COLUMN: Apply for retirement benefits online with Social Security

Published 10:19 am Friday, March 26, 2021

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It’s never too early to start planning for retirement, and our online tools can make your planning easier. Visit to access your my Social Security account, get a personalized estimate of your retirement benefits based on your earnings record, and find out how your benefit amount increases depending on the age you start them. Don’t have a my Social Security account? You can create one at

You can also review your entire earnings history in your my Social Security account. It is important that your earnings history is correct because we base your benefit amount on the earnings reported to us. If you find an error, the publication, How to Correct Your Social Security Earnings Record, at, tells you how to get your information corrected.

When you’re ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, you can complete our online application in as little as 15 minutes at We will contact you if we need any further information. You can check the status of your application with your personal my Social Security account too.

You can apply online for Social Security retirement benefits, or benefits as a spouse, if you meet all of the following criteria:

• Are at least 61 years and nine months old.

• Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.

• Have not already applied for retirement benefits.

• Want your benefits to start no later than four months in the future. (We cannot process
your application if you apply for benefits more than four months in advance.)

Find out more about our online services at

Lisa Wallace is a Social Security public affairs specialist in North Carolina.