After spending years in the workforce, many adults begin wondering how they can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Fortunately, the process to begin receiving benefits is fairly straightforward. The first step is knowing whether you qualify.
According to the Social Security Administration, adults must be at least 61 years and 9 months of age and have earned at least 40 credits during their working years to qualify for benefits. Credits are earned based on the amount of Social Security taxes that a consumer has paid out of their income. The SSA estimates 40 credits to be equivalent to ten years of work. Applications must also be a US citizen or lawful resident of the United States to qualify.
Once a person is eligible to receive benefits, they may apply for benefits online, at their local SS office, or by calling 1-800-772-1213. To apply for benefits online, consumers may visit SocialSecurity.gov. It is important that applicants refrain from applying for benefits more than four months in advance. Also, applicants 62 years of age and older may be eligible to begin receiving benefits within a month of applying. When applying online, the SSA advises applicants to give themselves anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to complete the application.
To apply for Social Security benefits, applicants will need a number of different things. They will need their social security number, birth certificate, most recent W-2, and bank information to set up direct deposit, if applicable. Applicants that were born outside of the United States will also need proof of their lawful alien status or citizenship. Once these documents are organized, you may fill out the application and begin receiving benefits.