Social Security Application

When Can You Apply For Social Security?

Even though Social Security benefits are designed to relieve financial stress and ensure that you are able to enjoy a financially stable life, obtaining these benefits is frequently not easy. In fact, the process of applying for Social Security benefits is often long and arduous, leaving many people plagued by questions and uncertainties. When can you apply for Social Security? How does the application process work? When can I expect to receive my first check after applying? As a premier elder and estate planning law firm with offices in Minnesota and Florida, we work closely with clients to help them protect their home and life savings as they head into retirement and have provided this guide to help answer these questions for you. To learn more about how we can help, consider contacting our Minnetonka, Minnesota office at (763) 420-5087 or our Venice, Florida office at (941) 909-4644 today.

How Long Does It Take To Get the First Social Security Check After Applying?

Unfortunately, no one gets the first Social Security check immediately after applying. All applications must first be processed to ensure that they meet the established requirements. Typically, it takes approximately three to five months to receive a decision after applying for Social Security benefits. The exact time frame varies depending on how long it takes for the Social Security Administration to obtain an individual’s medical records and any other documentation needed to make a decision. Mistakes can delay the process greatly, so it is critical to ensure that one’s initial application is complete and accurate.

Once an individual’s application is approved, they will receive their first Social Security check in the calendar month following approval. For instance, if you are approved for benefits in March, then you can expect to receive your first check in April. The exact date on which someone will receive their Social Security check is determined by birthdate. Individuals who were born on the first through the 10th of the month will receive their checks on the second Wednesday of each month. Those who were born on the 11th through the 20th will receive their Social Security payments on the third Wednesday of each month. Finally, anyone born from the 21st through the end of the month will receive their check on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

How Many Months Ahead Should I Apply for Social Security Benefits?

Understanding how long it takes to get your benefits is only one piece of the puzzle. “When can you apply for Social Security?” is a crucial question, as the timing of the application itself obviously plays an important role in determining when benefits can begin.

Persons who expect to be eligible can apply for Social Security benefits up to four months before the date they intend to begin receiving benefits. This gives the Social Security Administration an ample amount of time to process the application. If you have questions about the optimal timing of your Social Security application, consider contacting an experienced attorney at Roulet Law Firm, P.A. review your case.

Can I Collect Social Security at 62 and Still Work?

Yes, you can collect Social Security at 62 years-of-age and continue working. However, individuals who choose to utilize their Social Security benefits before reaching full retirement age may see a reduction in the amount of benefits they can receive if their total income exceeds the specified income limits. The Social Security Administration deducts one dollar for every two dollars you earn above the limit. Therefore, for someone who earns $4,000 above the limit, $2,000 will be deducted. When that individual reaches full retirement age, their benefits will be recalculated, and they will receive credit for the months that were reduced.

The income limit is updated periodically. For 2023, the Social Security Administration (SSA) explains that the limit is set at $21,240.

How Do I Apply for Social Security for the First Time?

A common question that we receive in conjunction with “When can you apply for Social Security?” is “how do I go about applying for benefits for the first time?” Applications may be submitted online, via phone, or at the nearest Social Security office. There are Social Security offices located throughout the Florida area as well as in Minnesota.

What Information Will I Need for the Application?

In preparing to begin the application process, it is important to have all necessary information at hand. Applicants will be required to provide information about themselves and about their work. The following are some examples of the documentation an individual may need to apply for Social Security for the first time:

  • Banking information
  • If applying for retirement benefits, the month they want the benefits to begin
  • Information about marriage and dates of divorce or spousal death, if applicable
  • Name and address of current employer
  • Copy of Social Security Statement or a detailed record of earnings
  • Birth certificate
  • Information about military service

These are merely a few examples of the information you may be asked to provide during the application process. Other documents may be required, depending on each application’s unique circumstances. After all the necessary paperwork is provided, the application will be processed, and a decision will be sent via the postal service. At attorney may be able to provide you with additional guidance on what to expect during the application process.

Contact an Experienced Attorney at Roulet Law Firm, P.A. Today

As you apply for social security, it is also a great time to review your existing estate plan or to get one in place. We find many of our client’s plans were done several years ago when they took that first trip without their kids and have not been looked at since, or, they do not have a plan in place for protecting their home and retirement assets in the event they become incapacitated, pass away or need long-term or nursing home care. As part of your retirement planning, we can help you protect your home and life savings. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment in our Minnetonka, MN office at (763) 420-5087 or our Venice, FL office at (941) 909-4644.

And, if you would like to learn how to protect your home and life savings from long-term care and nursing home costs, click here to download our FREE guide Save our Home: How to Protect Your Home and Life Savings From Long-Term Care and Nursing Home Costs.

And, if you would like to learn how to make it as easy and inexpensive as possible for your family to manage your affairs during incapacity and after passing, while ensuring your assets only go to whom you want and how you want, click here to register for our FREE online masterclass.

Chuck Roulet
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Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney, Author, and Speaker
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