Nearly 96% of American workers are covered under Social Security, according to the Social Security Administration, and may be eligible for benefits when they retire. Applying for retirement or Medicare benefits is age-sensitive, meaning the amount of benefits can vary based on your age when you apply. Typically, benefits are higher the older you apply. During the application process, you might be interviewed by an SSA employee. During this process you can expect some common questions.
Basic Questions About You
The interviewer will ask you to provide some basic information about yourself, such as your full legal name, your birthplace and birth date, and your date of retirement. To support your answers, have documentation in hand, such as your birth certificate, Social Security card and proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. You will also be asked about your marital status and whether you have any children. If you have divorced and remarried, you will also be asked to provide details about these marriages as well.
Questions About Your Work History and Banking
The Social Security Administration will ask you questions about your work history and basic information about your finances. Benefits depend on how much you earned during your career. If you had multiple jobs and varying earnings during various years, you’ll have to provide a record of them to the SSA. Gather copies of your W-2s, the dates of any railroad work or military service in addition to routing and account numbers for your bank accounts.
Questions Specific to Early Retirement
You can get retirement benefits as early as age 62, but know that the benefit amount will be reduced. If you are retiring early because of disability, the Social Security Administration suggests applying for disability benefits. Applying for disability benefits requires a more substantial process than standard retirement benefits because the SSA will need to determine if you meet the legal definition of “disabled.” This means you’ll be asked questions specific to your underlying conditions and you may be asked to undergo medical examinations for proof.
If you are already receiving Social Security checks, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare and will receive benefits when you turn 65. However, if you apply for Medicare benefits early, such as if you are applying for Medicare because of a disability, you may have to answer questions about your health and physical condition. For example, if you apply for Medicare because you need coverage to help pay for kidney failure treatment, you might be asked whether you have end-stage renal disease and have started dialysis. If you answer no to these questions, you may not quality.
Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.