What Documents Do You Need To Apply For Retirement Benefits
We request different documents depending on your circumstances. You can help by being ready to provide the information and documents listed below. You can also use our Checklist For The Online Medicare, Retirement, And Spouses Application to help you gather the information you need to apply.
Documents we may ask for include:
- Your Social Security card or a record of your number.
- Your original birth certificate, a copy certified by the issuing agency, or other proof of your age.We must see the original document, or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies.
- If you were not born in the U.S., proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. We must see the original document, or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept documents if they have expired. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies.
- A copy of your U.S. military service paper if you served before 1968. A photocopy is acceptable.
- A copy of your W-2 form and/or self-employment tax return for last year. A photocopy is acceptable.
We will return all documents and photocopies unless specifically told otherwise.
Who Is Automatically Enrolled In Medicare
If youre already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits at least four months before your 65th birthday, youll be enrolled automatically in Medicare Part A and Part B. If you live in Puerto Rico and are receiving those benefits, only Part A will come to you automatically youll need to take extra steps to enroll in Part B.
Youll receive your Medicare card in the mail and can start using it the beginning of the month you turn 65. If your birthday is on the first day of a month, your coverage will start a month earlier.
Part A, which covers hospitalization, is free if you or your spouse has paid Medicare taxes for 40 quarters, the equivalent of 10 years. Part B, which covers doctor and outpatient services, has a monthly premium of $170.10 for most people in 2022, and the Social Security Administration will automatically deduct the premium from your monthly benefit.
But if you or your spouse is still working and you have health insurance from that employer, you may not have to enroll in Part B yet. You can send back the card and enroll in Part B later. Follow the instructions on the back of the card to delay enrolling in Part B if youre already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits.
Some Publications That Will Give You More Information On Disability Benefits
The Disability Starter Kit will help you get ready for your disability interview or online application. Kits are available for adults and for children under age 18.
The starter kits provide information about the specific documents and the information that we will request from you.
The kits also provide general information about the disability programs and our decision-making process.
Here are some additional resources with information on disability benefits:
- Disability Evaluation Under Social Security – Medical criteria for evaluating Social Security disability claims
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What We Will Ask You
Depending on the information you provide, we may need to ask other questions.
You should also have your checkbook or other papers that show your account number at a bank, credit union or other financial institution so you can sign up for Direct Deposit, and avoid worries about lost or stolen checks and mail delays.
The Basics About Disability Benefits
The SSDI program pays benefits to you and certain if you are insured. This means that you worked long enough and recently enough – and paid Social Security taxes on your earnings. The SSI program pays benefits to adults and children who meet our requirements for a qualifying disability and have limited income and resources.
While these two programs are different, the medical requirements are the same. If you meet the nonmedical requirements, monthly benefits are paid if you have a medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death.
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Is Your Condition Severe
Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering for at least 12 months. If it does not, we will find that you do not have a qualifying disability.
If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to Step 3.
How To Apply Online For Just Medicare
Are you within three months of turning age 65 or older and not ready to start your monthly Social Security benefits yet? You can use our online retirement application to sign up just for Medicare and wait to apply for your retirement or spouses benefits later. It takes less than 10 minutes, and there are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required.
To find out what documents and information you need to apply, go to the .
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Other Ways You Can Apply
Apply With Your Local Office
You can do most of your business with Social Security online. If you cannot use these online services, your local Social Security office can help you apply. You can find the phone number for your local office by using our Office Locator and looking under Social Security Office Information. The toll-free Office number is your local office.
Apply By Phone
If You Do Not Live in the U.S. Or One of Its Territories
Contact the if you live outside the U.S. or a U.S. territory and wish to apply for retirement benefits.
Mailing Your Documents
If you mail any documents to us, you must include the Social Security number so that we can match them with the correct application. Do not write anything on the original documents. Please write the Social Security number on a separate sheet of paper and include it in the mailing envelope along with the documents.
Can You Do Any Other Type Of Work
If you cant do the work you did in the past, we look to see if there is other work you could do despite your medical impairment.
We consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If you cant do other work, well decide you qualify for disability benefits. If you can do other work, well decide that you dont have a qualifying disability and your claim will be denied.
Recent Legislative And Regulatory Proposals
The Biden Administration has proposed legislative changes that would raise the maximum federal benefit under SSI to at least the poverty threshold for the United States . Under current benefit amounts, about 3.3 million SSI recipients are poor. The Administration has also proposed increasing the resource limits in SSI by changes in the price level in the United States. Under current resource limits, to qualify for SSI, individuals must have resources below $2,000 and married couples must have resources below $3,000. These limits have been fixed in dollar amounts since 1989. The Administration’s proposal would increase these to about $4,300 and $8,600 in 2021 . Amounts would be automatically increased for future price growth. The Biden Administration has further proposed to eliminate benefit reductions due to “in kind” support received by SSI recipients and to set the couple rate under SSI to twice that of the individual rate.
The Trump Administration proposed legislative changes to disregard earnings of disabled students for purposes of calculating SSI benefits, which would allow students to increase earnings without a loss in SSI benefits. The Trump Administration also proposed legislative changes to reduce total SSI benefits in cases where more than one person in the family qualified for SSI. These proposals were not acted upon by Congress.
Information You Need To Apply
Before applying, be ready to provide information about yourself, your medical condition, and your work. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
Information About You
- Your date and place of birth and Social Security number.
- The name, Social Security number, and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death .
- Names and dates of birth of children not yet 18 years of age.
- Your bank or other and the account number.
Information About Your Medical Condition
- Name, address, and phone number of someone we can contact who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your application.
- Detailed information about your medical illnesses, injuries, or conditions:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers, and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics.
