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Access Your Social Security Statement Online

A little over a year ago, the Social Security Administration stopped mailing out Social Security benefit paper statements [3] in an attempt to reduce waste and enter the digital age. As someone who spends a lot of time online and is comfortable with going digital, I welcomed it. On the other hand, I understand that a lot of people aren’t as comfortable or can’t easily access the internet and so paper statements were a better option for them. Unfortunately, the SSA took that decision away and now, if you want to get updates, you have to sign up for their online service (which is free).

If you want to sign up, you need to set up a “my Social Security” account here [4]. To create an account, you’ll need to provide some personal information in order for them to confirm that you are who you say you are. Be prepared to have your Social Security number, your address, and answer some questions they’ll ask based on information on your Experian credit report.

I logged on and was able to see my entire history of work, all the way back to 1999 when I had $4840 in taxable Social Security earnings (and 2001 when I had $658!). No wonder I felt poor in college… I made practically nothing! As I recommended back when I talked about the paper statements, it’s important to review your earnings record because it’ll affect your estimated benefits in retirement. If you earned more and it’s not reflected, I’d look into it because you’re missing out on benefits (assuming you paid the Social Security payments on those earnings). If it says you’ve earned more but you haven’t, be wary of identity theft – someone could have used your number and are paying your benefits… which sounds good until you realize someone else is using your Social Security number. Either way, call them at 1-800-772-1213 to get it fixed.

In addition to seeing earning history, you’ll get an estimate of all your benefits – retirement (at different ages), disability, and family survivor benefits. You’ll also get a history of how much you’ve paid in Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Worth taking a look but it doesn’t provide much more information than what the paper statements did.