This is an archival or historical document. It may not reflect current policies or procedures.

Steps in Applying for Benefits

Information You Need to Apply for Benefits

We suggest that you have the following information at hand. It will make completing the application much easier.

Documents You May Need to Provide

We may need to see certain documents in order to pay benefits. A list of these documents will appear at the end of the application, along with instructions on where to submit them. The types of documents we may ask for are:

  • your original birth certificate or other proof of birth [more info] (You may also submit a copy of your birth certificate certified by the issuing agency).;
  • proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States [more info];
  • a copy of your U.S. military service paper(s) (e.g., DD-214 - Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) [more info]; and
  • a copy of your W-2 form(s) [more info] and/or self-employment tax return [more info] for last year.

Note: If our records show that documents proving age or citizenship/lawful alien status have already been submitted for an earlier Medicare or Social Security claim (e.g., Disability, Supplemental Security Income, etc.), you do not need to submit the documents again.

We will return all documents and photocopies unless specifically told otherwise.

Medical Evidence You May Need to Provide

You will need to provide medical evidence [more info] already in your possession regarding your disability. This includes copies or photocopies of medical records, doctors' reports, and recent test results.

You will also need to provide the following:

  • an Adult Disability Report that collects more details about your illnesses, injuries or conditions, and your work history.

    At the end of the application, we will give you a link to another Social Security web page where you can fill out the Adult Disability Report online.

  • Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements or other proof of temporary or permanent workers' compensation-type benefits you received. We will need documents that show:

    • the date of your injury or illness;
    • the amount and effective date of your current payment and all increases or decreases within the last 17 months or, if later, since payments began;
    • if you receive workers' compensation [more info], the type of payment (e.g., temporary partial, temporary total, permanent partial, permanent total, a lump sum or an annuity);
    • the frequency of your payments (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) or the period covered by a lump sum;
    • if benefits have already ended, the last day you were entitled to a payment and your last payment amount (if different than your regular payment amount);
    • your employer's name, address and phone number; and
    • if an insurance carrier makes the payments instead of the employer, we need their name, address and phone number.

    We will return all documents and photocopies unless specifically told otherwise