Social Security Tips – September 2022

How early can you apply for Social Security retirement benefits?

You must be at least age 62 for the entire month to be eligible to receive benefits. If born on the first or second day of the month, they meet this requirement in the month of their 62nd birthday. If born on any other day of the month, they do not meet this requirement until the following month.

You can apply up to four months before you want your retirement benefits to start. For example, if you turn 62 on December 2, you can start benefits as early as December. If you want your benefits to start in December, you can apply in August. If you turn 62 any day after December 2, you are not age 62 for the entire month of December. You can start benefits as early as January when you are 62 for the entire month. If you want your benefits to start in January, you can apply in September.

Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month they are due. If due benefits for the month of December, they will receive their first check in January for December. Our yearly payment calendars are very helpful.

How do you apply for Social Security retirement benefits?

Applying online is the easiest way to complete a Social Security retirement application; however, you can also make an appointment to apply by phone or at a Social Security office.

How can a financial professional help their client?

You may help someone else fill out their application, but you are not allowed to sign it for them. Only the person applying for benefits can legally sign the application. If they are not able to sign online, we will mail them a copy to sign. Read more about Helping Someone Apply Online.

The Q & A for the month:

Question: I’ve often used with clients the SS benefit estimator online, where it asks for their personal info as well as mothers’ maiden name, state they were born in, etc.  I cannot seem to locate a link to this estimator, I only find a link to sign up/sign in to their SSA account.  Would you be able to email me a link to the estimator?

Answer: The Social Security Retirement Estimator is no longer available. If your client has a my Social Security account, and they want an estimate based on retiring at 62 or older, they can use the calculator in their account. If your client needs an estimate based on retiring before age 62, they would need to use our Online Calculator which requires the user to manually enter their wages each year. They can obtain a yearly breakdown of their earnings by clicking on “Check Your Earnings Record” in their my Social Security account.

How to Get Help from Social Security

Local Social Security offices are offering more in-person appointments and have resumed in-person service for people without an appointment.

As we expand in-person service, we expect our offices to be very busy. To avoid waiting in line, we strongly encourage individuals continue to go online at www.ssa.gov, or call for help, and schedule appointments in advance rather than walking in without an appointment. Telephone appointments can save you a trip to a busy office.