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How To Apply For Social Security Retirement Benefits Online

Social Security Offers Online Filing For Retirement Benefits

How to Apply for Social Security Retirement Online

The Social Security Administration announced that as of today, the public can apply for Social Security retirement benefits on the Internet at, the Social Security Administration’s website.

“People will now be able to apply for Social Security retirement benefits online at their convenience,” said William A. Halter, Deputy Commissioner of Social Security. “This new online service offers the public an easy and convenient way to obtain the benefits they expect and deserve. As we move into the 21st Century, the Social Security Administration will be using 21st Century technology to meet the service needs of our customers.”

Throughout the 65-year history of the Social Security Administration, it has earned a reputation for providing superior service to its customers. To meet customer service goals, the agency has adapted its business practices to meet the changing needs of the people it serves. The 76 million-strong baby boom generation will create unique service challenges for the Social Security Administration. Baby boomers are more technologically savvy than any generation before them and they will expect to receive state-of-the-art service. According to a study by Jupiter Communications, 14 million Americans age 50 and older are online and that number is expected to double in the next few years.

Interested individuals can go directly to, the location for the online retirement benefits application form.

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What Happens When You Withdraw Your Application

There are a few things to know before deciding to withdraw your application.

  • Anyone else who receives benefits based on your application must consent in writing to the withdrawal.
  • You must repay all the benefits you and your family received from your retirement application. This includes:
    • Benefits your spouse or children received, whether they live with you or not.
    • Money withheld from your Social Security retirement checks for:
      • Medicare Part B, Part C, and Part D premiums.
      • Voluntary tax withholding of federal income taxes for closed tax years. Contact the Internal Revenue Service or your tax advisor about any tax implications.
  • If you are already entitled to Medicare, you may choose to also withdraw your Medicare coverage.
  • If you are also entitled to railroad or veterans benefits, you should check with the Railroad Retirement Board and the Department of Veterans Affairs about how your withdrawal affects those benefits. The RRB and the VA make their own determinations and are responsible for their own programs.

What To Do Next When You Become Eligible For Medicare

If you currently have a health plan through Covered California:

  • Then, call Covered California at 300-1506 and tell us about your Medicare coverage. You can cancel your Covered California plan or discuss your coverage options.
  • If you dont currently have a health plan through Covered California:

    If youre currently enrolled in Medicare Part A, or eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A, you cant enroll in new coverage through Covered California. This is because Medicare Part A is considered minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act. But depending on your income and assets, you may be eligible for additional coverage through Medi-Cal. Once youre enrolled in Medicare, you can contact your local county office or complete the Covered California application to see if you also qualify for Medi-Cal.

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    If Im 65 And Older And Get Health Insurance From Work Do I Have To Enroll In Medicare

    No. If youre still working, your company employs more than 20 people and you have work-based health insurance, you do not need to enroll in Medicare until your existing health insurance expires. When you stop working or your employer discontinues its group insurance plan, you have eight months to sign up for Medicare, regardless of whether you have COBRA or another health insurance plan.

    If you do enroll in Medicare and also have work-based insurance, your work insurance will pay first and Medicare will pay second.

    If you work for a company that employs fewer than 20 people, youll need to contact your companys HR department for the specifics of your health insurance program. Its likely that you can delay Medicare enrollment, but some employers require that people 65 and older must enroll in Medicare to receive company health insurance benefits.

    For these smaller companies with less employees, Medicare pays first, and work-based insurance pays second.

    If you turn 65 and dont have work-based health insurance, youll need to enroll in Medicare within your seven-month initial enrollment period or pay a penalty that will make your premium more expensive.

    If you want to completely opt out of Medicare Part A, it is possible, but youll have to give up your Social Security benefits entirely, and pay back any benefits that youve already received.

    If You Are The Survivor

    This Social Security page tells you how to apply for benefits online ...

    Just as you plan for your familys protection if you die, you should consider the Social Security benefits that may be available if you are the survivor that is, the spouse, child, or parent of a worker who dies. That person must have worked long enough under Social Security to qualify for benefits.

    How Your Spouse Earns Social Security Survivors Benefits

    A worker can earn up to four credits each year. In 2022, for example, your spouse can earn one credit for each $1,510 of wages or self-employment income. When your spouse has earned $6,040 they have earned their four credits for the year.

