Important Reminders in Applying for Social Security Retirement Benefits

by | Dec 2, 2014 | Legal Services

There comes a point in almost every person’s life when it is time to consider retirement. If you have been working for many years, a portion of your paycheck has been taken as a tax. A portion of this goes to the Social Security Administration, which pays benefits to those who have earned retirement. When you are ready to apply for these benefits, there are several important elements to remember.

1. There are Multiple Retirement Age Options.

The full retirement age for those born after 1959 is 67. For individuals born before that date, retirement may be taken between 65 and 67, depending on the birth year. Anyone can begin collecting retirement benefits at age 62, but the amount is reduced. Late retirement at age 70 is also an option. Some employers provide a retirement plan that begins as early as age 55.

2. The Application Can be Filed in Three Ways.

The traditional paper application is available for those who prefer that method. However, a social security retirement benefits application can also be filed over the phone or through the Social Security Administration website.

3. Specific Documentation is Required.

The Social Security Administration makes personal privacy and identity theft a priority. To apply for benefits, you must prove that you are who you claim to be, and that you’re qualified to begin receiving benefits. You will need:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your tax returns for several years
  • Your bank account details

There may be additional information necessary to your specific case, such as military discharge paperwork or proof of citizenship.

4. Couples Can Apply for Spousal Benefits.

For married couples, the earner can receive benefits based on pay history, and the spouse can receive up to one-half of that amount. If both spouses worked, the higher-earning spouse may choose to apply and suspend benefits. This allows the other spouse to collect while letting the higher-earning spouse continue to earn additional benefits that can be received in the future.

5. You Cannot Collect Social Security Retirement Benefits and Disability.

Although the two programs are similar, an individual cannot collect benefits from both Social Security programs. If you are disabled before age 62, you may be able to collect disability benefits until retirement age and then switch to collecting retirement benefits. This process is complex, so talking with a Social Security lawyer can help you decide the right course of action.

Applying for Social Security retirement benefits does not need to be difficult. If you meet the requirements, the process should be fairly straightforward. If your claim is denied or you need assistance at any point, a lawyer can help. Look for one who specializes in Social Security for the most practical advice. Visit Disability Lawyer for more information.



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