Ready to retire? Apply online with Social Security

By Hillary Hatch, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist 

It’s never too early to start planning for retirement and our online tools can help.  Go to to access your personal my Social Security account to get anestimate of your retirement benefits based on your earnings record.  Once you have an account, you can use our Plan for Retirement tool to see how your benefits can change at different ages.  Don’t have a personal mySocial Security account?  You can create one at

You can also use your personal my Social Security account to see your entire work history and make sure we have all your wages recorded correctly.  We base your benefit amount on the earnings reported to us.  If you find any errors in your work history, read this guide to learn how to correct your Social Security record.

When you’re ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, you can complete our online application in as little as 15 minutes at We will contact you if we need any further information.  You can check the status of your application through your online account. 

You can apply online for Social Security retirement benefits, or benefits as a spouse, if you:

• Are at least 61 years and nine months old.

• Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.

• Have not already applied for retirement benefits.

• Want your benefits to start no later than four months in the future. (We cannot process your application if you apply for benefits more than four months in advance)

Find out more about retirement benefits at

Hillary Hatch is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at