Understanding the Process for Applying for Social Security

Social Security benefits are intended to provide income for Americans who need it. For the most part, that’s for retirees no longer in their working years. In some select cases, it might be for disabled individuals who aren’t yet at retirement age. While these benefits are often thought of as an automatic right of all citizens, you might need to actually apply for them. There’s a process behind all of that.

Determine Your Eligibility

While the Social Security Administration is who officially determines eligibility for benefits, you can look up the various rules on their website to have a good idea if you would qualify or not. If you’re clearly not within the guidelines, then putting in an application might be a waste of time and energy. However, if you think you might qualify, then it can be worth it to try.

Filling Out Your Application

There are various resources you can use to start the application process. The Social Security Administration has toll-free numbers you can use to call and ask questions. There are also many forms you can print off their website, fill out, and mail in. They also have an extensive network of offices that you can visit in person to deal with many matters relating to Social Security.

Getting Professional Help

You can fill out a lot of your applications on your own, but having professional assistance improves your odds. This is especially true if you are filing for disability status instead of just being someone who is retired. Finding the right Social Security Disability lawyer can mean having an experienced advocate in your corner.

Waiting for the Answer

This is not like applying for a credit card. You won’t get an answer right away online or over the phone. You need to wait for an answer from the Social Security Administration, and that can take weeks in some cases. Given how they are a large branch of the federal government, speed is not always something that they are known for having.


Social Security benefits are rarely enough for anyone to live off of as a single source of income, but they do make it easier to pay bills and maintain a certain living status. If you qualify and apply for such payments, they probably won’t take care of everything in your life. However, they can help you get by better than if you didn’t get these benefits.

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