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When To Apply For Social Security Retirement Benefits

Timing Your Application

Applications for Social Security benefits can only be processed a maximum of four months before benefits are scheduled to begin. Thus, the earliest you can apply is age 61 and nine months, and you can expect to receive your first payment four months later—the month after your birthday. However, benefit payments come after each full month of eligibility.

Key Takeaway

  • For social security income, the youngest age you can apply is 61 years and 9 months old.
  • You’d then receive your first SS check 4 months later—the month after your 62nd birthday.
  • It is recommended you apply three months in advance of when you would like to start receiving the checks.
  • While it typically takes several weeks to process a new application, some may be approved in the same month that you apply.


The Process

It is generally recommended you apply three months in advance of when you would like to start receiving the checks. In order to ensure a quick and easy application process, it is best to have all the necessary information on hand before beginning. This can include, but is not necessarily limited to, the birth and marriage dates of your and your spouse, your Social Security number, proof of citizenship, tax information, employment history, military records, health insurance information, and bank account information for direct deposit.

Sometimes, there are requests for documents, including original birth certificates, marriage licenses, and tax returns. An agent usually contacts you if any clarification or additional documentation is needed. An agent also lets you know if you are eligible to receive more money through another person’s account, such as a spouse and if anyone else is eligible to receive benefits under your account.

Once you have completed your application and supplied all requested information, you are supplied with a receipt for your records and a confirmation number you can use to check the status of your application online after submission. You can also follow up over the phone or in person at your local Social Security office. Depending on your situation and what documentation may be required, your application may be approved within the same month you apply.

The Bottom Line

In addition, benefit payment schedules are now dictated by date of birth. For those with birthdays between the 1st and 10th, payments will be made on the second Wednesday of every month. For those born between the 11th and 20th, payment is made on the third Wednesday. For those born between the 21st and 31st, payments are made on the fourth Wednesday.

This means that if you turn 62 on Dec. 15, your first payment will arrive on the third Wednesday of the following February. If your birthday is Dec. 15 and you are already over age 62, your first payment should arrive on the third Wednesday of the month following the month in which you apply. If you’re already on Social Security, or receive both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, you may receive them on a different date.

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About Amy Harvey

Amy R. Harvey writes forStartUps Sections In AmericaRichest.

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