How Do I Get My Social Security Benefits?

Today social security requires that at least 40 credits have been earned over the worker’s career of employment. The credits are earned as the worker pays social security taxes. The worker needs to have worked at least 10 years to earn the credits, and be of a certain age.


The worker can apply on line, by telephone or make an appointment at the local social security office. If the worker resides outside of the US or its territories, contact the nearest office, US Embassy or the Veterans Affairs Regional Office in the Philippines.


The worker must be 61 years and 9 month old to apply for retirement benefits. The social security office suggests planning to apply 4 months before the anticipated start date of benefits. The planning time will allow for review and resubmission if the necessary.

If the worker is 62 years of age when they apply, the worker may be eligible to receive benefits in the same month of application submission, if all requirements are met.

Application Documents

Social Security offers a tool to identify all of the different Social Security programs that the worker may qualify to receive benefits. It is called Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST).

The worker needs to collect information and paperwork; updated resume, tax records, employment history, employer’s name, nature of the work and health conditions that exist. Medical records may also be required, be sure to speak with the doctor and medical services that provide for the worker’s healthcare.

Proof of social security number, birth certificate or proof of U.S. citizenship, W-2 forms the last year worked and military discharge papers may be requested. For direct deposits have the banking information available.

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