SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home1502. When to File Applications

1502.1 When should you file an application for benefits?

You may file your application for benefits up to four months before you expect benefits to begin. However, you should file for monthly survivor's benefits as soon as you meet all the eligibility requirements on the deceased individual's record. If you are applying for retirement or aged spouse's benefits, the earliest you may file is three months before age 62. You may also file your application for disability before the first month you are entitled to benefits.

1502.2 When should you file an application for the establishment of a period of disability?

If you are applying for the establishment of a period of disability, you may file your application before the first day this period begins. Your application becomes effective some time before we make a final decision on your application.

Last Revised: Sep. 1, 2009