Lots of Ways to Get Help from the Social Security Administration

a retirement savings jar with coins bordered by the Social Security card graphic image

We’re often asked, “What’s the best age to start receiving retirement benefits?” The answer is: there’s not a single “best age” for everyone. The most important thing is to make an informed decision. Base your decision about when to apply for benefits on your individual and family circumstances.

Would it be better for you to start getting benefits early with a smaller monthly amount for more years, or wait for a larger monthly payment over a shorter timeframe? The answer is personal and depends on several factors, such as your current cash needs, your current health, and your family longevity. You should also consider plans to work in retirement and other sources of retirement income. Most importantly, study your future financial needs and obligations, and calculate your future Social Security benefit.

We encourage you to weigh all the facts carefully before making the crucial decision about when to begin receiving Social Security benefits. This decision affects the monthly benefit you will receive for the rest of your life and may affect benefit protection for your survivors.

SSA’s New Retirement Portal

The Social Security Administration’s new retirement portal is more user-friendly and easier to navigate, whether you’re ready to learn about, apply for, or manage your retirement benefits. The redesigned portal will make it easier for you to find and read about retirement benefits, with fewer pages and clearer information. We condensed and rewrote most of the pages to make them easier to understand. The portal is compatible for use on mobile devices so you can learn and do what you want from wherever you want.

Our retirement webpage includes:

  • Retirement publications
  • Benefit calculators
  • Retirement benefits estimates
  • Full retirement age information
  • Spouse benefit information

You and your loved ones can access all of these resources at

Reaching Social Security during the COVID-19 pandemic

During the current coronavirus pandemic, we continue to provide help to you and other people in your community. While our offices do not provide service to walk-in visitors due to COVID-19, we remain ready and able to help you by phone with most Social Security business.

You can speak with a representative by calling your local Social Security office or our national 800 Number. You can find local office phone numbers online by using our Social Security Office Locator at

We offer many secure and convenient online services at, where you can:

  • Apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits
  • Check the status of an application or appeal
  • Request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas)
  • Print a benefit verification letter

Although you can do most of your business with us online, we know that service channel isn’t right for everyone. You can still count on us by phone. If you have a critical situation and we cannot help you with it by phone or online, we may be able to schedule an appointment for you.

If you need help, please don’t wait until we can see you in person. Call us now and get the help you need. We also understand that getting medical and other documentation can be difficult due to the pandemic, so we are continuing to extend certain deadlines wherever possible.

Contributor Kirk Larson is the Washington State Public Affairs Representative with the Social Security Administration.

This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of AgeWise King County.