When I retired last year I knew that I wanted to get my social security benefits as soon as possible. I will be 62 next month and I don't want to wait till I'm 65. We decided to go to the nearest social security office and went last week. I talked with my sweet husband about what I needed to take since he went last year. But, even though I called myself to see what else I needed, I was not told everything. I found out that I didn't need my marriage license since I did file the paperwork back then. But, I was shocked to find out that they didn't have me down as being an American citizen! I became naturalized 40 years ago! It really doesn't affect my benefits, but I wonder if it affected any immigrant data...
So I took what they told me and was still not prepared when I got there.
We arrived shortly after they opened at 8:30 so we wouldn't have to wait. I got a number and sat down. My husband decided to go to the veteran's administration office to see if he was eligible for some veteran's benefits. He was in the navy and some friends encouraged him to go. The office was about 10 minutes away. He came back way before I was ready to go. :)
When I was called, she asked my address information and updated my profile. She said she was not the one to do the citizenship change and sent me back out to wait for the next stage of the process.
When I was called next I gave her the documents that they asked. She questioned me about having social security taken out at my last job and wanted a letter from them or my last pay stub. One of the school systems close by does not take out social security. I had to demand that she speak to a supervisor! Thank goodness, he confirmed that, yes, my school system does take out social security, and so I was able to complete that part of the application.
When I asked if needed the naturalization papers, she said that she could not do that in her computer. I told her that the other secretary had said that she could not do it. Well, she had to go the supervisor again and get help, then she did it!
The only thing that I did not have was a check for the direct deposit. She said that I could call, but would have to wait a day. I did that today.
I tried by phone and then decided to do it online. After registering and writing down all my security question information and changing my password 5 times. I got to a page that asked for a different, special, password that I had to request. Well, I tried to request it but it said that there was an error!
So I got back on the phone and after holding for more than 30 minutes...
National social security phone number: 800-772-1213
On the web: www.socialsecurity.gov
Here is then what you need to take to the social security office: I added some more after lots of you wrote to me with your experiences
- birth certificate
- social security card
- marriage license if you did not inform social security when you got married/changed your name
- W-2 tax form
- last pay stub if you retired within the taxable year
- proof that the last workplace took out social security
- naturalization papers if you became a citizen and did not inform the social security office.
- direct deposit information
- US passport(s) and/or from any other country (if there might be a question about any of the identification above)
- marriage, divorce, and/or death certificates if married more than once
- social security numbers of any spouses (though they can look it up)
- information about previous spouses of your spouse to check their benefits!