Signs That You Should Apply for Social Security Benefits Now

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When to apply for Social Security benefits is the most important decision that almost every retiree faces. There is no right answer to this question. In fact, the right time to claim Social Security varies from person to person, depending on their personal and financial circumstances. If you are also facing a similar question but don’t know when to claim the benefits, you need to look for a few signs or indicators that if visible, it means now is the time to claim the benefits. This article will discuss the signs that you should apply for Social Security benefits.

Signs that you should apply for Social Security benefits

Following are three signs that you should apply for Social Security benefits. You must not ignore these signs. If you experience even one of these signs, then you must think seriously about claiming Social Security benefits:

Your health is deteriorating

The most significant advantage of delaying Social Security is that you get higher monthly benefits checks for more years. Thus, such a strategy works well for those who expect to live into their 80s or beyond. So, if you are fit and fine, then delaying Social Security maybe a good idea for you.

On the other hand, if your health is declining, it is one of the signs that you should apply for Social Security benefits immediately. Even if your parents and grandparents lived long, it is no guarantee that you will live as long as they did. Declining health doesn’t always mean you will have a short life span, but it does raise the odds.

So, if you have a poor family health history or terminal illnesses, you can maximize your benefits by claiming early. If you delay claiming benefits in such a case, you run the risk of dying even before receiving any benefits. Delaying benefits may result in larger checks for fewer years, but those with shorter life spans will have fewer overall benefits.

Yes, it is true that no one can tell how long they will live, but one can make an estimate after assessing their overall health. So, you have to be practical. If you don’t expect to live a long time, applying for Social Security as soon as possible is your best option.  

You need Social Security to pay bills

It is possible that your expenses swell during retirement, such as your health expenses. Also, your home maintenance bill could rise as your home ages. Similarly, you may also need a new vehicle in retirement as your last vehicle needs retirement as well.

All this means a significant rise in your overall expenses, forcing you to use your savings to pay for them. If you don’t have enough savings, the mounting expenses should be a sign to apply for Social Security. 

You can, however, look for an alternative income source to help you pay the bills. You can go back to work, or get a part-time job, or consider applying for other government benefits, such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). If these alternative income sources don’t work as well, then you should turn toward Social Security.

You are nearing 70

You can delay claiming benefits until age 70. In fact, the SSA (Social Security Administration) offers credit to those who delay claiming benefits until 70 years of age. Once you hit 70, there are no financial benefits in delaying the benefits.

If you delay claiming benefits even after turning 70, it will only mean denying yourself the money that you are entitled to. So, if you are nearing 70, it is a sign that you should claim benefits.

How to apply for Social Security

If you have experienced one or more of the above signs and have decided to apply for Social Security, then it is important for you to know about the application process. You can easily apply for Social Security online or by visiting your local Social Security office. It is recommended that you call the SSA at 800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment before going into the office.

You will have to have ready the following information when applying for Social Security:

  • Your Social Security number, date and place of birth, citizenship status, original birth certificate (or any other proof) and proof of citizenship or authorization to work in the U.S.
  • Details of your current and/or former spouse, including their name, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, places of marriage and date of divorce or death (if applicable).
  • Details of children, including unmarried children under 18; children under 19 and in elementary, middle or high school; and of children with disabilities.
  • You will also have to provide information on any previous Social Security applications that you or someone else filed on your behalf.
  • Bank account details or mailing address where you want the benefits checks to be sent.
  • Details on when you want the benefits to start.
  • You will have to provide your employment details, including the name and address of the employer for the current and last year.
  • Earning details of current and last year. For earning details, you could submit copies of W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns. You may also be asked to provide your Social Security statement, which you can easily get by creating an account with the Social Security Administration.
  • Lastly, you will have to provide details of any special work or benefits history, such as the U.S. military and railroad industry. You will also have to provide information if you earned any Social Security credits through another country’s social security system.