Monday, October 23

When Did You Last Check Your Social Security Statement Online?

Checking your Social Security Statement annually is something all working adults should do, according to the Social Security Administration. An annual check allows you to check the accuracy of your earnings as recorded for the previous year and to correct any mistakes. Each statement also estimates the monthly Social Security payment you can expect in retirement based upon your current average earnings and planned retirement age.

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Start checking your annual Social Security statement early in your working career, rather than waiting until you near retirement.

The various estimates can help in your retirement planning. So it makes sense to start checking your annual Social Security statement early in your working career, rather than waiting until you near retirement. If you don't regularly check your Social Security Statement, now is a good time to start!

Why Check Your Statement Online?

First, establishing an online Social Security account is easy and secure. Second, since 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) no longer sends out annual Social Security Statements to every worker. If you don't have an online account, the SSA still sends a paper statement every five years, starting with three months before your 25th birthday and then every five years thereafter until you reach age 60 or signup for online statements.

Having an online Social Security account allows you to check annually or any time you like just by signing in. You can also manage your account. That means you can change your address and make sure the facts reported are up-to-date and correct. Once you start receiving Social Security, you can sign up for or change direct deposit, apply for a new Medicare card, and manage other aspects of your account.

Check Out the Sign Up Process on the Social Security Website

Signing up for a Social Security statement is not hard. But because the SSA takes several steps to verify your personal information and protect your identity, it's smart to review the Questions & Answers about the process on the My Account page. That will tell you what you need to have handy before you begin the sign up. For basics, be sure you have handy your Social Security number, last year's W-2(s) or earnings listed on your tax return (if you are self-employed). In addition be ready to answer some questions about your financial history—the SSA typically uses information from your credit report such as past employers, past residential addresses and the like. Be sure to create a unique user name and password for your account (and keep it in a secure place such as with your tax records).

As additional protection, you can only sign up for yourself. You can't sign up for a spouse or other individual even if you have written permission.

Sign Up for Your Account

When you've got your information handy, use the online form to sign up

If you do not wish to sign up online or have difficulty doing so, you can also go to a Social Security Administration office. To locate your nearest office, use the online Social Security Office Locator.

Explore the Tools Offered by the Social Security Website

In addition to using the Social Security website to create a personal account to review your annual Social Security Statement and to manage your Social Security benefits once you retire, you will find other easy-to-use tools such as the Retirement Estimator, a tool that can help you consider how best to use Social Security as part of your retirement plans. You can also apply for retirement benefits (start receiving your Social Security payments) or for disability benefits. If you need a Benefit Verification Letter, there's a handy button on the homepage.

Social Security and Medicare are benefits that you are earning and have earned through dedicated payroll taxes (and self-employment taxes for the self-employed). So take a moment and explore what the Social Security website offers to help you get the information and services you need when you need them.

For More Information

Go to the Social Security Administration website.

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