Sifting through the details of the Social Security application process can be difficult at times. Taking the time to gather information beforehand can help. The most basic details you need to have in order to apply for Social Security are ensuring that you are the appropriate age and have worked for the minimum amount of time required in a job in which you contributed to Social Security. Generally, you must be over the age of 65, although if you are 62 years of age you can take Social Security but your benefits will be reduced. If an early application is something you are considering, you can assess the reduction amount on Social Security.gov.
To get started with the application process you can visit the Social Security site and fill out your information online, call 1-800-772-1213 or apply in person at your local Social Security Administration Office. No matter which way you apply you will need to have certain documents handy including your Social Security card (or at least your social security number), a certified birth certificate, military discharge papers or naturalization papers if applicable and your tax returns. For direct deposit you will also need your bank account information.
What if I Haven’t Worked Enough Hours to Qualify?
According to the Social Security Retirement Planner, in the case that you have not worked enough hours to qualify, you may still be eligible to apply under your spouse’s benefits even if you are divorced or your spouse is now deceased. The rules for age of application still apply in these cases (unless you are caring for a child who is also getting Social Security benefits, in which case you can collect at any age with no penalty).
Retirement benefits are based on the average amount you earned during your lifetime. The Social Security Retirement Planner explains that the Social Security Administration looks at the 35 years in which you earned the most money and takes an average from that period. If you did not work for a full 35 years in an eligible job, years in which you earned nothing can also be factored in to make up the 35 years.
In most cases, people who have worked the required length of time are eligible and provided with social security. However, certain factors can result in a denial of social security benefits, so it important to have the details straight before submitting. For example, if you do not provide required information such as proof of age or work experience within 30 days of applying for social security, your claim may be denied.
What if My Application is Denied?
If your application is denied, Social Security provides an appeals process. According to the Social Security online fact sheet, you must file a written request for appeal in writing within five days of receiving the denial from SSA. Social Security will then go through a reevaluation. If the application is still denied, you can then have a hearing. This process is followed by a review by the appeals council. Finally, if you are still unsatisfied with the decision, you can appeal to a federal court to review.
Fortunately, in the event you need help sorting through the details of a Social Security application or appeal the Rasansky Law Firm is here to assist you. We have attorneys who specialize in these areas and can take care of the complexities so that you have a smoother process. Complete our online evaluation form for a free consultation.