9 Social Security Secrets to Maximize Your Benefits in Retirement

Necessary paperwork to apply for benefits

To make sure your application for Social Security benefits, whether for retirement, disability or survivor benefits, is complete, here’s a list of documents you need to include for yourself and/or your spouse or ex-spouse:

  • Social Security card
  • Original birth certificate or other documents to attest birth registration
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status for people born outside the U.S.
  • A copy of your U.S. military service papers
  • A copy of the previous year’s W-2 form(s) and/or self-employment tax return
  • If you’re married, the name, Social Security number and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. In some cases, you might also need the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death
  • The bank account number and routing number
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