Q: Can I apply online for retirement benefits?
A: Yes. In fact, almost half of all individuals apply for retirement benefits online. Join the millions of Americans who have saved a trip to a Social Security office and applied the quickest and easiest way — online. In as little as 15 minutes you can submit your application electronically. In most cases, once you've submitted your application, you're done and there are no forms to sign or documents to send in. If we do need more information to process your application, a representative will contact you. For more information about applying online, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at (800) 772-1213, or TTY at (800)-325-0778.
Benefits calculated individually
Q: If both my spouse and I are entitled to Social Security benefits based on our own work records, is there any reduction in our payments because we are married?
A: No. We independently calculate each person's Social Security benefit amount. Each spouse receives a monthly benefit amount based on his or her own earnings. Couples are not penalized simply because they are married. If one member of the couple earned low wages or did not earn enough Social Security credits to be eligible for retirement benefits, he or she may be eligible to receive benefits as a spouse. Learn more about Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213. For more information, go to www.socialsecurity.gov.