Roughly 10,000 to 15,000 people become eligible each day to file for Social Security retirement benefits, and, as the world goes, the Social Security Administration is driving them to apply for benefits online.
As the current youth transitions into retirement age, filing social security online will become more of a common practice in the future.
The online Social Security application is meant to be used by people applying for the first time. When filing this way, it is recommended that you file your application three months in advance of when you would like benefits to start.
When you apply for retirement benefits online, you will be asked questions about yourself along with your spouse, children, ex-spouse (if any), work, earnings and any other pensions or annuity income you may receive from employment as public-sector employee. Applying for benefits is straightforward and does not have to be completed in one sitting. If you leave the application process, you will be given an “Application Number” that you need to write down or print, as you will not be able to re-enter your application form without it.
In all likelihood, completing the application on the Social Security Administration’s secure website should only take about 30 minutes. As you make your way through the application, you will discover links prompting you to learn “More Info.” By clicking on these links, you can find additional information to guide you through the process. The website also has many calculators and offers the ability to print your Social Security statement.
Upon completing the application, you will see a summary and will have the ability to make changes by using the “Edit” button. When you have finished completing the application, a Social Security representative will review it and call you for any clarification. You may also have to bring additional information to the Social Security office, such as a marriage certificate, in order to process spousal benefits.
When To Start Benefits
In the next part of the application process, you must determine when you would like benefits to start. This may be the most important part of the application, and it’s where the “restricted application” comes into play. The restricted application” is available to people born before Jan. 1, 1954, who have reached full retirement age. The purpose of it is to allow one spouse who has attained full retirement age – and is eligible for their own retirement benefit – to collect a spousal benefit only and defer their retirement benefit to earn delayed retirement credits to provide the highest monthly survivor benefit. Completing this application properly is crucial.
Below are the answers to the questions you should use when filing a restricted application:
- “Do You Want Your Benefits to Start in [MONTH OF FILING]?” Interpret this question as “When do you want this application to be effective?” If you do not want the benefits to begin with the month of filing, then enter NO.
- “What date should benefits start?” You will see a drop-down box offering various dates to choose. Pick the month that you want the application to be effective.
- “Please let us know if there are any specific reasons for this date.” Click on the option for “Another Reason.”
- “If you are eligible for both retirement benefits and spouse’s benefit, do you want to delay receipt of retirement benefit?” Answer this question with YES.
On the last screen of the application, under the Remarks section, type: “I wish to exclude retirement benefits from the scope of this application. I am filing a restricted application for spousal benefits only. I am not applying for retirement benefits on my own work record. I wish to earn delayed retirement credits.”
Typing the above clarifies for the Social Security representative that you are filing a “restricted application” and should eliminate any confusion.
By itself the application is pretty easy to complete. Having said that, it is important to make sure that you complete it properly the first time. Correcting an application after filing can become significantly more difficult and time-consuming.
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