Application for Benefits

To receive Social Security or Black Lung benefits, Supplemental Security Income payments, or Medicare, you must complete and sign an application. You can apply for retirement benefits and spouse’s benefits online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ applytoretire, in person, or by telephone at 1-800-772-1213. Our TTY number is 1-800-325-0778. Many other services now are available through the Internet at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/

For more information see How To on our home page or go to http://www.ssa.gov/howto.htm.

Base Years

A worker’s (wage earner) base years for computing Social Security benefits are the years after 1950 up to the year of entitlement to retirement or disability insurance benefits. For a survivor’s claim, the base years include the year of the worker’s death.

Benefits

Social Security provides five major categories of benefits:

  • Retirement,

  • Disability,

  • Family (dependents),

  • Survivors, and

  • Medicare.

The retirement, family (dependents), survivor, and disability programs provide monthly cash benefits and Medicare provides medical coverage.

Child

We use the term “child” to include your biological child or any other child who can inherit your personal property under state law or who meets certain specific requirements under the Social Security Act; such as:

  • A legally adopted child,

  • An equitably adopted child,



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