Social Security

What Information Do I Need to Apply for Social Security?

The Social Security Administration needs several documents and some personal information to approve benefits. It can take up to 6 weeks for the government to issue any missing documents. So, you should start gathering these at least 2 months before applying for benefits.

Even if you don't have all the documents listed below, don't delay signing up for Social Security. If you delay signing up, you could lose some of your benefits. You can just submit what you have and provide the missing documents later. In some case the Social Security Administration may be able to help you get them.

Your Basic Information

Your original birth certificate or a certified copy

Your social security card

If you were not born in the U.S., proof of citizenship or a green card

If you served in the military before 1968, a copy of your U.S. military service paper(s) (e.g., DD-214 - Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty)

Family Information

If you’re married or have been married before

Your current or prior spouse’s name, birthday, and social security number

Beginning and ending dates of marriage(s)

Place of marriage(s) (city, state or country, if married outside the U.S.)

If you’re filing for dependent benefits

Names and dates of birth of children who became disabled prior to age 22, or are under age 18 and are unmarried, or are aged 18 to 19 and still attending secondary school full time

Employment Information

If you’ve been employed by someone else

You will need employer Details for Current Year and Prior 2 Years (not self-employment)

Employer name(s)

Employment start and end dates

Your W-2 form(s) for last year

If you are or have been self-employed

You will need Self-Employment Details for Current Year and Prior 2 Years

Business type(s)

Total net income

Your self-employment tax return for last year

Payment Information

If you have a bank account

Account type and number

Bank routing/transit number

If your bank is outside the U.S., International Direct Deposit (IDD) bank country, Bank name, bank code, and currency

If you don’t have a bank account

If you do not have a bank account you can sign up for the Direct Express card program when applying for your benefits.