The Social Security Administration moved statements online in 2011 as a cost-savings measure. Unfortunately, few people signed up. As a result, hard-copy statements began going out again in 2014. But these days, you only receive them in the mail if you don’t have an online account. Also, you only receive them every five years beginning at age 25.
Because social security benefits are a significant part of retirement income for most people, we recommend creating your online account. The account is free and it provides specific information on your benefits.
To gain access to your statements and benefits online, you need to first create an account at www.socialsecurity.gov and select Sign In/Up (found in the upper left side of your screen). When the next screen appears, select My Social Security.
From there, you read and agree to the terms of service, and verify some information about yourself. In addition, you must have a valid email address and social security number, along with a US mailing address. Finally, you must be at least 18 years old.
When you have an account, you can login at any time to view/print your social security statement, estimated benefits, and earnings record. Just remember to keep your username and password in a safe place.
Your Benefits Statement
After logging in to your account, the first option at the top of the page is to print/save a .pdf copy of your Social Security Statement. It shows an estimate of your benefits at different claiming ages along with disability, survivor, and Medicare information. More importantly, it lists your history of income subject to Social Security tax. It’s a record of payroll taxes received from you.
It’s important to review your benefits statement and verify your tax payments are correct so you can notify the Social Security Administration if there are any discrepancies. Remember, if your tax payment information isn’t correct, your retirement benefit aren’t calculated correctly either. You don’t want to step up to the payment window when you’re retire only to learn half of your payments weren’t recorded.
Your Earnings Record
To view your earnings record, login to your account, accept the terms of service, and scroll down to the Eligibility and Earnings section and click on the “Review your full earnings record now” link.
Social Security benefits are based on your average monthly earnings during the highest 35 years of your working career. Your benefits are determined by a formula that indexes your monthly earnings to inflation. We recommend checking your benefits each year before filing your income taxes. This allows you to identify any discrepancies and notify the Social Security Administration immediately.
Social Security Statements Online
In creating your online account, you can view/print Social Security statements anytime. Consequently, it also gives you more control over your retirement finances. By seeing actual numbers recorded by the Social Security Administration, you can verify the information, see your projected benefits, and use actual numbers when creating your financial plan. It also provides the opportunity to correct any information which may be incorrect prior to retiring.
With all of these benefits, why wouldn’t you create your online account today?