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Ultimate Guide to Social Security in New York (NY)


If you live in New York, you can apply for Social Security benefits online, by telephone or in person. The Social Security Administration maintains a website at, as well as dozens of local offices throughout the Empire State that you can call for information or schedule an appointment with. Before applying, you can use online services or get help from a Social Security employee for answers to questions such as whether you’re eligible for benefits. You’ll need to decide when you want retirement benefits to start and gather some information, such as your Social Security number and the names of recent employers. A financial advisor can also help you make the most of your Social Security benefits as part of an overall financial plan.

Preparing to Apply for Social Security in New York

Before applying for Social Security, first determine whether you are eligible for retirement benefits. Social Security has a brief online questionnaire that walks you through the basics. You’ll be asked for your birthdate, whether you’ve worked and paid Social Security taxes, your marital status and history, and a few other facts. Then you’ll get a report on your eligibility, including whether, for instance, you may be eligible for benefits under a former spouse’s work history.

The next part of preparing to apply for Social Security in New York consists of getting a benefits estimate based on your earnings record and application date. You’ll need to create an account at to do this online.

Deciding when to apply is a key factor in making the most of your benefits. You’ll also want to consider how you’ll pay for healthcare, including when you’ll be eligible for Medicare, the potential for having to pay taxes on your benefits, whether you’ll work part-time in retirement and, finally, when you want to receive your first payment. Now is also a good time to review the record of your yearly income and make sure it’s accurate and up to date.

Applying for Social Security

A couple applying for Social Security in New York.

Before you fill out and submit your application, you’ll need to gather some information. Essentials include your Social Security number, birthplace, recent employers, marital history (including names and Social Security numbers of current and former partners), dates of marriages and divorces, and the names of any eligible children.

You’ll also need the routing and account number for the bank account where you want Social Security to deposit your funds. As part of the application process, you’ll pick a month when you want to start receiving your benefits. Bear in mind, the first benefit payment probably won’t land in your account until the first of the month after the one you select.

You can submit all of this information online. If you need help with the process, you can call Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213. You’ll be connected to an agent who can help you determine whether to come into a local office or prepare the application over the phone. Once you’ve submitted your application, you can expect a letter from Social Security confirming that you’ve been approved to receive benefits. In most cases, you’ll hear back within a month. And in the event your application is denied, you can appeal.

If you get curious to know what’s happening with your application while you wait to hear back, you can check the status online or by calling Social Security’s toll-free number. Other tasks you can handle online include obtaining a letter verifying that you’re receiving benefits. That may be needed if, for instance, you need to cite your benefits as income in order to qualify for a loan.

New York State Secure Choice Savings Program

In 2021, New York enacted a law requiring many employers that don’t have employer-sponsored retirement savings plans to offer their employees a state-sponsored savings program called Secure Choice. Both full- and part-time employees will be automatically enrolled in the plans, although they can opt out. Those who stay enrolled will have contributions automatically deducted from their paycheck. Funds will be invested in Roth IRA accounts managed by professional advisors.

Secure Choice affects businesses and non-profits with 10 or more workers who have been in operation for more than two years. Organizations with existing workplace retirement plans are exempt. So far, the plan is still being developed, but when it’s finalized, employers will be required to register and comply. Secure Choice won’t affect employees’ eligibility for Social Security, but will provide an additional means of financially preparing for retirement and building up retirement savings.

Bottom Line

An advisor assists a client in preparing to apply for Social Security in New York.

To apply for Social Security benefits in New York, first determine your eligibility for benefits. Then figure out how much your benefits will be and when you’d like to start receiving them. You can call a local Social Security office for help, or use the Social Security website to get more information. You can also apply for benefits online, in person or over the phone. Once you submit your application, you can usually expect your first payment to be deposited in your account on the first of the month following the one you select to start receiving benefits.

Social Security Tips

  • Social Security benefits represent an important source of income for most retirees. A financial advisor can help you make decisions about applying for your benefits. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Estimating the benefit you’ll likely receive from Social Security is one of the first moves to make when planning for retirement. Use SmartAsset’s Social Security calculator to get this task done with minimal hassle.

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