Government, Personal Finance 

Reading Your Social Security Statement

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Social Security CardFor years, I would receive a Social Security statement. This statement contains information about how much money you’ve earned (and contributed to the Social Security program), as well as information about your estimated benefits later on, when you can begin taking Social Security payments.

Recently, the Social Security Administration began doing away with the paper statements and started offering statements online. It’s now possible to use the Internet to get access to your Social Security statement. This is convenient, because it makes it possible to access your information anytime. You have to create an account with the site, but once that’s done, you have access to your Social Security statement, as well as access to information about taking benefits. You can even apply online for retirement and disability benefits.

What’s in Your Social Security Statement?

For the most part, your Social Security statement is fairly basic. You need to consider your benefits, as well as review your earnings record. The two main items on your Social Security statement include:

  1. Benefits: This section is regularly updated according to how much money you have contributed over your lifetime, as well as the current law. You will find information about how much money you can expect to receive. You need a certain number of “credits” to qualify for retirement benefits, and the number you have is listed in this section. You can also see how much of a disability payment you are eligible, as well as how much your family members could expect to receive if you were to die.
  2. Earnings report: You will see how much you earned each year, as well as an estimate of how much money you’ve paid into the Social Security and Medicare programs. Your earnings record should be carefully reviewed for inaccuracies. If the number is too low, you could miss out on benefits down the road. If the number is too high, that could be an indication that your identity has been compromised and someone else is using your Social Security number.

Checking the accuracy of your statement is important. If there is something wrong, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. You want to clear things up as quickly as possible. It’s much easier to fix problems now, than to try and get the full amount of benefits you are owed once retirement hits. It’s also important to clear up mistakes about how much ou have earned. While it might be nice to think that someone using your Social Security number could result in increased benefits for you, it could also mean problems with the IRS if it looks like you haven’t been paying income tax because the person who stole your number isn’t paying those taxes.

It doesn’t take very long to review your Social Security statement. However, it’s a good idea to do so. It can alert you to identity theft, as well as help you plan for the future when it comes to a successful retirement. Read over your statement when it arrives. And, if you are able to access the statement online, you can sign up for the proper account.

(Photo: DonkeyHotey)

{ 12 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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12 Responses to “Reading Your Social Security Statement”

  1. daenyll says:

    it’s about time they made them available online.

  2. cvargo says:

    I’m a little nervous that i don’t recall ever seeing one. Maybe I am too young and they know that there won’t be any left

    • daenyll says:

      they didn’t send them out unless you were at least 25yo unless you specifically requested. They cut the paper statements a few years ago i believe, so now you have online access.

      • cvargo says:

        Good to hear Daenyll. I’m only 23 so I shouldn’t have received anything. I checked online to see my statement though…. who knows if I will ever see the money though 😉

  3. Master Allan says:

    This sounded great until I visited the website and tried to login.

    “We tried three times to match the information you provided with our records”

    I copied the data verbatim from my recent tax return and it couldn’t “verify my identity”. Another disappointment to me. Now I have to call and probably sit on hold for an extended period of time.

  4. Shirley says:

    These statements are very easy to read and understand. My statement helped me decide just when I would retire.

  5. I set up an account on MY SOCIAL SECURITY – it was easy and fast and all the information was correct. This is way better than a paper statement mailed to you + you can check it anytime – you don’t have to phone in and be put on hold indefinitely.

  6. Kathryn C says:

    ok I feel like a moron, where is the tweet button to tweet this out? I see stumble, bookmark, and reddit
    Great info in here. Things people think they know, but they don’t really.

  7. Yes very interesting, how can we be able to see our SOCIAL SECURITY information instead waiting for the whole year. Very good information

  8. J. Shoe says:

    Just trying to find out if it is true that any Soc. Sec. benefits you start taking are taxed starting at 50% of the money you receive. So that if you take 5K from SS in one year, they put a tax on 2.5K of that money. Can that be real and their a link to see this horrific scam. It’s bad enough they borrow from SS without the intention of paying it back, but this crazy

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