Applying for Social Security Benefits
Individuals should contact the Social Security Office
to apply for benefits, at least three months
prior to their benefits beginning. Benefits may begin as early as age 62 (related to retirement) or age 60 (related to widow(er) benefits). Individuals should consult with the Social Security Office to confirm their eligibility and optimum starting date. Individuals do not have to be retired from Michigan State University to begin receiving benefits.
All individuals should contact the Social Security Office to apply for Medicare three months before reaching age 65, even if they have no plans to receive Social Security benefits.
There are two ways to apply for Social Security Benefits:
- You can apply for retirement benefits on the Internet. Connect to the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov and select "apply online" to complete an application.
- Contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 for a telephone interview appointment or for information on your nearest Social Security branch office. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call toll-free "TTY" number 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday, for assistance.
- You may call the 800# to schedule a telephone interview to complete your application. Telephone interviews are normally scheduled in advance and completed on a future date.
- You may call the 800# to schedule an appointment to apply in person at the nearest Social Security branch office. A representative will be able to assist you with your application.
Once an application is completed, supporting documents (i.e. birth certificate, W-2 forms, etc.) will need to be mailed or submitted to a Social Security office. Original documents will be photocopied and returned.
DOCUMENTS YOU MAY NEED
- A copy of your certified birth certificate
- Your W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns for last year
- Your military discharge papers if you had military service
- Proof of US citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the US
SOME QUESTIONS YOU MAY BE ASKED
- Your Social Security number
- Your retirement date
- Your date and place of birth
- The amount you earned last year and the amount you expect to earn this year
- The Routing transit number and Account number for your banking institution
- Dates of any railroad work
- Date and place of current marriage
- Names, dates, and places of earlier marriages and divorces
- Unmarried minor and/or disabled children, their birth dates and Social Security numbers