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When and How Do You File for Benefits?

You should file for benefits as soon as you believe that you might be eligible. There is no waiting period for filing and waiting may make it more difficult to collect the records that you need to support your claim.
 
First, always call the SSA toll-free number (800-772-1213). SSA may be able to answer your questions over the telephone. SSA will then arrange to take your claim either over the telephone or at our office. They will send you a confirmation of this appointment. SSA will send you a form to get your claim started. Fill in the form as completely and as accurately as you can. A claims representative will tell you how to send the form to SSA. If you visit an office before then, bring the form with you.