What Documents Do You Need to Apply for Retirement Benefits?
We request different documents depending on your circumstances. You can help by being ready to provide the information and documents listed below. You can also use our Checklist For The Online Medicare, Retirement, And Spouses Application to help you gather the information you need to apply.
Documents we may ask for include:
- Your Social Security card or a record of your number.
- Your original birth certificate, a copy certified by the issuing agency, or other proof of your age. We must see the original document(s), or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies.
- If you were not born in the U.S., proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. We must see the original document(s), or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept documents if they have expired. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies.
- A copy of your U.S. military service paper(s) if you served before 1968. A photocopy is acceptable.
- A copy of your W-2 form(s) and/or self-employment tax return for last year. A photocopy is acceptable.
We will return all documents and photocopies unless specifically told otherwise.
If You Don't Have All Of The Documents
Even if you don't have everything, don't delay applying for Social Security retirement benefits. You can provide the missing documents later. We may be able to help you get them.
In many cases, your local Social Security office can contact your state Bureau of Vital Statistics and verify your information online at no cost to you or find other ways to get the information we need.
If you delay signing up, you could lose some benefits you may be due.