Make sure you take the appropriate documents with you
When you apply for Social Security Benefits, you will want to make sure you have your documents ready to take with you. This will save time and can prevent a delay in receiving benefits. You will need to provide your Social Security card or a record of your Social Security number. Take your birth certificate or proof of citizenship if you were born outside of the United be States. If you served in the military before 1968, you will need to provide your discharge papers. Finally, bring a copy of last year's W-2 form. If you were self-employed, bring last year's tax return. You must provide originals of each of these items or copies that have been certified by the agencies that issued them. The Social Security Administration will make copies of your documents and return the originals to you. If you are a widowed person, you may be asked to provide information about your spouse, since you may qualify for certain benefits for widowed persons.
Call before you go to the Social Security Administration
It is a good idea to contact the Social Security Administration for an appointment, and to determine if other information might be needed. Eligibility requirements and the list of necessary documents are subject to change. So be prepared and be patient.