How to Apply for Social Security at a Local Office

Many people would rather communicate face to face, especially about important things like their retirement. There are several ways you can apply for Social Security (SS) benefits including, online, by mail, and by phone. Depending on your preferences, you may want to go to a Social Security office directly and file your application in person. This option can be appealing if you prefer to speak with a program representative and complete a paper application. The Social Security Administration is a federal agency and manages this benefits program. As a result, you can submit your Social Security benefits application your nearest local office.

There will be specific procedures you must follow in order to apply at your local Social Security office and you are also required to bring specific documents with you when you apply. While the application process may seem complex, it really is pretty straightforward. As long as you follow the necessary steps, you can submit your application for retirement benefits quickly and easily. Doing this in the local office also means that there will be a representative there to help you along the way

Where to Find a Social Security Application Form

Before you can apply for Social Security retirement, you need an application form. You can download and print a copy of the Social Security retirement application online. Additionally, you should be able to go to your program office and obtain an application. Consider filling out your form, as much as possible, before you go to the agency to officially apply for benefits. This may reduce the time you spend applying for Social Security benefits there in the office and make the process smoother.

Do I need a Social Security office appointment to apply?

Generally speaking, you don’t need and appointment, but it is strongly recommended. During COVID, things have changed, so make sure to call ahead of time. Social Security office facilities are usually busy. The best chance of seeing a representative as soon as you arrive is to schedule an appointment. To arrange your meeting time, call the Social Security office and confirm a time when you can go apply.

What to Bring to the Social Security Office

When you apply for benefits at the Social Security office, you will need to bring specific documents with you. Social Security case workers who evaluate your eligibility will review the following documents to determine if you qualify:

  • Social Security card. You should have your Social Security card in hand. If you do not have this document, be sure to bring your Social Security Number (SSN) with you.
  • Birth certificate. This or an equivalent document is required
  • Proof of citizenship. Whether you were born abroad or in the U.S., you need to bring proof that you are a citizen.
  • Earnings statements. Submit documents that verify how much you earn, such as your W-2, 1099, K1, or other tax documents you may have.
  • Proof of military service. If applicable, your Social Security office representative needs to see proof that you served in the military. If you served before 1968, bring your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.

Is there a Social Security office near me?

You can use this site’s Social Security office locator to find local offices near you. Regardless of where you live in the country, there should be a location in your community where you can apply for Social Security. On this site, you can search based on your city, state, ZIP code or address.