Ask Larry

Filing For Benefits

How Far In Advance Do I Need To Apply For Social Security Benefits?

Hi, I would like to know how far in advance do I need to apply for social security benefits if my 65th birthday is in February 2024? As I will be applying for Medicare in November of 2023. Thank you!

Hi. Filing your application for Medicare in November 2023 should work fine if you'll reach age 65 in February 2024.

Monday, May 22, 2023 - 16:05

Can I Apply For Widow's Benefits By Phone?

My husband passed away he lives in Puerto Rico what do I do can I call for widow benefits over the phone I get ssi

Hi. I'm sorry for your loss. Yes, you can apply for Social Security widow's benefits by phone. You don't mention your age, but unless you have a child of your husband's in your care you would need to be at least age 60 or at least age 50 and disabled to potentially qualify for widow's benefits. You should be able to make an appointment to apply by calling 800-772-1213.

Monday, May 22, 2023 - 12:19

Is It Better To File For Benefits Online Or In Person?

Hi Larry, and thank you for your informative column and website.

In order to avoid problems, is it better to file for social security online or in person? I plan on avoiding applying by phone.

Hi. It really shouldn't make any difference. Filing online when possible is more convenient, but if you'd be more comfortable applying in person then that's fine, too. Nor is there anything wrong with filing for benefits by phone. If you do decide to file in person or by phone, though, you should first call Social Security to make an appointment.

Sunday, April 30, 2023 - 18:44

What's So Important About When I Should Apply?

Thank you for sharing your knowledge! I’m 67 in May 2023, it’s April, and I received a letter from the SSA stating that I can apply and qualify for retirement benefits. In the letter it states and I quote, “You should get in touch with us right away because the date you file can make a difference in the amount of benefits we can pay.” “if you file application within 6 months of the date of this letter, we will use April 13, 2023, the date of the original request, as the filing date.”

Saturday, April 22, 2023 - 12:38

What Do I Need To Do To Switch From Spousal Benefits To My Own Benefits At Age 70?

Hi Larry, I have been receiving restricted spousal benefits for a few years now as I was born in 1953. I will be 70 in July and will switch to my own retirement benefits. Do I have to do anything besides fill out a new online application? Do I need to go in person to a Social Security office? Or will I be switched over automatically without having to reapply? So confusing. Thanks for any clarity you can provide.

Monday, April 10, 2023 - 19:59

How Do I Answer The Following Questions On My Online Application?

Hi Larry,
Several years ago I filed a restricted application and am currently receiving spousal benefits. I want to switch to my own maximum retirement benefits beginning the month I turn 70, which is July 2023. I am filing the application online but there are several questions I do not know how to answer. Am hoping you can help.
1. Since I am receiving spousal benefits, are my Medicare and Social Security Benefits submitted on my wife's or my Social Security number?

Thursday, April 6, 2023 - 14:35

Will Social Security Pay Me For Past Months When I Was Unable To Apply Due To Surgery?

Good Morning
I reached 70 on July 1, 2022 and was unable to file for SS retirement benefits due to medical surgery. How do you think I should now apply for retirement benefits? and would they pay me for the missing months of benefits?
another question: is it better to file for benefits from my foreign location or should I fly to the U.S. and file there?
Thank you for your help.

Sunday, April 2, 2023 - 15:30

What Should I Do If I Made A Mistake On My Online Application?

I wanted to get an early start on applying for Medicare A but I went to the wrong place and started Apply for Benefits. Has not been submitted but it says if they don’t receive it by a certain date I will be penalized. I turn 65 soon so I can apply for Medicare A but I can’t get social security for another year and some odd months. I cleared out as much info on the form I could so it will not submit. I can’t delete it. Can’t change the start date. what the heck to do.

Saturday, March 4, 2023 - 13:44
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