    The number of credits needed to provide benefits for survivors depends on the workers age when they die. No one needs more than 40 credits to be eligible for any Social Security benefit. But, the younger a person is, the fewer credits they must have for family members to receive survivors benefits.

    Some survivors can get benefits if the worker has credit for one and one-half years of work in the three years just before their death. Each persons situation is different and you need to talk to one of our claims representatives about your choices.

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    Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse

    If you are divorced, your ex-spouse can receive benefits based on your record if:

    • Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer.
    • Your ex-spouse is unmarried.
    • Your ex-spouse is age 62 or older.
    • The benefit that your ex-spouse is entitled to receive based on their own work is less than the benefit they would receive based on your work.
    • You are entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

    How Much Are Social Security Survivors Benefits

    The Social Security Administration calculates survivors benefits based on how much the deceased person could get in retirement benefits at full retirement age. That amount, called the primary insurance amount, is based on the persons average lifetime earnings. The higher their earnings, the more they would receive in retirement benefits.

    The table below shows what percentage of the deceased persons benefit a surviving family member could get in survivors benefits, depending on their relationship to the deceased person and other factors.

    Surviving family member

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    If You Don’t Have All Of The Documents

    Even if you don’t have everything, don’t delay applying for Social Security retirement benefits. You can provide the missing documents later. We may be able to help you get them.

    In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you or find other ways to get the information we need.

    If you delay signing up, you could lose some benefits you may be due.

    How Long Are You Allowed To Stay On Each Page

    Applying Online for Social Security Retirement Benefits

    For security reasons, there are time limits for viewing each page. You will receive a warning after 25 minutes without doing anything, and you will be able to extend your time on the page. After the third warning, you must move to another page or your time will run out and your work on that page will be lost.

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    The Parts Of Medicare

    Social Security enrolls you in Original Medicare .

    • Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or limited time at a skilled nursing facility . Part A also pays for some home health care and hospice care.
    • Medicare Part B helps pay for services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services.

    Other parts of Medicare are run by private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare.

    • Supplemental policies help pay Medicare out-of-pocket copayments, coinsurance, and deductible expenses.
    • Medicare Advantage Plan includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B prescription drugs and additional benefits such as vision, hearing, and dental bundled together in one plan.
    • Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.

    Most people age 65 or older are eligible for free Medicare hospital insurance if they have worked and paid Medicare taxes long enough. You can sign up for Medicare medical insurance by paying a monthly premium. Some beneficiaries with higher incomes will pay a higher monthly Part B premium. To learn more, read .

    Do We Pay Death Benefits

    A one-time lump-sum death payment of $255 can be paid to the surviving spouse if they were living with the deceased. If living apart, they were receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceaseds record.

    If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceaseds record in the month of death.

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    How To File A Claim From Your Retirement Plan

    Procedures and timelines lead to receiving benefits

    If you have participated in a traditional pension plan, a 401, or other employment-based retirement plan, you will want to know how to file a claim for your benefits.

    The steps outlined here describe some of your plans obligations and briefly explain the procedures and timelines for filing a claim for retirement benefits.

    Before you file, however, be aware of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 , a law that protects your retirement benefits and sets standards for those who administer your retirement plan. Among other things, the law includes requirements for the processing of benefit claims, the timeline for a decision when you file a claim, and your rights when a claim is denied.

    You should know that ERISA does not cover some employee benefit plans .

    If, however, you are one of the millions of participants and beneficiaries who depend on retirement benefits from a private-sector, employment-based retirement plan, take a few minutes and read on before filing a claim.

    Reviewing The Summary Plan Description

    Before you apply for retirement benefits, review the SPD to make sure you meet the plans requirements and understand the procedures for filing a claim.

    Filing A Claim

    When a claim is filed, be sure to keep a copy for your records.

    Waiting Period

    Usually, claims are decided within the 90-day period . If you are entitled to benefits, check your SPD for how and when benefits are paid.

    Benefits For Your Children

    My Social Security Online Service Manage Your Banefits

    When you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, your children may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. Your eligible child can be your biological child, adopted child, or stepchild. A dependent grandchild may also qualify.

