If you’d like to know how to check your Social Security account, review your Social Security Statement, or request Social Security retirement benefits, you may want to request a My Social Security Account at SSA.gov. It’s easy to do and completely free. Regularly checking your Social Security account is an important retirement planning tool.
SSA maintains a database of income and work credits over your work lifetime. This information is tracked via your unique Social Security number (SSN). You should review your Social Security Statement on a regular basis to estimate retirement benefits. Although you can request a copy of your Social Security Statement at a local SSA field office or calling the Social Security customer service line at 1-800-772-1213, many people prefer the ease of viewing this information on the SSA.gov website. An employer may provide the wrong information to SSA, or SSA can input errors into your Social Security account.
Check Your Social Security Statement Calculations
You can access your Social Security Statement at My Social Security Account. You’ll find a record of your earnings and the taxes you’ve paid on these earnings along with the estimated Social Security retirement benefits you can earn at age 62 (early retirement), 67, or 70. It’s always a good idea to review SSA’s information. Although you may be surprised to find an error, SSA.gov says that about three percent of official earnings’ statements contain an error:
Check to see that the earnings record includes your SSN.
If the earnings statement includes your SSN, check to see that the earned income shown matches your earnings statements (on your paycheck stubs or income tax forms).
Collect documents that support your error claim.
If you identify an error, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 from 7am to 7pm, Monday through Friday. SSA recommends calling early or late to avoid hold times. Almost 500,000 people call Social Security every day for help. Avoid calling at the end of the week or towards the end of the month.
If you prefer to speak with a SSA representative, contact your local SSA field office and make an appointment. You can find a local office address and phone number using the SSA.gov locator tool. Alternatively, you can ask an agent at the help line (1-800-772-1213) to arrange an appointment with an SSA office near you:
You can visit a local Social Security office during business hours if you don’t have an appointment.
Without an appointment, you’ll be asked to stand in line and/or take a number. You should prepare to wait up to an hour or two.
Know that Social Security offices are understaffed and busy. More than 182,000 people visit a SSA field office each business day of the year.
Bring along the documents necessary to support your higher income claim or other error. Plan to leave the documents with SSA if necessary. Social Security will return the documents after researching the issue.
It’s sensible to record the name of the Social Security agent just in case you need to contact him or her later.
Correcting a Social Security Statement error may seem slow. It can take one to four months to make a change to your Social Security Statement. You’ll receive a letter from SSA confirming that your corrections were made. Go to My Social Security Account to confirm that the corrected information appears.
Social Security Retirement Benefit Estimates
After you’ve confirmed that your Social Security Statement contains accurate information, you can estimate your future Social Security retirement benefits. Depending on your Full Retirement Age (FRA), either age 66 or 67 for most depending on your birth year, you’ll notice that the longer you delay claiming retirement benefits, the higher your retirement benefits will be.
It’s not always the best decision to delay retirement benefits. You may need Social Security retirement benefits because:
You have a chronic or serious health condition.
You may need retirement income now because your earnings prospects are poor. You may need the income to meet life’s requirements.
Deciding when to request Social Security retirement benefits is an individual decision. SSA.gov has a wide range of calculator tools to use if you’re contemplating the right age for you or a spouse to claim retirement benefits.