You can conveniently track the status of your retirement or disability Social Security application through your my Social Security account. Upon logging in, navigate to the “Your Benefit Applications” tab, select “View Details” under “More Info,” and review the “Current Status” section for updates and an estimated approval timeframe.
Survivors benefits cannot be applied for online. Instead, use the SSA’s automated phone service at 1-800-772-1213. For those with hearing impairments, call TTY 1-800-325-0778 for assistance from SSA’s customer service.
How long does the retirement process take?
The approval timeline varies by benefit type. Retirement benefits typically take six weeks, while disability benefits may require three to five months. Survivors benefits average two to three months for processing. However, recent data indicates prolonged delays in disability approval, reaching 218 days as of January 2023.
Incomplete applications, missing documents, and inaccuracies can stall the process. Staff shortages at the SSA further contribute to delays. Common reasons for delays include incomplete applications, challenges in obtaining medical evidence, verifying work history, and the intricate disability determination process.
Social Security disability applications face a high denial rate, with 67% rejected on average. Retirement benefits have fewer eligibility requirements, while survivors benefits are more complex, subject to specific qualifying criteria.
The approval timeline determines retroactive payments for each benefit type. Retirement benefits offer up to six months of retroactive payments. Disability benefits cover the period from the established onset date minus a five-month waiting period. Survivors benefits include a lump-sum payment of $255 if applied for within two years of the individual’s death.
Receiving Social Security benefits
Upon approval, benefits are initiated based on specific timelines. Disability benefits have a five-month waiting period, while retirement benefits can be delayed for strategic reasons, with survivors benefits dependent on the recipient’s age.
For a smooth retirement process, begin steps at least a year in advance. Utilize online resources, estimate costs for service credit, and engage in Member Education classes. Nine months before retirement, address community property claims, and six months before, request a retirement estimate. Submit the retirement application three to four months before your planned retirement date.
After retirement, you’ll receive acknowledgment and payment information. Consider continued deductions, verify health coverage eligibility, and stay informed about tax implications. Post-retirement, allow four months for final payroll processing and potential adjustments to your benefits.
By following these guidelines, individuals can navigate the Social Security retirement process more effectively, ensuring a smoother transition into their post-work life.