- Names of medicines, the amount you are taking, and who prescribed them.
- Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who ordered them.
Information About Your Work:
- Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements, or other .
We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns, and medical documents, but we must see the originals of most other documents, such as your birth certificate.
Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.
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Aged Disabled Or Blind
In order to be eligible for SSI, a person must meet the definition of being aged, disabled, or blind.
Aged Being deemed aged consists of attaining the age of 65 or older. In some cases benefits can be claimed as the age 62. The Social Security Administration, like the United States Government in general, follows English common law and considers a person to attain an age the day before their birthday.
Disabled Being deemed disabled consists of meeting the general disability definition used by the Social Security Administration to be eligible for SSDI:
“Disability means inability to engage in any SGA by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death, or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
“The 1967 amendments specified that workers shall be determined to be under a disability only if the physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that the individual is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy. This is regardless of whether any of these are true:
- Such work exists in the immediate area in which the claimant lives.
- A specific job vacancy exists.
- The claimant would be hired if they applied for work.
Blind Being deemed blind consists of meeting the following definition:
Survivors Benefits For Same
Surviving same-sex partners and spouses previously excluded from receiving Social Security survivors benefits may now qualify for benefits. If you were in a same-sex relationship with a partner or spouse who passed away, you may qualify for benefits based on your partners or spouses record.
You may qualify for survivors benefits if either of the following are true:
- You would have been married at the time of your partners death if unconstitutional state laws hadnt prevented you from doing so.
- You would have been married longer if not for unconstitutional state laws that prevented you from marrying earlier.
If you think you may qualify based on the categories above, please contact us to apply. Even if you were previously denied survivors benefits because you did not meet the marriage requirement due to unconstitutional laws, you can ask us to reopen, or take another look at, your claim. If you were previously denied and we find that you qualify for benefits, you may be due retroactive benefits. For more information, visit Survivors Benefits for Same-Sex Partners and Spouses.
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If You Have Medicare Part A And Now Need To Start Part B
At 65, you may have signed up for Part A, but not Part B. This occurs most often with someone who is still working and has access to a group health plan.
Once you retire, youâll need to add Part B within eight months of the earliest of either the end of your employment or the end of your group health coverage. This option is considered a special enrollment period.
What If I Am Under The Full Retirement Age
If you are under the age of 67, you can still collect benefits but the amount you collect will be significantly reduced based on how far away you are from 67 and how much you are currently earning. The SSA counts your earnings as the wages you earn from your job or your net earnings if you are self-employed. Bonuses, commissions and vacation pay are counted, while pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans, government or other military retirement benefits are not.
If you are under the retirement age for the full year, the Social Security Administration deducts $1 for every $2 a person earns above the annual limit this year’s annual limit is $19,560. During the year that a person reaches their full retirement age, the SSA will deduct $1 for every $3 a person earns above a different limit, which is $51,960 for 2022. The month you hit your full retirement age you can earn benefits with no earning limits.
Top 5 Things You Need To Know About Medicare Enrollment
1. People are eligible for Medicare for different reasons.
Some are eligible when they turn 65. People under 65 are eligible if they have received Social Security Disability Insurance or certain Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for at least 24 months. If they have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , theres no waiting period for Medicare. Some people with End Stage Renal Disease may be eligible for Medicare. Its important to know the different ways that people qualify for Medicare so you can help current and former employees and their dependents anticipate their eligibility for Medicare so they can make timely and appropriate decisions about their enrollment.
People living in the United States and U.S. Territories who are already collecting Social Securityeither disability or retirementare automatically enrolled into Part A and Part B when theyre first eligible. These people will get a packet of information a few months before they turn 65 or receive their 25th month of Social Security Disability or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. At that time, they can choose to keep or decline Part B, but cant decline Part A unless they withdraw their original application for Social Security and pay back all Social Security cash benefits.
Can My Benefits Increase While I Work
They might. As long as you continue to work, you will continue paying Social Security taxes on your earnings. This even applies to those who are receiving benefits as they work. The SSA checks your earnings to determine whether your monthly benefits need to be increased. If that’s the case they will contact you and notify you of your new benefit amount.
As long as you continue to work, you will continue paying Social Security taxes on your earnings.
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When Do I Have To Apply For Medicare If Im Still Working
You dont have to apply for Medicare if youre working and have group medical coverage, but you may want to.
If you are an eligible, employed Medicare beneficiary who has group medical coverage, you may choose to delay Medicare enrollment. But Medicare could offer a cost savings and if your employer has less than 20 employees, youll have no choice but to enroll. Consider these important timelines and regulations when you apply for Medicare while still employed.
When Can You File For Social Security
The earliest when you can apply for Social Security benefits is at age 61 and nine months, and you can expect to receive your first payment four months laterthe month after your birthday. Typically, Social Security benefits are paid the month after they are due or must be specified. For example, the Social Security website states that an individual who wants their benefits to start in May will receive their first benefit check in June.
For example, if you turn 62 on Dec. 15, then your first full month of eligibility is January, and your payment for that month will arrive in February. If you have already reached age 62 and met all other eligibility criteria, then you may begin collecting benefits in the same month when you apply if you specify, although your first payment still would not arrive until the following month.
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Should I Wait Until Full Retirement Age To Apply For Social Security
Receiving Social Security at age 62 means that you will receive a reduced payment compared with waiting for full retirement age. For those born in 1960 or later, the reduction is 30%, and all reductions are permanent. If you delay taking your benefits past full retirement age, then you receive an 8% increase for each full year that you do so, up until you reach 70, at which point the increases stop.
Every individual can calculate their own full retirement age based on their specific birthday, to consider locking in the maximum amount of Social Security benefits.