Documents Necessary to Apply for Social Security

When you apply for Social Security benefits, there are certain documents you need to submit along with your application. These items are important because the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses them to assess whether you qualify to enroll.

There will not always be supplemental documents needed to apply for Social Security that you are required to submit. However, your local Social Security office may need additional materials from you if it has any concerns about your eligibility. The faster you are able to provide these items to your office, the sooner it can determine if and how much Social Security benefits you qualify for.

What do you need to apply for Social Security?

After you submit your Social Security application, case workers may have questions about your claim. In the event that agents need additional information from you, be ready to provide the following documents.

Social Security Card
When you apply for Social Security, you enter your Social Security number (SSN) on your application. However, the office may need you to submit your actual Social Security card after you apply. If you do not have this official document, be ready to show alternative official proof that the number you provided is yours. This may include a facsimile or photo copy. The local office will let you know what format of proof is suitable.

Birth Certificate
In order to verify your identity or citizenship, the Social Security office may need to see your birth certificate. If you do not have this certificate, bring an alternative document that provides information on when and where you were born. This document is also critical in establishing the amount of your benefits as Social Security has an age component.

Proof of U.S. Citizenship
You mustn’t be a U.S. citizen to enroll in the Social Security program. However, if you state in your application that you are a citizen, the they may require you to prove your citizenship. If you were born abroad, you may need to provide your office with proof that you are a lawful immigrant.

Income Verification
Social Security benefits are also determined by how much you have earned in your life and how much you have paid into the system. On the Social Security application form, you must disclose how much you earn and where you have worked. In some instances, the local office may request proof of your earnings. If this is requested from you, you must show your tax documents, such as your W-2, 1099, K1 etc.

Proof of Military Service
If you served in the military, thank you. If you served prior to 1968, you may need to send the Social Security office proof of your service. If you were in the military during that time, you may qualify to receive special extra earnings through this program. If this applies to you, be ready to send items, such as the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD Form 214.