The Social Security Administration administers several different programs for which you might be eligible, retirement benefits, survivors’ benefits, social security disability insurance and Supplemental Security benefits. Which program is right for you?
Are You Eligible?
One of the first questions that people ask when they think of filing for Social Security Benefits is am I eligible? One way to make this determination is to call Social Security’s toll free number 1-800-772-1213. This automated answering system can give you information about eligibility and applying for benefits. Fortunately, Social Security has embraced the advances in technology and you can do many things online. Social Security has developed a Benefits Eligibility Screen Tool (BEST). Using BEST you can determine your eligibility for retirement, disability, survivors, special veterans, and supplemental security income. BEST is user friendly and can be used by someone trying to help a friend or relative who is concerned about benefits as well as the potential claimant.
Filing the Application
If you have determined that, you may be eligible for benefits the next step is to apply. The toll free number also allows you to:
- apply for benefits on the phone
- make an appointment with your local Social Security Office to apply in the office.
You can also apply for benefits online. One of the great advantages of using the online service is that it you apply at your own pace. You can print preliminary application information that will tell you what type of information you need to gather to complete your application. You can save the application and return to it when you have the medical information that you need. It will also direct you as to what information you may need to send into Social Security. Once you have filed the application, Social Security will contact you to verify information, to request additional information or to set up appointments with Social Security doctors if they do not have enough information.