Documents Needed to Apply for Social Security

When you apply for Social Security (SS), there are certain items you need to submit along with your application. These documents needed to apply for Social Security benefits are important because the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses these items to assess whether you qualify to enroll.

There will not always be supplemental documents needed to apply for Social Security that you are required to submit. However, your SS office may need additional materials from you if it has any concerns about your eligibility. The sooner you are able to provide these items to your office, the faster it can determine if you qualify for Social Security.

What do you need to apply for Social Security?

After you submit your Social Security application, case workers may have questions about your claim. In the event that agents need additional information from you, be ready to provide the following documents.

Social Security Card

When you apply for Social Security, you need to report your Social Security number (SSN) on your application. However, the SS office may need you to submit your actual Social Security card after you apply. If you do not have this official document, be ready to show alternative official proof that the number you provided is yours.

Birth Certificate

In order to verify your identity or citizenship, the Social Security office may need to see your birth certificate. If you do not have this certificate, bring an alternative document that provides information on when and where you were born.

Proof of U.S. Citizenship

You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to enroll in the Social Security program. However, if you state in your application that you are a citizen, the SSA may require you to prove your citizenship. Likewise, if you were born abroad, you may need to provide your office with proof that you are a lawful immigrant.

Income Verification

Throughout your Social Security application form, you must disclose how much you earn and where you have worked. In some instances, the SS office may request proof of your earnings. If this is requested from you, you must show your tax documents, such as your W-2.

Proof of Military Service

If you served in the military prior to 1968, you may need to send the Social Security office proof of your service. If you were in the military during that time, you can qualify to receive special extra earnings through this program. If this applies to you, be ready to send items, such as the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD Form 214.

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