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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

What are the requirements for an application to be considered valid?

1508. What are the requirements for an application to be considered valid?

Your application for benefits, including SSI, must be:

  1. Made on a prescribed form;

  2. Signed by a proper person (see §1501);

  3. Received by one of the offices (or persons) specified in §§1505 and 1506; and

  4. Received while you (or the person eligible for benefits) are still living.

    Note: This requirement does not apply to applications for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits where the deceased was disabled prior to death. An application for disability insurance benefits may be filed by a qualified individual (see §1902) within three months after the month of death of the disabled person.

(Where an individual dies after requesting benefits in writing, but before filing a prescribed form, see §1509.)

Last Revised: March, 2001

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September 12, 2011 by Guest

What information do I need to bring with me to apply for Social Security

Information when applying for Social Security benefits

September 12, 2011 by David Luhman

It depends on the type of benefit you're applying for.

For retirement, you'll need things such as your Social Security card or number, birth certificate (proof of citizenship), and last year's W-2.

For disability, you'll need medical records indicating the nature of your disability.

For survivor benefits, you'll need things such as the death certificate and your marriage certificate if you are the widow or widower.

copy of marriage certificate

January 28, 2013 by Guest

does the marriage certificate have to be certified copy or will a copy
work I can get the copy by fax but the certified copy has to be mailed and will take longer
betty w

Is a copy of a marriage certificate acceptable?

January 28, 2013 by David Luhman

The SSA says that it will accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns or medical documents, but they must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate. (They will return them to you.)


February 13, 2013 by Guest

I checked my status of my application and its saying my application information doesn't match what they have on file. I called the 800 number but they were unable to help me in any way. How do i know what doesn't match and how do i correct the information?

Checking application status

February 14, 2013 by David Luhman

You may want to retrieve your Social Security statement here :

The PDF statement will show your current address, birth date, and wage history among other things.

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