Ready to retire? Here is the right time to apply for Social Security benefits



Question: How far in advance should I apply for Social Security retirement benefits?
Answer: You should apply three months before you want your benefits to start. Even if you aren’t ready to retire, you should still sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday. When you’re ready to apply for retirement benefits, use the online retirement application for the quickest, easiest and most convenient way to apply. Find it at

Question: I heard that my future Social Security benefits are based on my earnings, and I want make sure my earnings have been accurately documented. How can I do this?
Answer: Your online Social Security Statement gives you secure and convenient access to your earnings records. It also shows estimates for retirement, disability and survivors benefits. Get started at

This information was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213 or visit


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