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Internet Retirement Insurance Benefits Application

  • Effective November 2, 2000, SSA began offering a new online service for individuals who are applying for Social Security Retirement Benefits. The Internet application allows individuals to apply for their retirement benefits at their convenience. SSA advises people to file for benefits 3 months before they want their benefits to begin. Individuals may go directly to www.ssa.gov/applytoretire to start the online application process.
  • To use this service, people must be 61 years and 9 months or older and plan to start receiving retirement benefits within 4 months. They must also reside in the United States or one of its territories, have a working printer connected to their computer, and agree to receive their benefits by direct deposit. Individuals who are currently receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits or have already applied for retirement or disability benefits will not be able to use the online service.
  • Answers to eight screening questions will determine whether or not a person can proceed and file for retirement benefits over the Internet. Those who meet the conditions are presented with information describing the application process and then move on to the actual application. Various online screens will be presented and individuals are asked to answer a number of questions as they navigate through the online application. The answers provided on the screens are used by SSA to make an entitlement determination on an individual’s claim for Social Security Retirement Benefits.
  • Upon completion of the online application, a person’s application is electronically sent to SSA. At this point, individuals must print the application, sign it, and mail or bring it to the address provided by SSA.
  • Along with the signed application, applicants must also submit any applicable documentation needed to process their claim, such as:
    -Birth certificate
    -W-2 forms or self-employment tax return for last year
    -Military discharge papers (if there is military service)
    -A Claim Confirmation Number is provided to every applicant. The confirmation number can be used to update an application that has not been finished, check on the status of the application once it has been sent to Social Security, and register a password with SSA to conduct business online in the future.
  • Since November 2000, SSA has received almost 34,000 successful online benefit applications.

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