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When you retire from a business you or your family own, and apply for retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will decide if you are eligible for full or partial benefits. It can be more difficult for the SSA to determine if you qualify for full benefits than someone who drew a salary working for someone else.

I Am under the Full Retirement Age. How Do I Get My Full Retirement Benefits?

If you are under the full retirement age there are two ways to get all of your Social Security retirement benefits. You must:

Will I Need to Provide the Social Security Administration with Any Documents?

The SSA may want additional documents, but it will depend on your situation. Some things the SSA will consider before asking for additional documents include:

If you fall into one of those categories, the SSA will want additional information. For example:

What Things Does the Social Security Administration Look for?

The SSA will look to see if your salary was reduced and you were compensated through other forms of payment, such as:

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Before applying for Social Security retirement benefits you may want to meet with a lawyer experienced in Social Security benefits and regulations. A lawyer can help you assemble the necessary application and documents. If you are denied benefits, or your benefits are not at the level you expected, an attorney can help you prepare an appeal.

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Last Modified: 12-08-2011 04:14 PM PST

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