    To receive benefits, the child must:

    Benefits stop when children reach age 18 unless they are disabled. However, if the child is still a full-time student at a secondary school at age 18, benefits will continue until the child graduates or until two months after the child becomes age 19, whichever is first.

    Benefits paid for your child will not decrease your retirement benefit. In fact, the value of the benefits they may receive, added to your own, may help you decide if taking your benefits sooner may be more advantageous.

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    How Much Will Your Divorced Spouse Receive

    If you have not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, your ex-spouse can receive benefits on your record if you have been divorced for at least two continuous years.

    If your ex-spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on their own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your record is higher, they will get an additional amount on your record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount.

    If your ex-spouse was born before January 2, 1954, and has already reached full retirement age, they can choose to receive only the divorced spouses benefit and delay receiving their own retirement benefit until a later date.

    If your ex-spouses birthday is January 2, 1954 or later, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age no longer exists. If your ex-spouse files for one benefit, they will be effectively filing for all retirement or spousal benefits.

    Retirement And Spousal Benefits

    Youll need to provide an array of personal and work information, including:

    • Your date and place of birth.
    • Start and stop dates for jobs held in the past two years .
    • Military service, if applicable.
    • The routing number of the bank where you want Social Security to deposit your payment, and the number and type of your account.

    Social Security provides a complete checklist of what youll need for your application.

    When you can file: The minimum age to apply for both retirement and spouse benefits is 62, but monthly payments are higher if you wait longer.

    Where to file:Online, by phone or in person.

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    How Do You Apply

    You can apply online by using our Social Security Retirement/Medicare Benefit Application to apply for retirement, spouse’s, divorced spouse’s or Medicare benefits.

    If you and your spouse apply online for retirement benefits at the same time, or if your spouse applies online after you start receiving benefits, we will check their eligibility for benefits as a spouse. If they are qualified, the online application will automatically include a request for spousal benefits on your record.

    If your spouse applies for benefits, they need to be ready to supply the information we need to approve their application for these benefits:

    Signing Up For Medicare

    How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

    Follow the steps below if you need to actively enroll in Medicare.

    If you decide to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up for Parts A and/or B by:

    • Visiting your local Social Security office
    • Mailing a signed and dated letter to Social Security that includes your name, Social Security number, and the date you would like to be enrolled in Medicare
    • Or, by applying online at

    If you are eligible for Railroad Retirement benefits, enroll in Medicare by calling the Railroad Retirement Board or contacting your local RRB field office.

    Keep proof of when you tried to enroll in Medicare, to protect yourself from incurring a Part B premium penalty if your application is lost.

    • Take down the names of any representatives you speak to, along with the time and date of the conversation.
    • If you enroll through the mail, use certified mail and request a return receipt.
    • If you enroll at your local Social Security office, ask for a written receipt.
    • If you apply online, print out and save your confirmation page.
    Related Answers

    Recommended Reading: When Do Social Security Benefits Become Taxable

    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 .

    Effective Date Of Coverage Exemption

    The certificate of coverage you receive from one country will show the effective date of your exemption from paying Social Security taxes in the other country. Generally, this will be the date you began working in the other country.

    Certificates of coverage issued by either the Department of National Revenue in Ottawa or the Bureau des ententes de sécurité sociale in Montreal should be retained by the employer in the United States in case of an audit by the IRS. No copy should be sent to IRS unless specifically requested by IRS. However, a self-employed person must attach a of the certificate to his or her income tax return each year as proof of the U.S. exemption.

    Copies of certificates of coverage issued by the United States will be provided for both the employee and employer. It will be their responsibility to present the certificate to the Canadian or Quebec authorities when requested to do so. To avoid any difficulties, your employer should request a certificate as early as possible, preferably before your work in the other country begins.

    If you or your employer request a certificate of coverage, you should read the Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Act Statements below.

    Also Check: What Age Do You Get Medicare Benefits

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    How To Withdraw Your Application

  • Fill out Social Security Form SSA-521. Include the reason why you want to withdraw the application on the form. If you already have Medicare, your request must also clearly state whether your Medicare coverage should or should not be included in the withdrawal.
  • Send the completed form to your local Social Security office. We will notify you when there is a decision about your request and let you know the amount of benefits you need to repay.
  • You have 60 days to cancel an approved withdrawal. After that, you will lose any possible entitlement for the period covered by your original application.

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