Your Social Security Advisor

How Do I Apply with Social Security Offices Closed? – Ask Rusty

dreaded irmaa provision file benefit social security benefitsDear Rusty: I am 64 years old and would like advice on how to move forward to apply for Social Security now instead of waiting until I am the “magic” age of 66.5 years. Signed: Ready for Retirement

Dear Ready for Retirement: All Social Security offices are currently closed to public visits, but they are still providing telephone services (although telephone wait times are usually longer these days). You can apply over the phone if you wish. However, the most efficient way to apply for your Social Security benefit, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is to apply online. You will need to create your personal “My Social Security” account prior to applying online, but that is easy to do at www.ssa.gov/myaccount. For information, Social Security uses a “two-factor” identification process for security purposes, usually by asking you to enter, in addition to your password, a special ID code sent to your cell phone (or email).. Once you have set up your personal account, you can use the online application process at www.ssa.gov/retire.

Here is a link to a short video from Social Security which explains the online application process: www.ssa.gov/hlp/video/iclaim_r01.htm. When you start the online process, be sure to write down the reentry code, which will allow you to save and re-enter your online application as many times as needed before you finally submit it. Once it is submitted, Social Security will call you or write you to get any additional information they need. A couple of things I want to be sure you are aware of:

By claiming before your full retirement age (FRA) your benefit amount will be permanently reduced. The reduction is about 0.556% per month prior to your FRA that you claim (at 64, a reduction of about 15%).

Finally, if you are still working, you’ll be subject to Social Security’s earnings test until you reach your full retirement age. If you start benefits mid-year 2020, you’ll be subject to a monthly earnings limit of $1520, and if you exceed that limit you won’t be eligible for benefits for that month. The following years you’ll be subject to an annual limit, until you reach your FRA when there is no longer a limit to how much you can earn.

This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website (amacfoundation.org/programs/social-security-advisory) or email us at [email protected].

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Bill Street
5 months ago

I will be 70 in October, should I apply now or wait until September or even October?

Frankie J Roeser
5 months ago

My husband tried to get onine a month ago to look at his and it would not allow you to use that part of the site. I tried this morning to use it and they keep saying it is down. I would like to see my information as I am thinking of collecting my social security now.

Mark Richards
6 months ago

Applying for the online account was not easy. SSA uses a company called Equifax to provide a means to validate an applicant. Equifax (allegedly) provides data from the applicant’s SSN referenced record set (Equifax has records on everyone, apparently). Such data may include any loans, credit cards, previous addresses, ect. SSA then provides a few pages of multiple choice items such as, “Did you ever reside at these addresses?”.
 
Absolutely NONE of the questions I received had any relation at all to me. I tried this multiple times (if you fail, you have to wait 24 hours to try again). I called SSA, and they said Equifax could help. Equifax was unhelpful. They sent me a report which had my correct data, but they had no clue why the data SSA presented was bogus.
 
In short, I was held up almost 2 months trying to open the online account because someone – at either or both service providers – screwed up.
 
Finally, SSA fashioned an alternative to validating me. They sent something to my mailing address. Novel.
 
This CCP virus excuse for keeping offices closed is getting old. SSA might get their act together and provide some means for customer-facing interactions, or meet me at the local grocer to check my ID!
 

Ricky Comia
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Richards

I have had the same problem!!

Elivia Suttle
7 months ago

First time on site. Very informative. Thx.
 

Dan W.
7 months ago

The “magic” age to elect social security is a person’s age on the date that the person needs the money.

Since a person’s monthly benefit increases each month up until a person hits age 70, if a person can afford to wait until age 70, a person will maximize their monthly benefit by waiting to elect social security until they hit age 70.

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