If you’re like most American workers or employers, you’ve probably asked, “How do I get my Social Security statement?” at least once or twice. Social Security Administration (SSA) says that about 96 percent of Americans pay Social Security tax so it’s important to keep track of your Social Security Statement. Financial experts say it’s crucial to check your Social Security statement at least once a year.
That’s because checking your Social Security Statement can prevent errors and thwart Social Security fraud. If your Social Security Statement has someone else’s earnings on it, you can take the necessary steps to correct the information. If someone else is using your Social Security earnings to request benefits they’re not entitled to receive, checking your Social Security Statement is a first line of defense.
Social Security Statement
If you haven’t already opened a My Social Security Account, it’s easy to do so. Once you’ve opened an account, go to “Social Security Statement” to review:
Future Social Security retirement benefits (survivor’s benefits, or disability benefits)
Estimated FICA (Social Security tax plus Medicare tax) paid
Annual earnings: Social Security posts your annual earnings in your Social Security Statement. It’s up to you to ensure the posted amounts are accurate.
In 1999, Social Security sent an annual Social Security Statement to workers age 25 and over who pay Social Security tax. The annual Social Security Statement is used to reflect your Social Security account status. The purpose of the Social Security Statement is to show your earnings credits/accumulation and provide the opportunity to correct inaccuracies on the account.
SSA stopped issuing paper Social Security Statements for beneficiaries in 2011. As part of the paper elimination initiative enacted by SSA in 2013, you’ll need to request a hard copy of your Social Security Statement from Social Security or check it online.
If you don’t review your Social Security Statement or use the tools Social Security provides, it’s difficult to make thoughtful plans. SSA says that your retirement benefits are intended to cover approximately half of your requirements in retirement. For that reason, it’s important to note you’ll need additional retirement income other than Social Security retirement benefits if you want to maintain a current lifestyle.
There are a variety of tax-deferred retirement plans to choose from. Save in your employer’s 401(k), 403(b), or arrange a Roth individual retirement account (IRA), or personal IRA. If you’ve invested up to the maximum allowed in tax-favorable retirement plans, consider investing after-tax dollars in financial assets to grow your wealth.
My Social Security Account Uses
You can also use My Social Security Account to request a benefit verification letter if you previously requested Social Security retirement benefits, Medicare, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A benefit verification letter states the status of your benefits as:
You’ve never received Social Security benefits.
You don’t receive Social Security benefits now but you did in the past. The letter explains when you received benefits, the date they ceased, and how much you earned in a year you received Social Security benefits.
You submitted a request for benefits but don’t have an answer from SSA yet.
Your Social Security Statement and When to Claim Retirement Benefits
It’s easy to get a copy of your Social Security Statement. Regular review of your Statement can ease stress about when you should claim retirement benefits. It’s simple to review how much you and your employer have paid in Social Security tax, how much you earned each year over your work history, and how soon you qualify for retirement benefits.
Make sure to let Social Security know if any information of your Social Security Statement isn’t correct.
If you don’t want to review your Social Security Statement online, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or visit a local field office to request a paper statement. You may also request a Social Security Statement by mail. Print a copy of Form SSA-7004 and mail the completed form to the address provided. SSA will mail a printout of your Social Security Statement within four to six weeks after receipt of your written request.