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How To Sign Up For Social Security

Signing up for Social Security can be confusing. When can you do sign up? Where do you go to sign up? and many more questions immediately come to mind. We’ll cover all of those and more in this article.

There are many types of Social Security benefits. Different benefits require different documents and have different rules.

  • Retirement Benefits. Retirement benefits (RIB) are what typically come to mind when most people think of Social Security.
  • Disability Benefits. Nearly 5% of the population is on Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI).
  • Survivors Benefits cover the spouse or ex spouse of a deceased worker.
  • Supplemental Security Income Benefits are not based on your prior work. You qualify based on your income. State rules also vary.

Step By Step Directions To Apply For Social Security

You used to be able to set an appointment and walk into your local SSA office. Due to Covid, that stopped. You’ll have to do it online.

Step 1

Set up an account at www.ssa.gov

This takes about 10 minutes. This will show you how much you can expect to receive in monthly benefits.

Step 2

Before you apply for benefits, you’ll need to gather some information, find that here https://www.ssa.gov/hlp/isba/10/isba-checklist.pdf

Step 3

To apply for Social Security go to https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/rib

“How far in advance should I apply?”

Apply 3 months before you want to receive, or before you are eligible to receive, any benefit. It’s the same for Medicare. Remember, the government is slow, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

“I just applied, how long will it take to get my first payment?”

Once you have applied, it could take up to 3 months to receive your first benefit payment. Social Security benefits are paid monthly, starting in the month after the birthday at which you attain full retirement age.

“My budget is tight. Can you tell me what day of the month I can expect to be paid?”

Yes we can! Depending on your birthday, you’ll be paid on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th Wednesday of the month.
If your birthday is 1st -10th = second Wednesday
If your birthday is 11th -20th = third Wednesday
If your birthday is the 21st – 31st = 4th Wednesday

Sylvia Gordon, aka Medicare Mama®, is an expert on all things Medicare and Social Security. She is the 2nd Generation here at The Medicare Family and has served on the advisory boards of major insurance companies like UnitedHealthcare®, Cigna, and Anthem. In her free time, she can be found taking care of her animals (dogs, goats, peacocks, chickens), and reading a good book. Learn More.
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