How to Apply for Social Security

Financial PlanningRetirement
How to Apply for Social Security

For decades, you have worked hard to earn an income while the government has been taking a chunk of your earnings for the Social Security Trust from every paycheck. The money that enters the Social Security Trust through our Social Security Taxes is used to pay current Social Security recipients. Therefore, turning on our own Social Security income stream is often one of the most exciting events of retirement.  It is finally your turn to get paid! For many, applying these benefits is a confusing process. Following the three steps below will give you the necessary direction for your journey. Connect with our team to help you decide the best time to start for your unique situation!

Step 1: Decide When to Apply for Retirement Benefits

Determining when you want to turn on Social Security will affect when you should begin the application process. You are eligible to begin Social Security from age 62-70. The earlier you begin to take Social Security, the less that you will receive each month.

The decision regarding when to take Social Security can be critical for the success of your retirement goals and should be made in conjunction with your financial advisor. The age you should take social security depends on your specific situation, and it should consider things such as marital status, health, other sources of retirement income, and your personal legacy goals. Once you have decided what age to take Social Security, it is generally best to begin the application process 3-4 months before you want to officially begin withdrawing from Social Security. Furthermore, the first Social Security payment is made in the month after you begin officially withdrawing.  Therefore, you should apply for Social Security 4-5 months before the month in which you will be counting on that check. For example, if you would like your payments to begin in January, you should apply for Social Security sometime in August of the previous year. You will officially begin withdrawing in December, and your first payment will arrive in January.

Step 2: Choose Your Method of Applying

There are three methods by which one can apply for Social Security retirement benefits.

Option 1: Apply Online

Arguably, this is the easiest method of applying for your retirement benefits. To get started, you need to set up an account with From there, simply follow the instruction prompts.

Option 2: Apply by Phone

If you would prefer not to apply online, you could always apply via phone at 1-800-772-1213.

Option 3: Apply in Person

The last option is to apply for retirement benefits in person at your local Social Security Administration Office. If you select this option, you will need to call ahead to schedule the appointment.

Step 3: Collect the Necessary Information to Begin the Application Process

To apply, the Social Security Administration will need the following information:

Basic information about yourself

  • Social Security number
  • Where you were born (city, state, country)

Recent work

  • Names of employers for the past two years
  • Dates of employment

Current and past marriages

  • Your spouse/former spouse’s Social Security number and birthday
  • Date you got married/divorced
  • Where you got married (city, state, country)

Direct deposit for benefit payments

  • Routing and account number for your bank account

Name of Eligible Children

If you have children under age 18, 18 or 19 and in high school, or who became disabled before 22, they may be eligible for benefits too.

While applying for Social Security retirement benefits can appear to be a dauting task, the right place to start is knowing when you will begin the application process, how you will apply, and what information to collect first. Ambassador Advisors’ professional team can help you analyze the perfect timing for your social security journey to begin.

Let our professional financial advisors help you achieve the legacy you desire for yourself, loved ones, and organizations. Contact Us